The Oklahoma City Thunder earned a narrow 94-92 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans in their first round playoff matchup on Sunday. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led the Thunder with 28 points, but it was Jalen Williams' barking antics that stole headlines following the win.

“(Jonas Valanciunas) yelled in my face, and he picked me up off the floor,” Williams said, via ClutchPoints. “I just barked, I don't know. It was good energy the whole time. I thought that was pretty cool, I got to bark with the fans, they barked back. It's just competitive juices going… It wasn't anything like mean. It was just more like, both going at it. But like I said, it's kind of hard to recover. He picked me up off my feet so I didn't really have like a great response other than to bark.”

If barking works, then the Thunder will continue to do it. The fans support the celebration. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was being interviewed after the game and Thunder players ended up barking around him.

Video via ClutchPoints:

Gilgeous-Alexander was a fan of the atmosphere in the arena. He had nothing but positive things to say about Thunder fans after the game.

“Yeah, it was amazing,” Gilgeous-Alexander said. “They were exactly what I expected. I've said this so many times, even when I wasn't here and I played here, the arena was always electric. Always had so much energy. They were perfect.”

Thunder sneak past Pelicans in Game 1

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Jalen Williams (8) gestures to his bench after a play against the New Orleans Pelicans during the second quarter of game one of the first round for the 2024 NBA playoffs at Paycom Center.
Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

The Pelicans did not back down despite the energy in the arena. Trey Murphy III led New Orleans with 21 points. CJ McCollum added 20 points, while Jonas Valanciunas recorded a 13-point, 20-rebound double-double.

Zion Williamson is currently dealing with an injury. Finding a way to upset the Thunder in this series will unquestionably be difficult without Williamson. Nevertheless, they almost found a way to win Game 1 on the road, which would have been an incredibly impressive feat.

The Thunder performed well throughout the 2023-24 regular season. They emerged as one of the best teams in the NBA. With that being said, Oklahoma City has some uncertainty with the playoffs now underway.

The Thunder do not have much playoff experience. They feature an all-around young roster that will be challenged in the NBA playoffs. Even if they win this series against the Pelicans, the path to the NBA Finals will be filled with talented veterans who have no shortage of postseason minutes.

Nevertheless, the Thunder are also confident. They believe in their ability to upset the odds. It will be interesting to see what the playoffs have in store for this Oklahoma City team.

They will continue to lean on their “electric” home court energy in Game 2 of the series against the Pelicans. Game 2's tip-off is scheduled for 9:30 PM EST as the Thunder look to claim a 2-0 lead in the first round of the playoffs.