Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 36 points and the Oklahoma City Thunder held off the NBA-leading Boston Celtics 127-123 on Tuesday night for their fifth straight win.
Josh Giddey had 23 points, eight rebounds and six assists, and Chet Holmgren added 14 points, seven assists and four blocks for the Thunder, who entered the night with the league’s fourth-best record.
Kristaps Porzingis scored 34 points and Jayson Tatum had 30 for the Celtics, who had won six straight and 11 of 12.
Oklahoma City has won eight of nine. During that stretch, the Thunder have beaten defending champion Denver twice, ended the Los Angeles Clippers win streak at nine, beaten Minnesota — the top team in the West — by 23, and now topped the Celtics.
Boston led 61-58 at halftime behind 18 points from Porzingis. Gilgeous-Alexander kept the Thunder in it with 17.
The Thunder got off to a strong start in the second half. Giddey’s deep 3-pointer gave Oklahoma City a 76-69 lead. It got so frustrating for the Celtics that coach Joe Mazzulla was called for a technical during the period. Gilgeous-Alexander scored 16 points on 7-for-10 shooting in the quarter to help Oklahoma City take a 98-86 edge into the fourth.
Oklahoma City started hot in the fourth. Jalen Williams took off on a fast break, cocked the ball back with his right hand and brought down the hammer on a dunk to give the Thunder a 108-90 lead.
The Celtics rallied late. Derrick White hit a 3-pointer with 41 seconds remaining to cut Boston’s deficit to 121-119. Williams quickly responded with a short floater to push the lead back to four.
Porzingis was fouled with 15.2 seconds left, and he made both free throws to cut Oklahoma City’s lead to 123-121.
Giddey was fouled with 12.1 seconds left. His first free throw rolled in and his second was perfect to put the Thunder up four.
Porzingis hit a shot deep in the left corner with 3.7 seconds left. It was called a 2-pointer, and that was upheld upon review, so Boston still trailed by two.
Gilgeous-Alexander was fouled with 2.8 seconds remaining. With the crowd chanting “M-V-P!” he made both free throws to put the game away.
Celtics: Host the Utah Jazz on Friday.
Thunder: Visit the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday.
Reporting by The Associated Press.
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