Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scores 34, Thunder overcome Mavs defense to even series 2-2

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) leaps to the basket to shoot as Dallas Mavericks' Daniel Gafford, left, defends in the first half in Game 4 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series Monday, May 13, 2024, in Dallas.
Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) leaps to the basket to shoot as Dallas Mavericks' Daniel Gafford, left, defends in the first half in Game 4 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series Monday, May 13, 2024, in Dallas. AP Photo

DALLAS — Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 34 points and the Oklahoma City Thunder overcame a Dallas franchise playoff-record 13 blocks, rallying for a 100-96 victory Monday night to even their Western Conference semifinal series at 2-2.

Chet Holmgren and Lu Dort hit clutch 3-pointers late, and Jalen Williams drove for a dunk and a 94-91 lead with 1:29 remaining as Dallas players and coaches screamed for a double-dribble call.

The teams split a pair on each other's home court. Game 5 is Wednesday night in Oklahoma City.

The Mavericks' last chance to tie came with 10.1 seconds left when, trailing by two, Luka Doncic had two free throws. But the Dallas superstar missed the first, part of a dismal 12-for-23 effort by the Mavs from the line. Oklahoma City was 23 for 24.

Backed by one of their best defensive efforts of the season, the Mavs led by 14 early in the second half. But their offense disappeared from there, and the Thunder slowly came back.

Oklahoma City went in front for the first time since early in the game — and for good — on Holmgren’s 3 for an 89-86 lead with 3:24 remaining.

P.J. Washington led Dallas in scoring again with 21 points, while Doncic had 18 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. Kyrie Irving had his second single-digit scoring game of the series with nine points.

Dort's clutch 3 came on a 3-of-10 shooting night from deep as he finished with 17 points. Holmgren had 18 points and nine rebounds.

Dereck Lively II and Derrick Jones Jr. had four blocks apiece for Dallas, each getting one in the final seconds of the first half to continue the defensive tone that had already been set.

That defensive struggle turned downright ugly in the third quarter, with the Thunder outscoring Dallas 22-15 to cut their deficit to four — the closest they had been since the middle of the first quarter. Oklahoma City shot 33% in the third to 25% for the Mavs.

Dallas wasn't much better in the fourth, shooting 42% and going just 1 of 5 from long range while the Thunder finally started seeing shots go in after shooting 34% through three quarters.

Gilgeous-Alexander, who along with Holmgren did most of the shot-making while their teammates struggled, got the Thunder even on a jumper with four minutes to go.

Washington, making his first postseason appearance as a trade-deadline acquisition that was a defense-first move, had his third consecutive game with at least 20 points and added 12 rebounds.

Doncic had his fifth career playoff triple-double but again struggled with his shooting as he deals with a sprained right knee and a sore left ankle. Doncic was 6 of 20 overall and 2 of 9 from long range. (AP)

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