Millsap steals Russell’s Thunder
Atlanta’s center of attention outshines starry Westbrook
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.