NBA: Thunder clinch first playoff spot since 2020, top Knicks

NBA: Thunder clinch first playoff spot since 2020, top Knicks

/ 11:13 AM April 01, 2024

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander OKC Thunder beat New York Knicks NBA

Oklahoma City Thunder’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) shoots the go-ahead basket over New York Knicks’ Miles McBride (2) during the second half of an NBA basketball game in New York, Sunday, March 31, 2024. (AP Photo/Peter K. Afriyie)

NEW YORK — Shai Gilgeous-Alexander made the go-ahead jumper from the corner with 2.6 seconds left, sending the Oklahoma City Thunder to the playoffs for the first time since 2020 with a 113-112 victory over the New York Knicks on Sunday night.

Josh Giddey had 16 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists for the Thunder, who moved back into sole possession of first place in the NBA Western Conference at 52-22 with its second straight win.

It was Giddey’s third career triple-double — all against the Knicks. He scored 12 points in the fourth quarter, when the Thunder outscored the Knicks 38-27.

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Jalen Williams led all scorers with 33 points and Gilgeous-Alexander finished with 19.

Jalen Brunson scored 30 points but missed the potential winning jumper in another tough loss for the Knicks, who lost in overtime Friday in San Antonio. Deuce McBride added 19 and Donte DiVincenzo scored 15.

With the Knicks trailing 111-110 with 18 seconds left, Brunson converted a layup to give the Knicks the lead. After a timeout, Gilgeous-Alexander knocked down a turnaround mid-range jumper over McBride before Brunson missed a 16-footer at the buzzer.

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Isaiah Hartenstein had 17 points and 12 rebounds for the Knicks, while added 13 points and 15 rebounds.

Trailing 50-46, New York opened the third quarter with a 14-5 run. Brunson scored eight points in the spurt, and McBride and DiVincenzo each drilled a 3.

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New York extended its lead to 75-65 after DiVincenzo’s 3 with 5:24 remaining in the quarter. McBride’s layup with 2:54 left capped a pretty passing sequence to extend the advantage to 12.

In all, New York outscored Oklahoma City 39-25 in the period to take an 85-75 lead.

The Thunder responded with a 15-5 spurt in the first 2:41 of the fourth quarter to tie the game at 90-all. The run was capped by Giddey’s floater.

The teams traded baskets for the remainder of the game. Brunson tied it 104 with a 3, but Williams’ 3 allowed the Thunder to regain the lead.

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Gilgeous-Alexander returned to the lineup after sitting out Oklahoma City’s previous two games with a left quadriceps contusion. New York remained without Julius Randle (dislocated right shoulder), OG Anunoby (right elbow injury management), and Mitchell Robinson (sprained left ankle).

NEXT SCHEDULE

Thunder: Visits Philadelphia Tuesday night.

Knicks: Visit Miami Tuesday night.

TAGS: NBA, OKC Thunder

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