SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Chris Paul isn’t slowing down in his 16th NBA season, especially against San Antonio.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had 25 points, Paul added 16 and the Oklahoma City Thunder rallied to beat the Spurs 109-103 on Thursday night, snapping a nine-game skid in San Antonio.
Paul has had many memorable battles against San Antonio, including the winning shot for the Los Angeles Clippers in the 2015 playoffs to eliminate the Spurs. There was no winner on Thursday, but Paul dropped San Antonio again in the fourth.
“That’s who he is. It’s not like he’s a no-name,” San Antonio guard Lonnie Walker IV said. “He’s a great player. He made shots when it was most important, which was in the fourth quarter, and led his team to victory.”
Paul had 10 points in the final quarter to help Oklahoma City win its fourth straight and overcome 30 points from San Antonio’s DeMar DeRozan.
“It’s always tough when you’re playing against a high IQ point guard like Chris Paul,” DeRozan said. “Once you have knowledge of the game, there’s not much you haven’t seen. No matter how fast you go, at the end of the game. it’s all about smarts.”
The Thunder won the battle between the current seventh and eighth seeds in the Western Conference, extending their lead over the Spurs to four games.
“This is a tough place to play, tough place to win,” Paul said. “At some point, we could have laid down, but we’re not built like that. Guys kept playing, kept competing.”
That could also be said about Oklahoma City’s season thus far. The Thunder (19-15) are battling for a playoff spot in what some considered a rebuilding season after the team traded All-Stars Russell Westbrook and Paul George in the offseason.