Gilgeous-Alexander scores 36 as Thunder roll over Raptors

Los Angeles (AFP) –


Shai Gilgeous-Alexander nailed the go-ahead jump shot with 36 seconds left and equalled his career best with 32 points as the Oklahoma City Thunder edged the defending NBA champion Toronto Raptors 98-97 on Sunday.

Chris Paul scored 20 of his 25 points in the second half as the red-hot Thunder won their sixth game in their last seven.

Paul added 11 rebounds and eight assists, Nerlens Noel tallied 13 points and Darius Bazley scored 12 for Oklahoma City.

Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet each scored 20 points for the Raptors. Patrick McCaw added 13 points, Serge Ibaka had 12 and 14 rebounds while Terence Davis had 11 points in the loss.

Toronto led by six points halfway through the second quarter. After the Thunder cut into their deficit, VanVleet's three-pointer pushed the lead back to eight with 3:44 left before halftime.

The Thunder went on an 11-0 run, capped by Gilgeous-Alexander's three-pointer to lead by three points with 1:26 remaining. The Raptors pressed late and the game was tied 47-47 at halftime.

The Thunder led by eight with 9:35 left in the third quarter but Toronto bounced back to take a two-point lead on Chris Boucher's three-pointer. Toronto led 80-76 after three quarters.

In the final quarter, the Raptors failed to hold their lead and the Thunder led by three points on Paul's jumper with 9:04 left.