Mill­sap steals Russell’s Thun­der

At­lanta’s cen­ter of at­ten­tion out­shines starry West­brook

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS - By AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS in Oklahoma City

Paul Mill­sap took ad­van­tage of a chance to show off his rare ver­sa­til­ity.

At­lanta’s 6-foot-8 for­ward shifted to cen­ter in Dwight Howard’s ab­sence and scored a sea­son-high 30 points, in­clud­ing the go-ahead 10-footer with 12.7 sec­onds left

He helped the Hawks over­come Russell West­brook’s 46 points en route to a 110-108 vic­tory over the Oklahoma City Thun­der on Mon­day night.

“It took ev­ery­thing we had,” Mill­sap said. “It took ev­ery­body step­ping up to get this.”

Af­ter Mill­sap’s late shot, Thun­der cen­ter Steven Adams re­bounded a missed 3-pointer by West­brook and dunked it, but a re­view de­ter­mined the bas­ket came af­ter time ex­pired.

West­brook en­tered the game as the NBA’s lead­ing scorer, with more than 30 points per game.

“If he gets his points, he’s go­ing to get that re­gard­less,” Mill­sap said. “The game plan was try to take ev­ery­body else out of it.”

West­brook, who made 16 of 33 shots and had 11 re­bounds and seven as­sists, was unim­pressed with his ef­fort.

“No, we don’t have any mo­ral vic­to­ries around here,” he said.

Den­nis Schroder scored 31 points and made 10 of 16 shots for the Hawks, who have won four of six af­ter a six-game los­ing streak.

“Pretty spe­cial ef­fort by the guys tonight, to come in here with­out Dwight, and to find a way to com­pete against a great re­bound­ing team and an in­di­vid­ual player that’s play­ing lights-out bas­ket­ball,” said At­lanta coach Mike Bu­den­holzer. “I was very proud of our play­ers.”

Jerami Grant scored a sea­son-high 15 points, and An­dre Rober­son matched his sea­son high with 14 points for the Thun­der.

West­brook scored 18 points in the sec­ond quar­ter to help the Thun­der lead 53-48.

The Hawks shot 50 per­cent in the first half, but with­out Howard they were out­re­bounded 27-14, and OKC out- scored them 10-0 on sec­ond­chance points.

Schroder scored 18 points in the first half, and Mill­sap added 16.

The Hawks took an 81-78 lead into the fourth, then held on.

“They made some tough plays to­ward the end of the game,” said Thun­der guard Se­maj Chris­ton.

“We can do bet­ter on de­fense keep­ing the guys in front of us with­out foul­ing.”

Rober­son scored his 14 on 5-for-14 shoot­ing. He took five more shots than he had ever taken in a reg­u­lar-sea­son game.

“I’m just let­ting it fly, to be hon­est,” he said.

“It wasn’t fall­ing for me early, but I stuck with it, and the team needed me to keep shoot­ing, so that’s what I was do­ing. I just go out there and do any­thing I can.”

Kyle Korver heaped praise on team­mate Rober­son.

“An­dre’s just so tough. He’s tough men­tally and tough phys­i­cally, and he has been do­ing that for this team for a lot of years,” he said. “He never seems to get flus­tered out there.”


Hawks: Mike Mus­cala tipped the ball into his own bas­ket while try­ing to grab a re­bound in the first quar­ter. The bas­ket was cred­ited to Oklahoma City’s Enes Kant- er ... Ex-Thun­der for­ward Thabo Se­folosha scored 15.

Thun­der: Shot just 27.3 per­cent in the first quar­ter ... Made three of 19 3-point­ers in the first half ... Vic­tor Oladipo missed his fourth straight game with a bruised right wrist ... Adams’ streak of six straight games with dou­ble fig­ures ended as he fin­ished with six points ... Oklahoma’s City’s four starters other than West­brook made seven of 26 shots and scored 24.

In­di­ana’s fi­nal of­fen­sive pos­ses­sion didn’t go ac­cord­ing to plan, though the Pac­ers won’t com­plain.

Paul George was sup­posed to get the ball with the game tied at 105 and 4.6 sec­onds left on Mon­day night.

In­stead, it was Thad­deus Young who popped up to the top of the key to take Jeff Teague’s in­bound pass.

Young squared up de­fender Marki­eff Mor­ris, drove to the left of the lane and tossed in a run­ner with 0.9 sec­onds re­main­ing to give the Pac­ers a 107-105 vic­tory over Wash­ing­ton Wizards.

“The plan was to get the ball to Paul for the last shot and they de­nied him,” said Pac­ers coach Nate McMil­lan.

“Thad came to the ball and we wanted to at­tack the bas­ket. Thad did what he was sup­posed to do. He put his head down and at­tacked the bas­ket.

“When the game is on the line, you want to get the ball to your best player to get a shot or get a shot for an open team­mate.”

George scored 27 and fin­ished with nine re­bounds. Teague added 23 points to go with 10 as­sists.

How­ever, the Pac­ers needed the last of Young’s 12 points af­ter the Wizards scored seven straight to tie it. Young also added 11 re­bounds.

Bradley Beal missed a po­ten­tial win­ning 3-pointer at the buzzer and scored 22 points.

Marcin Gor­tat fin­ished with 21 points and 13 re­bounds, John Wall added 19 points and 10 as­sists, and Otto Porter Jr. scored 17 and grabbed nine re­bounds.

Myles Turner fin­ished with eight re­bounds, 20 points and five blocks, in­clud­ing an em­phatic re­jec­tion in the third quar­ter that sent Wall’s layup into the third row of spec­ta­tors.

Turner fouled out of the game with less than two min­utes re­main­ing.


Oklahoma City Thun­der guard Russell West­brook man­ages to elude a flock of At­lanta Hawks to put up a shot dur­ing the sec­ond half of Mon­day’s game in Oklahoma City. West­brook fin­ished with 46 points, but the Hawks beat the Thun­der 110-108.

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