Chris Paul, Thunder Force Game 7
Facing elimination, Chris Paul came through in the clutch to lead the Thunder to a 104-100 win forcing a winner take all Game 7 on Wednesday Night. With 4:19 left and the Rockets ahead by six, Paul would hit two critical threes tieing things at 98.
Both teams would trade baskets, evening the score at 100, then Robert Covington stent Paul to the line. Paul (a 92 percent free-throw at clutch time) sank both shots putting Oklahoma City in front for good.
Paul says the win was a team effort. "For our team, it's not just me; it's our team as a whole, I think it's because we do it by committee."
"It's not just me; it's Shai [Gilgous-Alexander]. it's Dennis [Schroder]; it's Gallo [Danilo Gallinari]; it's everybody."..."We've been in those situations all season long, so we just sort of thrive in it."
Everything that could have gone right did; Danilo Gallinari, who had one point in game Game 5, had 25 on Monday, and four of Oklahoma City's starting five were in double figures.
Lu Dort, who drew the ire of fans after his abysmal performance on Saturday, was not only back to his old defensive self fighting though picks to stay in front of James Harden he was also a factor on offense.
Dort scored 13 points, including two from beyond the arc late in the third as part of a 16-3 Thunder run. Paul says:
"Lu is amazing."..."The thing we've been telling Lu ever since last game is if they back off you, you shoot it."..."We've got too much confidence in him and his ability and what he can do, and he means so much to our team, so like I say, we do it by committee."
Former Oklahoma City star Russell Westbrook had seven turnovers, including one with seven seconds left on a possession, which would have given Houston a chance to tie. Westbrook looked rusty in his second game back from a strained quad but still managed 17 points on 8/15 shooting.
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With more than 20 years of experience hosting local and national radio shows, Erik Gee is a fixture of Oklahoma sports media. He has covered the Oklahoma City Thunder for the past six seasons. He is also the co-host of the Pat Jones show on 97.1 The Sports Animal in Tulsa.