NBA regular season

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander turns into assist machine as Thunder survive in 2OT


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Shai Gilgeous-Alexander turns into assist machine as Thunder survive in 2OT

LEADER. Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) celebrates with guard Josh Giddey (3) after scoring against the Orlando Magic during the second quarter at Paycom Center.

Alonzo Adams/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

NBA MVP contender Shai Gilgeous-Alexander dishes out a career-high mark in assists to lead the Thunder to their third straight win and eighth in 10 games

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had 23 points and tied a career-high with 14 assists as the Oklahoma City Thunder came back from a 23-point second-half deficit to beat the Toronto Raptors, 135-127, in double overtime in Oklahoma City on Sunday, February 4 (Monday, February 5, Manila time).

Toronto swarmed Gilgeous-Alexander, who entered the game with 30 or more points in nine consecutive games, throughout the contest.

But in double overtime especially, Gilgeous-Alexander used the added attention to his advantage.

Gilgeous-Alexander assisted on three three-pointers in the second overtime, the biggest when he flipped the ball to Aaron Wiggins for a corner three with 1:39 left to put the Thunder up 130-123.

The Thunder hit 23 three-pointers, tying a franchise record. Oklahoma City also hit 23 three-pointers in April 2019 at Milwaukee.

Josh Giddey led Oklahoma City with 24 points, while Luguentz Dort and Chet Holmgren added 22 each.

The win was the third consecutive and eighth in 10 games for the Thunder while Toronto lost for the seventh time in eight games.

Oklahoma City got a break with 5.8 seconds left in regulation when RJ Barrett could not keep a handle on the ball, losing it on a dive out of bounds to give the Thunder the ball back with a chance to tie or take the lead.

After a timeout, Giddey was left uncovered on the inbounds, and he found Wiggins cutting to the basket for a game-tying layup with 4.7 seconds to play.

The Raptors had a chance to win at the buzzer but Barrett’s three-point shot missed the mark to send the game to overtime.

Toronto had a similar chance at the end of the first overtime, inbounding the ball with 12.7 seconds left.

But the Raptors couldn’t find any room to attack the basket and Gilgeous-Alexander swatted away Gary Trent Jr.’s shot at the buzzer to send the game into a second overtime.

Oklahoma City didn’t get to the free throw line until just 1:03 remained in the second quarter and had only two in the half.

Oklahoma City finished 8-for-8 from the line, a season low for attempts.

Barrett led the Raptors with 23 points, while Scottie Barnes, Jakob Poeltl, and Dennis Schroder added 19 each.

The Raptors’ lead grew to 23, 76-53, just more than five minutes into the third quarter after Barnes’ three-pointer capped a 12-2 Toronto run.

But the Thunder ripped off a 28-11 run the rest of the quarter to get within striking distance entering the fourth.

That stretch included a trio of three-pointers from Wiggins. –

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