Thunder complete hail mary, win in OT against Minnesota

Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

A buzzer beater to end regulation and an impressive overtime from Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and the Oklahoma City Thunder stunned the Minnesota Timberwolves 139-127 in overtime on Friday night at Chespeake Energy Arena.

The Thunder are now 9-12 on the season, only one game out of the Western Conference playoff race.

With Minnesota ahead 121-119 and 1.1 seconds remaining in regulation, Oklahoma City fouled Karl-Anthony Towns. He missed a free throw, then Minnesota was issued a technical foul for a delay of game because Jordan Bell did not have his jersey tucked in when he subbed in. It was a technical because the Timberwolves had been called for delay of game late in the third quarter, and a technical is given on a second delay of game.

Danilo Gallinari made the technical free throw for Oklahoma City, then Towns shot his second free throw at the other end. He made it, putting Minnesota up two but giving Oklahoma City a chance at a throw-in. The Thunder would have had to scramble if Towns had missed because they were out of timeouts. Steven Adams took advantage of the unexpected opportunity and completed a nearly length-of-the-court pass to Dennis Schroder, who made a layup as time expired to force overtime.

The Thunder came out strong in the first quarter going back and forth with the Timberwolves all twelve minutes. Once again, Steven Adams had a great start to the game. He scored the first two points for the Thunder, and finished the quarter with six points on 3-of-3 shooting. Oklahoma City was up 30-27 going into the second quarter.

The Thunder stayed competitive in the second quarter but Minnesota’s offensive play started to be too much. Behind the strong play from Jeff Teague and Karl Anthony-Towns, the Wolves went into halftime up 58-53.

The second half started with Minnesota going on a scoring spree, which was led by Jeff Teague. The Wolves took a quick third quarter lead. However, Chris Paul and the Thunder, like many other games, kept fighting and stayed competitive the whole second half. Behind strong play from Chris Paul, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Steven Adams, and Danilo Gallinari, the Thunder were able to make a comeback in the fourth quarter. They were able to tie the game to send it to overtime after a crazy ending. 

Overtime was about as perfect for OKC fans as it could have possibly been. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander took it over, scoring 11 points in the overtime period.

Overall, this was an extremely great game for Oklahoma City. Five Thunder players finished with over 20 points which was the first time in franchise history. Chris Paul led all Thunder scorers with 30 points and Gilgeous-Alexander followed him with 29 on 8-of-13 shooting. The other three 20+ point scorers were Schroder with 25, Adams with 22, and Gallinari with 21.

Jeff Teague had a very impressive game for the Timberwolves, he finished with 32 points, nine  assists, and five rebounds. He had a very impressive third quarter and led the Wolves to a lead early in the second half. Karl-Anthony Towns scored 30 points and grabbed eight rebounds to go along with them. Teague and Towns caused havoc for Oklahoma City all game long.

One of the biggest positives from the game was that the Thunder shot 90% from the free throw line. Despite only shooting 10 free throws on Wednesday, they responded with shooting 40 tonight, and knocking down 36 of them. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander shot 12 of those and did not miss a single one from the charity strike. 

The Thunder were able to outscore the Timberwolves 17-5 in overtime, and really played great defense down the stretch. Steven Adams anchored down the paint and helped disturb shots all game long. Adams played his most complete game of the year with a stat line of 22 points, 11 rebounds, and four blocks. Gilgeous-Alexander also played his best stretch of basketball this year in the last five minutes of the game.

The Oklahoma City Thunder will return to action Sunday at 8 p.m. Thunder Time against the Portland Trail Blazers.

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