NBA regular season

Surging Thunder cool off Celtics in another statement win


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Surging Thunder cool off Celtics in another statement win

STATEMENT MADE. Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) drives to the basket against Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) during the second quarter at Paycom Center. Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

The red-hot Oklahoma City Thunder escape the NBA No. 1 team Boston Celtics amid a win streak that includes wins over West No. 1 Minnesota and defending champion Denver

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 36 points and Josh Giddey added a season-high 23 as the Oklahoma City Thunder knocked off the visiting Boston Celtics 127-123 on Tuesday (Wednesday, January 3, Manila time).

The victory extended the Thunder’s winning streak to five games, including wins over the West No. 1 team Minnesota Timberwolves and defending champion Denver Nuggets, while snapping the Celtics’ six-game winning streak.

With 3.7 seconds left, Kristaps Porzingis hit an apparent corner 3 that would’ve cut Oklahoma City’s lead to one.

But Porzingis’ foot was on the line and the shot was ruled a 2 instead, and the Thunder held a 125-123 lead.

Gilgeous-Alexander hit a pair of free throws after being fouled following an inbounds pass to all but seal the win.

Oklahoma City led by 18 with just over seven minutes remaining before Boston ripped off 10 consecutive points, thanks in large part to two 3-pointers by Derrick White, to pull within eight with 5:09 to play.

But after White assisted on Jayson Tatum’s alley-oop layup, Thunder rookie big man Chet Holmgren drilled a catch-and-shoot 3 from the wing to end the run and stabilize the Thunder.

However, Boston kept coming, cutting the Thunder’s lead to two with 41 seconds left on another 3-pointer by White. Jalen Williams answered with a jumper and Oklahoma City hit four free throws to hold off the Celtics.

Porzingis led Boston with 34 points and 10 rebounds. Tatum had 30 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists while White scored 19 points.

The Celtics led by three at halftime, but the Thunder quickly jumped ahead, going 16 of 26 (61.5 percent) from the floor and 6 of 9 from beyond the arc to outscore Boston 40-25 in the third.

Gilgeous-Alexander scored 16 points and Giddey had 11 in the quarter.

Giddey has struggled much of the season but has come on strong as of late.

Over the past three games, Giddey is averaging 18.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 5.0 assists while shooting 55 percent from the floor.

Giddey added eight rebounds and six assists on Tuesday.

Oklahoma City shot 52.7 percent from the floor, its fifth consecutive game shooting 50 percent or better. It was just the fourth time this season that an opponent shot 50 percent or higher against Boston. –

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