In true Luguentz Dort fashion, Oklahoma City’s defensive stopper brought the fans at Paycom Center to their feet on Friday night.
Dort picks pockets, including that of Sacramento Kings guard De’Aaron Fox with just under :05 remaining and the score tied 103-103. Three second later, Dort capped OKC’s fourth straight win with a game-deciding layup that also helped polish off an 18-point comeback.
Dort scored a team-high 22 points while adding five rebounds, two steals, and a blocked shot. It was his second straight 20-point effort after dropping 27 against the Pelicans on Wednesday.
The Thunder (5-6) struggled early, scoring just 16 points on 24-percent shooting in the first quarter. However, the team stayed within striking distance as the Kings also stumbled early with 23 points on 38-percent from the field.
Each team bounced back in the second quarter, combining for 71 points. The Kings took a 62-48 lead into halftime.
Darius Bazley turned in a stellar performance, especially in the third quarter, scoring 10 of his 15 points to help ignite OKC’s late surge. Bazley went 6-for-8 from the field with eight boards in over 33 minutes. He also blocked two shots and drilled two triples.
It took an all-around effort in the fourth quarter to seal the win, including seven points from rookie Tre Mann, who played arguably his finest game of the season.
Mann finished with 12 points in 19 minutes, including a three-pointer off an assist from fellow rookie Josh Giddey that gave the Thunder its first lead, 93-92 with 6:30 remaining.
Mike Muscala and Kennrich Williams combined for 16 points off the bench, including nine in the fourth quarter to help fuel the run. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who scored 22 overall, chipped in four.
The victory continues a solid start for the Thunder, who is now sitting in 10th place in the Western Conference standings – currently good enough for a play-in spot.
They look to make it five straight wins on Sunday night against the star-studded Brooklyn Nets. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m. CT.