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 (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.”


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.”


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.


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.


Associated Press

Ex-Packer Guion gets 1 year for domestic violence assault

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion was sentenced to one year in jail after pleading no contest in a domestic violence assault at his home last fall. Brown County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Walsh also ordered Guion on Tuesday to serve three years’ probation and complete a domestic […]

1 year ago

Joe Jarzynka...

Associated Press

Durant eager for Suns debut vs. Hornets after knee injury

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kevin Durant has been through quite a bit during his 15-year NBA career — but joining a new team midway through the season is a new one for the 13-time All-Star. The 34-year-old Durant doesn’t seem all that worried. Durant makes his highly anticipated Phoenix Suns debut on Wednesday night against […]

1 year ago

FILE - Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores stands on the sideline during the second half of an N...

Associated Press

Judge: NFL coach can press discrimination claims in court

NEW YORK (AP) — NFL Coach Brian Flores can pursue some of his discrimination claims against the league and its teams in court rather than through arbitration, a judge ruled Wednesday. The written decision by Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan was issued months after lawyers for the league tried to get the lawsuit moved to […]

1 year ago

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Alex Stalock cools off in the first period during an NHL hockey game ...

Associated Press

Kane trade reinforces hard reality of Blackhawks rebuild

CHICAGO (AP) — After days of speculation, the harsh reality of the Chicago Blackhawks’ situation was reinforced by one move in a flurry of transactions ahead of the NHL trade deadline. Showtime is over, at least in Chicago, and a seemingly bright future is, well, way off in the distance. The reverberations of Chicago’s decision […]

1 year ago

FILE -  Yves Jean-Bart, president of the Haitian Football Federation, wearing a protective face mas...

Associated Press

Disgraced ex-Haitian soccer president announces he’s back

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s former soccer federation president whose lifetime ban from sport over sexual abuse allegations was overturned last month announced Wednesday that he is reclaiming his position. Yves Jean-Bart’s defiant announcement could lead to a standoff with FIFA, which already has appointed an emergency management committee to lead the Haitian Football Association […]

1 year ago

FILE - Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after an NFL football game against the ...

Associated Press

Rodgers says decision on future will come ‘soon enough’

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers says he will make a decision on his future “soon enough” as the four-time MVP quarterback ponders whether to play next season and if his future remains with the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers, 39, discussed his future while speaking on an episode of the “Aubrey Marcus Podcast” that […]

1 year ago

Gilgeous-Alexander hits game-winner as Thunder edge Blazers