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Thunder Journal Top 10: OKC Sweeps NOLA

This was a series to remember.
Thunder Journal Top 10: OKC Sweeps NOLA

The Oklahoma City Thunder are headed to the Western Conference Semifinals of the NBA Playoffs.

It’s the first time OKC has reached the second round since 2016. And we don’t talk about Bruno, Fight Club or the 2016 Thunder postseason, so let’s move on.

The Thunder swept the New Orleans Pelicans 4-0 by holding the Smoothie King residents to 92, 92, 85 and 89 points.

It’s only the second time OKC has ever swept a series. The other instance was the 2012 Finals team that blanked the Dallas Mavericks in the opening round.

According to Daily Thunder (editor's note: unofficial) statistician Justin Jovani, it’s the first time a team has swept another team while holding them below 93 points every game since the 2013 Miami Heatles.

OKC already made NBA history by becoming the youngest #1 seed of all time, and now these kids are rewriting NBA playoff history.

The Arrival

This whole “an arrival, not an appearance” thing is becoming a little too on the nose. Adam Silver may have to step in and pat Sam Presti down to make sure he’s not in possession of one of those Sports Almanacs, a la Biff Tannen.

The Thunder became the youngest team to ever sweep another team.

It gets better.

The Thunder became the youngest team to ever win a playoff series, period.

So how’d the team that some national talking heads and podcast pundits deemed a paper tiger end up being so gr-r-reat in Round 1?

The short answer is defense. The long answer is Lu Dort’s series-long suffocating man defense on Brandon Ingram, Chet Holmgren’s prodigious paint protection, and the entire Thunder team’s relentless effort and energy on that side of the court.

The Pelicans averaged a 2024 playoff worst 93.5 ORTG, a 2024 playoff worst 39.6% shooting from the field, a 2024 playoff worst 26.7% from 3-point range, and a a 2024 playoff-worst 18 turnovers per game.

Honestly, it feels like I could end this journal right there. Nothing else really needs to be said. Those are 4-0 series numbers across the board. Save the document. Power down. Close the laptop.

Okay, not so fast.

This is a series to remember. The first postseason matchup of the new Thunder era. So before we set our eyes and minds to the Clippers or Mavs in Round 2, let’s do this momentous series justice and reminiscence on the best moments of Thunder vs. Pelicans: The Sweep.

10. Aaron Wiggins drops CJ McCollum, Game 2.

Not sure which was more memorable: Wiggs dropping CJ or the beautiful old Spursy ball movement that led to a bucket. But I know which part CJ would like to forget.


AARON WIGGINS DROPPED CJ MCCOLLUM 🤯🤯 #aaronwiggins #cjmccollum #thunder #pelicans #nba #nbaplayoffs #nbahighlights

♬ original sound - House of Highlights

9. Josh Giddey fast break 3, Game 4.

The definition of a no-no-no-YES shot. Giddey’s 3 tied the game, shifted all momentum and OKC never looked back again. Series closed.

8. Chet Holmgren dunks on Brandon Ingram, Game 2.

It's not even fair to say Chet dunked ‘on’ BI. Cause Ingram would’ve had to have been standing.


Chet Holmgren having himself a game today‼️🚨 *Brandon Ingram was okay! #fyp #reels #viral #nbaplayoffs #nba #playoffs #chetholmgren #okc #okcthunder

♬ original sound - Recruit Hoop

7. Mark Daigneault wins Coach of the Year.

Thunder have finished/will finish as #2, #3 or #4 in several categories. So it’s a great moment for this team to celebrate Daigneault bringing home one of the league’s biggest prizes in the midst of a Round 1 sweep.

6. Lu Dort defends Brandon Ingram with his chest, Game 4.

No single play encapsulates this series better than Dort bodying up BI with his hands to his side, daring Ingram to either fade into Lu or to try Chet at the rim. Dort’s D was the story of the series. And this play shows off both his physical intimidation and mental preparation.


#fyp #viral #nba

♬ what was I made for? - Instrumental - Wheeler

5. Cason Wallace vs. CJ McCollum, Game 1.

Cason matched CJ step for step on the game-winning attempt and forced an off balance, forward lunging three. Just a clutch defensive sequence on the biggest stage for the 20-year-old rookie.


CJ McCollum misses the game-winning shot and OKC take Game 1! #nba #basketball #sports #sportsontiktok #fyp #foryoupage #espn

♬ original sound - ESPN Australia/NZ

4. Locker room celebration, Game 4.

Mark Daigneault showed up to the postgame presser drenched. When asked why, he said “our players are idiots.” A day later, JDub released the incriminating aqua footage


enjoy the moments. #fyp #fypシ #tiktok #viral #playoffs #okcthunder #nba

♬ original sound - J-DUB

3. SGA game-winner, Game 1.

OKC fans got a quick reminder of how nerve-racking playoff basketball could be in the NBA. It seemed like the Thunder might go down 0-1. You could feel the anxiousness and dread filling the Paycom Center. Then Shai did what true MVP candidates do in the playoffs and what he’s done all season. He hit a clutch and-1 bucket to clinch the opening game win.


Shai Comes Up Clutch In Close Win Against The Pelicans! Can They Take Home The Series? #foryou #foryoupage #fyp #basketball #hoopsnation #hoopscorner #shaigilgeousalexander #oklahomacitythunder #clutchpoints #nbaplayoffs #viralvideo #gamewinner #mvpcandidate

♬ originalljud - Hoops Corner

2. Thunder ditch TNT for Nick Gallo, Game 3.

Group postgame interviews with the local broadcast team became the defining sign of this team’s off the charts chemistry. No moment was a bigger example than dipping out of the national TV crew’s postgame to show their loyalty to the OKC crew who had been with the team all season.

1. Jalen Williams and OKC bark together, Game 1.

Loud City is back. And never was it more apparent than when JDub barked at Jonas Valanciunas and 18,203 fans barked along with him. Just a special, organic, fun, hilarious, team-to-fan bonding moment witnessed live across the world.


@jtelladubby barks, @paycomcenter_okc erupts 🤝 okcthunder@ #nbaplayoffs #fyp

♬ original sound - OKC Thunder - OKC Thunder