Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was playing a home game against the Toronto Raptors. Not only was he playing in his native Canada, but also had to get 70 tickets for family and friends to watch.
It didn’t take them long to cheer as he notched the first points of the game on a layup. In the first, the Raptors honored him and his teammate Lu Dort for their Canadian heritage on the big board.
In the second, Chris Paul connected on an alley-oop to Nerlens Noel plus a foul. Noel had 13, but the assist from Paul moved him to 7th on the NBA’s all-time assist list.
Shortly after that, SGA propelled the Thunder to an 11-0 run by hitting a couple of three pointers to help tie the game up at halftime.
In the third, Darius Bazley hit a three to kick things off. He hit four three pointers in the contest and dropped 12 points.
The game was neck and neck throughout, but in the fourth, SGA hit a runner to put the Thunder up one. Then former OKC star Serge Ibaka got a follow slam that put the Raptors back on top.
But with just over a minute to go, Chris Paul was being guarded by Ibaka, he blew past him, went up for a layup, and got tied up with Kyle Lowry. No travel or jump ball was called. Lowry went to complain, Paul drained a jumper and OKC had a one point lead. The Raptors would hit two free throws on the other end and have the one point advantage.
But SGA wouldn’t be denied on his homecoming. He hit a tough layup to help OKC 98-97 with 13 seconds left. The Thunder would get a stop and run the clock out to beat the defending champions by that final count. SGA finished with 32 points, tying his career high. With the win the Thunder have won five straight against the Raptors in Toronto, a league best win streak there.
Next up for OKC, the Dallas Mavericks inside the Peake in their annual New Year’s Eve match up.