Postgame wrap: Suns 138, Pelicans 136 (OT)

Suns (17-54), Pelicans (30-42)
by Jim Eichenhofer
@Jim_Eichenhofer

A bizarre ending – one you will rarely see on any level of basketball – put the finishing touch on a wild, entertaining Saturday game between Phoenix and New Orleans. Long story short, the Pelicans called a timeout they did not have with 1.1 seconds left in overtime, resulting in Devin Booker’s go-ahead free throw. Josh Jackson tacked on another foul shot for the final margin, with less than a second remaining.

The Pelicans and Suns may have entered Saturday’s action with the 12th- and 15th-best records in the Western Conference, but you wouldn’t have known it by the intensity on the Smoothie King Center hardwood. In a late-season game filled with testy play and technical fouls, the Suns pulled off an improbable ending, after the Pelicans led by three points and had possession with 7.7 seconds to go in OT. New Orleans was whistled for a five-second violation trying to inbound and seal a victory.

IT WAS OVER WHEN…

Jackson’s missed free throw with less than a second to go in OT was rebounded by New Orleans forward Kenrich Williams, but the rookie didn’t have enough time to gather himself and fire an 85-foot heave in the opposite direction before the buzzer.

PELICANS PLAYER OF THE GAME

Elfrid Payton became just the fifth different player in NBA history to register four consecutive triple-doubles, this time posting 16 points, 13 rebounds and 16 assists. His 14th assist of regulation gave the Pelicans a two-point lead in the final minute, but Booker answered with a driving bank shot that knotted up the score and helped send it to OT.

“It’s kind of cool, but you can’t really enjoy it,” Payton said of joining such an exclusive list of triple-double producers. “It’s alright.”

Of his triple-doubles, Payton said, “I’m just trying to help out as much as I can. I know some nights I’m not going to shoot well, so I try to get my teammates shots. Sometimes I might not be passing the ball well, so I’ll try to rebound, and help on the boards. Just trying to impact the game in different ways, as much as possible.”

FOCUS ON: A WILD ENDING

Leading by three points with 7.7 seconds left in OT, all New Orleans needed to do was inbound the ball and make one free throw to ice a win. But Payton couldn’t find anyone open and the Pelicans picked up a five-second violation, which actually was a fortunate break because they appeared to be calling timeout, which would’ve awarded a technical free throw to the Suns. Instead, Jackson erased a three-point deficit by sinking a deep trey with 1.1 seconds remaining. After Jackson’s shot went through the hoop, New Orleans called a timeout from the nearby bench area, resulting in Booker’s go-ahead free throw.

“That was my mistake. That was on me,” fourth-year head coach Alvin Gentry said. “I called the timeout; we didn’t have the timeout. That’s where it came from. That’s all on me. I’ll take the hit for that one.”

The Pelicans were about as close as you could possibly get to ending what became a six-game losing streak, which Gentry alluded to when he noted, “We did everything we needed to, to try to win the game (for most of the night).”

On whether Saturday’s conclusion could be a learning experience for his many young players, Gentry said, “I think so. If nothing else comes out of this, they can see that’s the reason you have to play all 48 minutes. I know it’s a cliché that coaches use, but you really have to play all 48 minutes.”

As was the case Saturday after a five-minute OT period, sometimes you must play all 53.

BY THE NUMBERS

9: New Orleans players in double-digit scoring, led by Julius Randle’s 21 points.

6: Total technical fouls between the two teams. Suns No. 1 overall pick Deandre Ayton was ejected after picking up two, while Payton, Randle and Phoenix’s Kelly Oubre were called for one apiece.

15/30: New Orleans three-point shooting. Darius Miller (4/6) and Frank Jackson (3/6) topped the Pelicans. Ian Clark was 2/4.

St. Patrick's Day Halftime Performance: The Ryan School of Dance 03-16-19

The Ryan School of Irish Dance puts on a show during the St. Patrick's Day game against the Phoenix Suns in the Smoothie King Center

Game 72: Pelicans vs. Suns 3/16/19

Scroll Video up Scroll Video down Scroll Video left Scroll Video right

St. Patrick's Day Halftime Performance: The Ryan School of Dance 03-16-19

The Ryan School of Irish Dance puts on a show during the St. Patrick's Day game against the Phoenix Suns in the Smoothie King Center
Mar 17, 2019  |  05:04

Senior Dance Team Spotlight: Sharon 03-16-19

Watch the Pelicans Senior Dance Team Spotlight on Sharon and see how she stays active!
Mar 17, 2019  |  01:28

Pelicans Dance Team Second Half Performance 03-16-19

The Pelicans Dance Team entertains fans during the second half of the Pelicans game against the Phoenix Suns on Saturday, March 15.
Mar 17, 2019  |  01:19

Pelicans-Suns Postgame: Julius Randle 3-16-19

Pelicans forward Julius Randle recaps tonight's home vs the Phoenix Suns
Mar 16, 2019  |  01:06

Pelicans-Suns Postgame: Elfrid Payton 3-16-19

Pelicans guard Elfird Payton recaps tonight's home game vs the Phoenix Suns
Mar 16, 2019  |  03:42

Pelicans-Suns Postgame: Alvin Gentry 3-16-19

Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry recaps tonight's home game vs the Phoenix Suns
Mar 16, 2019  |  03:39

Pelicans Stat Leader Highlights: Julius Randle leads the way with 21 points against the Suns

Coming off a career-high 45 points the previous night, Pelicans Julius Randle continued to rack up the points with 21 in the team's loss to the Phoenix Suns.
Mar 16, 2019  |  01:58

Pelicans Stat Leader Highlights: Darius Miller scores 16 points vs. Phoenix Suns

Pelicans Darius Miller poured in 16 points, including several late clutch buckets in the team's loss to the Phoenix Suns.
Mar 16, 2019  |  01:44

Pelicans Stat Leader Highlights: Anthony Davis adds 15 points vs. Phoenix Suns

Pelicans Anthony Davis finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds in 22 minutes of play against the Phoenix Suns.
Mar 16, 2019  |  00:00

Darius Miller show and go in overtime | Pelicans vs. Suns Highlights

Pelicans Darius Miller with the show-and-go move on his drive down the lane.
Mar 16, 2019  |  00:19

Julius Randle dunks off the in-bound pass | Pelicans vs. Suns Highlights

Pelicans Julius Randle comes up with the clutch slam late in regulation against the Suns.
Mar 16, 2019  |  00:26

Jahlil Okafor strong post moves | Pelicans vs. Suns Highlights

Pelicans Jahlil Okafor shows his muscles in the paint with the three-point play.
Mar 16, 2019  |  00:19

Kenrich Williams dishes to Elfrid Payton | Pelicans vs. Suns Highlights

Pelicans Kenrich Williams finds Elfrid Payton beyond the arc for the triple.
Mar 16, 2019  |  00:22

Elfrid Payton bounces to Jahlil Okafor for the dunk | Pelicans vs. Suns Highlights

Pelicans Elfrid Payton shows some patience in the paint and finds Jahlil Okafor on the baseline for the slam.
Mar 16, 2019  |  00:00

Jahlil Okafor dunks with authority | Pelicans vs. Suns Highlights

Pelicans Jahlil Okafor posts up strong and finishes with the big slam.
Mar 16, 2019  |  00:16

Elfrid Payton drive and score | Pelicans vs. Suns Highlights

Pelicans Elfrid Payton takes it to the rim against the Phoenix Suns.
Mar 16, 2019  |  00:09

Anthony Davis One-Hand Slam | Pelicans vs. Suns Highlights

Pelicans Anthony Davis starts off the game with a one-handed slam off the pick-and-roll.
Mar 16, 2019  |  00:15