Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
(Coby Van Loan | OKC Thunder)

Thunder Fights Back, Wins in OT

By Paris Lawson | Broadcast and Digital Reporter |

Highlights: OKC 129, IND 125 (OT)


The Thunder has had two meetings with the Pacers this season and both have resulted in overtime. This time, the Thunder walked away the victors. On the second night of its home-road back-to-back, the Thunder showed resilience and poise to withstand a 53-minute battle against the Pacers on the road. The team shook off an early deficit to log its 11th comeback of 10 or more points this season. 


Down to the Wire

High-level, crunch time shot making made for an entertaining fourth quarter between the Thunder and the Pacers. The final frame alone featured seven ties and three lead changes. 

The Pacers ripped of a 10-2 run that helped build up an eight-point lead midway through the frame. Poised and composed, the Thunder responded immediately with a 10-0 run of its own to reel the game back into its control. Thunder rookie Tre Mann cashed in a series of big-time shots down the stretch that helped put the Thunder ahead and also generate nine of his 22 points for the night.

“Just showing that I want to be there in those type of moments,” said Mann. “Doing what I can on defense and then if they need me to score, be there to make those plays. I was just trying to show that I'm not scared of those moments.”

(Coby Van Loan | OKC Thunder)

Mann sank a pair of clutch free throws to put the Thunder ahead 123-120 with just 8.9 seconds left. However, on the next possession a fortuitous bounce off an Indiana missed 3-pointer landed in the hands of Lance Stevenson who sank a corner 3 to tie the ball game with 1.6 seconds left and force the game into overtime. 

A Wild Overtime 

It was a furious five minutes of overtime in which there were no stoppages until the final 20 seconds of action. In the flurry of back-and-forth action, Indiana’s offense completely cooled down and only managed one made bucket the entire way. 

“It was tiring,” said Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander on the nonstop action of overtime. “Pretty much going up and down to the last little bit. But it was fun, pressure moments, moments where you’ve got to make plays or you lose, those are always the best moments.”

Meanwhile, the Thunder remained aggressive and found quality looks at the rim. The most notable example took place with 20 seconds left on the clock. Mann came up with the rebound after Indiana missed a 3-pointer and accelerated out on the break. One quick glance at the clock and Mann recognized that the best option would be to slow down the break and wait on reinforcements. 

As soon as Mann hit the breaks in transition, Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander came zooming down the middle of the floor with a lane to the rim. Mann dished the ball off to SGA who attacked forcefully into the lane, threw contact and finished the play with an and-one. 

(Dylan Buell | NBAE via Getty Images)

With his made free throw following the play, Gilgeous-Alexander finished the night with 36 points on an efficient 13-of-24 from the field. The fourth-year guard also racked up three steals, two blocks and eight rebounds on the night. 

“That's tough when you have an opportunity to close the game like that,” said Thunder head coach Mark Daigneault. “I thought the guys did a really good job of getting present and getting back where their feet are on the ground and strung together some stops, got some timely scores, timely plays, executed well, I thought it was good.”

Second Unit Contributions

The Thunder’s second unit once again played a massive role in the squad’s ability to keep the game close. Both Aleksej Pokuševski and Théo Maledon recorded double figures off the bench and contributed high-level and valuable minutes when it counted. 

In addition, the Thunder got a big lift from Oklahoma native Lindy Waters III who cashed in eight points including a buzzer-beating 3-pointer at the end of the third quarter to bring the Thunder to just a one-point deficit heading into the final stanza.  

“I thought the bench guys were really good. We're on the second night of a back-to-back we're traveling in between, and I thought those guys gave us really quality minutes. They played 18-20 minutes apiece and did a really good job as a unit,” said Daigneault. “They stayed aggressive, they stay downhill, the ball was ahead of the defense, they got stops and allowed us to get out and run. A lot of good things there.”


Théo Maledon on the poise of the group…

“We’re just a really hungry group. Circumstances do not matter. We all want to establish ourselves in this league and as a team, so all the things that are outside of the court when it comes to play, I think for all of us, it does not matter. There's five men on the court for our team, five men on the opposite team and we just go out here and try to compete and do the best we can together to win.”

Patience With the Possession


OKC returns home for a pair of days off before facing Sacramento on Monday and flying out to face Denver on Wednesday.