A vintage performance down the stretch from Chris Paul and a decisive defensive possession from Danilo Gallanari has helped the Thunder to a come from behind win over the Dallas Mavericks
The Thunder withstood 35 points and ten rebounds from Luka Doncic to claim a 106-101 win at home to move to 18-15 on the season.
Gallanari comes up with clutch defensive possession
Luka Doncic found himself guarded by Gallanari on the perimeter with under 30 seconds left and the Mavericks trailing 102-101.
Doncic attempted to drive left to the basket and execute a spin move but as he did, Gallanari poked the ball away into the hands of Steven Adams who quickly released the ball to Dennis Schroder and crisis was averted.
The @okcthunder wrap up an 11-4 December! #ThunderUp pic.twitter.com/kY7j6JBuwK- NBA (@NBA) January 1, 2020
The Mavericks would have multiple attempts on their next possession to knock down a game-tying triple but Maxi Kleber missed, then Donic misfired and the game was over.
We are going to move on to the clutch fourth period from Chris Paul next, but Gallanari's defensive stand was the play of the night.
Clutch Chris Paul comes up big
Paul finished the night with 17 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.
On first glance, it was a solid night for the veteran in a continuation of an impressive season with the surprising Thunder squad.
Look closer and you will notice that 13 of those 17 points came in the final 4:31 of the game.
🙌 @CP3 scores 13 of the @okcthunder's final 18 PTS to close out the NBA decade‼️ pic.twitter.com/16q82cluff- NBA (@NBA) January 1, 2020
Three pullup jumpers, a triple, a driving floater and two free-throws made up the incredible finish, as he steered his squad to an unlikely victory after Dallas held a seven-point lead with under three minutes to play.
It was another vintage performance from Paul, who continues to lead his squad towards an unexpected postseason berth.
Doncic' shooting struggles
While the late turnover and missed three will be the lasting memories of this one, it was another monster night for Doncic on the box score.
The second-year MVP candidate poured in 35 points to go with ten rebounds and seven assists in 40 minutes of action.
35 points to lead all scorers. 🙌@luka7doncic | #MFFL pic.twitter.com/ZQDU9JCUFS- Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) January 1, 2020
However, it was a rough night shooting the ball, as the defensive focus zeroed in with Kristaps Porzingis out of the lineup.
Doncic struggled to finish 3-for-16 from the three-point line, well below his season average of 32 percent from beyond the arc.