Thursday, July 25, 2024

NBA Playoffs: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander Thunder rally past Mavs to tie series 2-2

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander didn’t get much offensive help from his teammates on Monday night.

He didn’t need it.

The Thunder All-Stars rallied from a 14-point first half deficit to lead Oklahoma City to a 100-96 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Monday night. With the win, the Thunder evened the Western Conference semifinal series at 2-2 and avoided a trip back to Oklahoma City on the brink of elimination.

In a game for both teams, Gilgeous-Alexander was the star of the show with a 34-point effort. He helped the Thunder rally from a 22-8 first quarter deficit, then went on a 9-0 fourth quarter to put the Thunder up 89-86. Oklahoma City never trailed again.

The Thunder struggled all night against a Dallas defense that repeatedly challenged Oklahoma City’s attempts in the paint. But Gilgeous-Alexander thrived, while All-Stars Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving struggled against the Mavericks.

Doncic had a chance to tie the game at the free throw line in the final seconds. But he missed the front end of two shots with Dallas trailing 96-94 with 10.1 seconds left. Gilgeous-Alexander iced the game with a pair of free throws with 1.4 seconds left to seal the four-point victory.

Led by PJ Washington and a dominant effort in the paint, Dallas took control early. The Mavericks led 30-20 after the first quarter and 54-43 at halftime. The Mavericks did their early work on the boards with a 13-5 rebounding edge in the first quarter and a 22-17 advantage at halftime. They had nine blocks at halftime while holding the Thunder to 34.9% shooting. Oklahoma City hit just 1 of 11 3-point attempts in the first half.

See also  Why Your Auto and Home Insurance Premiums Are Going Up: NPR

The Thunder responded in style and put the clamps on the Dallas offense in the third quarter, which limited the Mavericks to 15 points in the stretch. Gilgeous-Alexander scored 12 points in the quarter as the Thunder went on a 22-12 run to cut their deficit to 69-65 early in the fourth.

Dallas led for most of the fourth quarter until Gilgeous-Alexander took control of the game in the final six minutes. He scored eight straight Thunder points while repeatedly hitting contested shots.

Tim Hardaway Jr. and his baseline tear-drop floater over Washington tied the game 86-86.

Holmgren hit a 3 off a Gilgeous-Alexander assist and then went on a 9-0 run to give the Thunder their first lead of the first quarter, 4-2 at 89-86. They did not relinquish this lead.

When it was over, Oklahoma City erased its early rebounding deficit and took a 47-45 edge on the glass for the game. They went 6-of-16 from 3 after the break after a single in the first half.

Gilgeous-Alexander finished with 34 points, eight rebounds, five assists and two steals, shooting 14 of 27 from the field. He missed his only 3-point attempt. Holmgren added 18 points, nine rebounds and four blocks. Jalen Williams (5 for 19), Josh Giede (2 for 8) and LeQuentz Dart (4 for 14) struggled from the field as Oklahoma City finished the night on 38% shooting.

Dallas wasn’t much better from the field on 40.9% shooting on the night. But a miss at the free throw line cost it down the stretch. The Mavericks missed five free throws on 12-of-23 (52%) attempts in the fourth quarter for the night.

See also  Newspapers Abandon 'Dilbert' Comic After Creator's Scream About Black 'Hate Groups'

Doncic’s late miss stood out, but he was the only Mavericks of six to shoot better than 50% on 4-of-6 free throws. He finished with an 18-point, 12-rebound, 10-assist triple double. But the shooting woes that plagued him throughout the postseason (41% before Monday) struck back on a 6-of-20 attempt from the field.

Irving gave his teammates his shots while shooting 4 of 11 from the field in a nine-point, nine-assist effort. Washington led the Mavericks for the third straight game with 21 points and 12 rebounds while shooting 5 of 11 from 3. Unlike Games 2 and 3, his scoring production didn’t lead to a win.

Related Posts