Luguentz Dort went full Superman after a loose ball dribbled off the foot of Bulls guard Zach Lavine Friday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
It was one of many hustle plays the Thunder forward made during a second-half run that slowly helped turn a 18-point deficit into a 127-125 overtime win. He finished with 21 points as well as a game-high six steals while running mate Shai Gilgeous-Alexander poured in 33 points with 10 assists, helping spearhead the team’s first home victory.
The Bulls were hot in the first half on route to a 68-50 lead at the break. They shot 56-percent from the field, including 10-for-18 from 3-point range in the first 24 minutes. Lavine and guard Coby White led the way, combining for 26 points (10-for-17) while drilling six of nine 3-point attempts. Wendell Carter Jr. and Lauri Markkanen also combined for 21 points as Chicago looked to be in cruise control.
Dort’s diving steal later in the game was not his only shining moment. He helped eliminate a 10-6 Bulls run to open the third quarter by spurring a 14-3 Thunder run with 10 straight of his own. Oklahoma City continued to chip away, pulling within two before another Chicago run to make it 95-87 heading into the fourth quarter.
The Bulls built upon their lead early in the fourth quarter before Gilgeous-Alexander sparked a final push. The third-year guard scored 12 points in the final 12 minutes with no misses on five shots, including a layup and a free throw to tie it 118-118 and force overtime. He then dished out two assists in the extra five minutes, both to Mike Muscala on two clutch three-pointers to help seal the win.
Daigneault was also quick to point to guard George Hill as part of the spark. Hill shot just 3-for-11 from the floor with eight points, but the Thunder coach was impressed with the leadership from the 12-year veteran.
Oklahoma City held Chicago to 43-percent shooting in the second half and forced 16 turnovers to turn the game. The Bulls turned it over 25 times total while the Thunder finished with just 11 giveaways. Lavine finished with a game-high 35 points for Chicago while White scored 22. Muscala, Isaiah Roby, Theo Maledon and Kenrich Williams all scored in double digits for OKC.
Oklahoma City looks to make it two straight wins at home when they host the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday. Tip off is scheduled for 6 p.m. on NBA TV.