Please select your default edition
Your default site has been set for 7 days

Chris Paul shines as Oklahoma City Thunder beat Boston Celtics without Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

Chris Paul controls possession against the Boston Celtics
Image: Chris Paul controls possession against the Boston Celtics

Until Sunday, the Oklahoma City Thunder hadn't had to worry about figuring out how to play without leading scorer Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

It turns out they do just fine.

Dennis Schroder stripped the ball from Kemba Walker and scored on a lay-up with 8.5 seconds to help the Thunder rally to beat the Boston Celtics 105-104.

Dennis Schroder rises to the rim to score with a lay-up against the Celtics 0:25
Dennis Schroder stole possession from Kemba Walker and scored the game-winning basket as the Oklahoma City Thunder stunned the Boston Celtics

With Gilgeous-Alexander sitting for the first time this season with a hip bruise that he suffered in their win at New York on Friday, Chris Paul had 28 points and seven assists to help OKC overcome an 18-point first-half deficit. Schroder added 27 points and six assists as OKC won their third straight game.

"I said it in the locker room after the game. I said, 'Headline is: SGA out, Thunder roll'. You know that I mean?" Paul said. "Sounds good to me."

Follow Sky Sports NBA on Twitter

Follow Sky Sports NBA on Twitter

See the NBA's best plays and stay up to date with the latest news

Boston had a chance to win the game, but Jayson Tatum was short on a fadeaway. Walker rebounded, but was unable to get off a shot as time expired. The Celtics have lost four straight games at home for the first time since 2015.

Gordon Hayward led the Celtics with 24 points. Tatum had 19 points and Marcus Smart added 19 points and 10 rebounds.

Also See:

Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics handles the ball against the Oklahoma City Thunder 1:48
Highlights of Oklahoma City Thunder's clash with the Boston Celtics in Week 20 of the NBA

"That is how the NBA works," Hayward said. You go through these runs and stretches where you're feeling really good about yourself and then it is like the world is coming to an end, too. This is low for us. We have got to try to build ourselves up, pry ourselves back out of it."

Boston took a 100-99 lead with less than four minutes to play when Smart found Tatum with a no-look, behind-the-back pass for a lay-up.

Join our NBA group on Facebook

Join our NBA group on Facebook

Sign up and join the NBA conversation in our Facebook group

Paul was fouled by Smart a few trips later and hit a pair of free throws to put OKC back in front.

Smart lost the ball on a drive to the basket on Boston's next trip and Paul extended the Thunder's lead to 103-100. Daniel Theis got a dunk following a Boston timeout. Smart then kept alive a loose ball on the Thunder's next possession to help start Celtics' fast break. It ended up in the hands of Tatum for a lay-up to put Boston up 104-103.

Oklahoma City have been one of the hottest teams in the NBA since Christmas, playing themselves into the middle of a crowded fight for playoff seeding in the Western Conference.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander launches a jumper en route to his first career triple-double 2:04
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander recorded a monster triple-double in the Oklahoma City Thunder's win over the Minnesota Timberwolves

Boston entered the day looking to get back on track after a rash of injuries.

Hayward returned for the Celtics after a two-game absence because of a right knee bruise. But Jaylen Brown missed his third straight game with a right hamstring strain.

"Most of our good teams go through stretches like this and usually two or three a year, Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. This is our second one. Hopefully we can nip that in the bud and not have a third one."

Get NBA news on your phone

Get NBA news on your phone

Want the latest NBA news, features and highlights on your phone? Find out more

OKC handled Gilgeous-Alexander's absence well early, leading by as many as eight.

The Celtics built a 63-45 lead late in the second quarter, but got sloppy over the final 1:08 of the half as OKC closed with a 7-0 run to stay within striking distance. It ignited a 43-23 run by the Thunder.

"This team is special, you know? We just never, never give up," Schroder said. I think everybody is playing together. When we are playing together, we are playing on a high level.

]Want to watch the NBA but don't have Sky Sports? Get the Sky Sports Action and Arena pack, click here.

Around Sky