NEW YORK (AP) — Chris Paul (pic below) kept dribbling through traffic, always trying to get to that old familiar spot from where he has punished opponents for 15 years.
Every time he did, one of his teammates had the same thought.
“It’s a bucket,” reserve Abdel Nader said. “He’s been doing it all year, especially at the end of games.”
Paul scored 20 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter and overtime, leading the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 111-103 victory over the Brooklyn Nets yesterday.
The game was tied at 103 before Paul made consecutive mid-range jumpers, the shot he repeatedly knocked down in the fourth quarter. The Nets never scored again. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander closed out the scoring with four free throws, after making a jumper to open OT.
Gilgeous-Alexander added 22 points for the Thunder, who bounced back from a loss on Monday in Philadelphia to win for the sixth time in seven games. Steven Adams had 10 points and 18 rebounds as Oklahoma City wrapped up a 3-1 road trip without Danilo Gallinari, who rested a calf injury.
“We fought hard and we knew this was a big game,” Paul said, “and we always say you can’t win them all without winning the first one or the second one or whatnot, and we wanted to go home 3-1. So, good win.”
Taurean Prince scored 21 points and Caris LeVert had 20 in his second game back from right thumb surgery, but the Nets dropped their seventh straight. Spencer Dinwiddie had 14 points, but he struggled early and late in a six for 21 night.
The Nets had a seven-point lead with around three minutes left in regulation before Paul scored 10 points in a 12-5 surge that tied it at 101 on his jumper with 47 seconds left. He lost the ball on a drive with 11 seconds remaining to give the Nets a chance, but Dinwiddie missed a free throw after getting fouled before the inbound pass, then was off on a short jumper before the buzzer.
“Obviously the two last shots are very disappointing because we had a chance to win. That’s extremely disheartening,” Dinwiddie said. “My teammates trusted me to make those plays and I didn’t. This one is on me for sure.”
Prince made his first five shots, including four three-pointers, but the Thunder got the better of it when the teams went to their benches and opened an eight-point lead in the second quarter before taking a 49-48 lead to the locker room.