NBA: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander propels Thunder past Blazers anew
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 27 points to lead the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 101-98 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday in Oklahoma City.
Two nights earlier, Gilgeous-Alexander hit a shot at the buzzer to give the Thunder a victory over the Trail Blazers.
This time, Gilgeous-Alexander’s late-game heroics came a little bit earlier.
Down five with just less than three minutes remaining, Gilgeous-Alexander hit a driving layup, then took the ball away from Jerami Grant before finding Josh Giddey open for a floater.
The sequence began an 8-0 run to end the game, giving Oklahoma City a sweep of the back-to-back meetings between the two.
The Thunder takes the two-game home series against the Trail Blazers, walking away with a 101-98 win.
— OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) December 22, 2022
Portland missed its last four shots.
Damian Lillard gave the Trail Blazers a chance in the closing seconds with a steal, but he didn’t find much room to work, launching a contested 18-footer over Luguentz Dort that went long and was grabbed by Giddey.
Gilgeous-Alexander hit a pair of free throws with less than a second remaining to seal the victory.
The Thunder were 21 of 25 from the free-throw line, with Gilgeous-Alexander going 11 of 13.
The Trail Blazers were just 6 of 9 from the line, a season low in both makes and attempts. Portland was just 1 of 2 at the line in the second half.
Two nights after becoming the leading scorer in franchise history, Lillard had a rocky start.
Lillard missed his first six shots — four 3-pointers — before finally scoring on a floater midway through the second quarter.
Lillard scored nine points in the final six minutes of the first half and finished with 16 points on 6-of-19 shooting.
Grant led Portland with 17 points.
The Trail Blazers led by as many as 12 points in the first quarter, thanks to three offensive rebounds — two by Drew Eubanks — that turned into seven points. Oklahoma City didn’t grab an offensive rebound until more than three minutes into the second quarter.
The Thunder have won three consecutive games while Portland has dropped three of its last four.