Gilgeous-Alexander hits game-winner as Thunder edge Blazers

Dec 19, 2022, 6:08 AM | Updated: 9:06 pm
Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) celebrates with teammates Jalen Williams, l...

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) celebrates with teammates Jalen Williams, left, and Luguentz Dort, right, after hitting the game winning shot against the Portland Trail Blazers in an NBA basketball game Monday, Dec. 19, 2022, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

              Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) falls over Portland Trail Blazers forward Justise Winslow, right, after a foul by Winslow in the second half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Dec. 19, 2022, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
            
              Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, center, shoots between Portland Trail Blazers guard Anfernee Simons, left, forward Drew Eubanks (24) and forward Jerami Grant (9) in the first half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Dec. 19, 2022, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
            
              Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard shoots in the first half of an NBA basketball game against Oklahoma City Thunder, Monday, Dec. 19, 2022, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
            
              Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) shoots in front of Oklahoma City Thunder forward Jalen Williams (8) in the second half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Dec. 19, 2022, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
            
              Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, right, drives around Oklahoma City Thunder forward Eugene Omoruyi, left, in the first half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Dec. 19, 2022, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
            
              Oklahoma City Thunder guard Luguentz Dort, left, celebrates with teammate Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) after Gilgeous-Alexander hit the game winning shot against the Portland Trail Blazers in an NBA basketball game Monday, Dec. 19, 2022, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
            
              Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) celebrates with teammates Jalen Williams, left, and Luguentz Dort, right, after hitting the game winning shot against the Portland Trail Blazers in an NBA basketball game Monday, Dec. 19, 2022, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Just when it appeared it might be “Dame Time,” Shai Gilgeous-Alexander stole the show.

Gilgeous-Alexander hit a baseline jumper as time expired, and the Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Portland Trail Blazers 123-121 on Monday to ruin Damian Lillard’s record-setting night.

Gilgeous-Alexander drove to his left and drained a 14-foot pullup over Justise Winslow. The shot capped a 35-point performance for the 24-year-old emerging star who entered the night third in the NBA in scoring.

Lillard said Gilgeous-Alexander is making his mark in the league.

“He’s impressive,” Lillard said. “He’s obviously a really good player. Not just a good young player. He’s coming into his own. I can remember when I was younger and I became the leader of a team. And I was basically introducing myself as the lead guard on the team, and I was going after it, you know, being aggressive. And I see that he’s in that state. He’s trying to show what he can do.”

Lillard had his clutch moment, too. He made a reverse layup with 3.5 seconds remaining to tie it, and finished with 28 points to break Clyde Drexler’s franchise career scoring record.

Lillard would have preferred to set the mark in a win, but the achievement was still important to him.

“It’s a great feeling to reach the top,” he said. “It’s been a goal of mine and the list has so many players, great history of our organization, so to finally be No. 1 is a special accomplishment that I’m proud of.”

Drexler, a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, had 18,040 points for the Trail Blazers from 1983-95. Lillard entered the night needing 21 to pass him.

Lillard tied Drexler’s total on a 3-pointer from well beyond the line in the third quarter that put the Trail Blazers up 72-67, then broke the mark on a free throw with 1:33 left in the period. Moments later, the Thunder public address announcer informed the crowd of Lillard’s achievement, and the crowd gave him an ovation. Lillard sat and rested, focused on a game the Trail Blazers were trailing by three points at the time.

“Even during the game tonight, I wasn’t playing focused on getting to the record,” Lillard said. “I was playing the game just trying to win. I knew it would happen eventually.”

The score was tied at 94 heading into the fourth. Anfernee Simons hit back-to-back contested 3s to give Portland a 115-110 lead with about four minutes remaining.

Oklahoma City recovered, and Gilgeous-Alexander finished it off with his final shot.

“I caught it,” Gilgeous-Alexander said. “I was going to try to face up, but I saw the double team so I tried to spin away from it into the shot.”

QUOTABLE

Lillard, on Gilgeous-Alexander: “He’s in a situation where he’s playing free. You know, they believe in him. He’s got a group of guys that understand that he’s the leader. He’s the guy. He’s in a great position. He’s off to a great start.”

TIP-INS

Trail Blazers: Former Thunder F Jerami Grant scored 26 points. … Former Thunder head coach Scott Brooks is an assistant in Portland. … Lillard was issued a technical foul in the second quarter for arguing a foul call against him. … F Josh Hart also was called for a technical in the second quarter.

Thunder: Gilgeous-Alexander missed the previous game with a bruised lower back. … G Josh Giddey and F Darius Bazley sat out with non-COVID-19 illnesses. … Gilgeous-Alexander was the only Thunder player to score more than 13 points.

UP NEXT

The teams play again in Oklahoma City on Wednesday.

___

Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: twitter.com/CliffBruntAP

___

More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Jon Rahm hold the winner's trophy after the American Express golf tournament on the Pete Dye Stadiu...
Associated Press

Column: The only rivalry in golf is about tours, not players

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Jon Rahm began his year by winning two in a row on the PGA Tour. Rory McIlroy began his year with birdies on the last two holes to win in Dubai. This would seem to have the look of golf’s latest rivalry in the making, except that it will be […]
1 day ago
Florida center Jason Jitoboh (33) runs up court after making a shot against Alabama during the firs...
Associated Press

Jitoboh’s recovery coming into focus year after eye injury

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Jason Jitoboh won’t step foot onto a basketball court without his glasses. And he doesn’t even need them to see. The darkened lenses merely provide extra protection for what eyesight Jitoboh has remaining. Florida’s 6-foot-11 center took a finger to his left eye at Tennessee last January and spent the better […]
1 day ago
FILE - Former heavyweight boxing world champion Wladimir Klitschko leaves after a meeting with Germ...
Associated Press

Boxer Klitschko joins fight against Olympic path for Russia

GENEVA (AP) — Olympic gold medalist Wladimir Klitschko has joined Ukraine’s fight against IOC plans to let some Russians compete at the 2024 Paris Summer Games. The former heavyweight champion suggested in a video message published Monday that sports leaders will be accomplices to the war if athletes from Russia and its military ally Belarus […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

UK police chiefs apologize to Hillsborough disaster families

LONDON (AP) — Britain’s police chiefs promised a “cultural change” on Tuesday as they apologized to families of the victims in the 1989 Hillsborough tragedy, the U.K.’s worst sports disaster which saw 97 people killed during a crush of soccer fans at an overcrowded stadium. “For what happened, as a senior policing leader, I profoundly […]
1 day ago
FILE - Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, left, talks to his brother, Philadelphia Eagles c...
Associated Press

Brother vs. brother: Kelces prepare for Super Bowl showdown

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Donna Kelce is going to have to pull out that now-familiar custom jersey — the one with Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce’s front stitched to Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce’s back — one more time this season. At least this time, she’ll get to see her boys in […]
1 day ago
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) walks back to the sidelines during the second half of...
Associated Press

Analysis: NFL wasn’t at its best in conference championships

The NFL didn’t put on its Sunday best for the conference championships. Before the San Francisco 49ers ran out of luck and quarterbacks, they were burned by a fourth-down catch by Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Devonta Smith that wasn’t even a catch. Although Kyle Shanahan could have thrown a challenge flag, the league’s replay assist […]
1 day ago
Gilgeous-Alexander hits game-winner as Thunder edge Blazers