NBA Hoops

Chet Holmgren admits importance of Thunder’s Game 4 win over Mavericks

Chet Holmgren admits importance of Thunder’s Game 4 win over Mavericks

Battling through offensive sluggishness and a 14-point deficit, the Oklahoma City Thunder were on the verge of an early grave to their stellar 2023-24 campaign.

For most of the contest, the offensive woes limited the Thunder, and it felt inevitable they would face a near-insurmountable 3-1 deficit to the Dallas Mavericks.

Instead, what happened was one of the biggest moments of this young core’s tenure. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jalen Williams took over the fourth quarter and outdueled Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving to steal a road game.

The Thunder’s 100-96 Game 4 win over the Mavericks evened the series at two apiece. It is guaranteed to go at least six games — and likely seven considering how close the last three games have been.

Gilgeous-Alexander and Williams took over with elite shot-making buckets in the final frame.

The MVP finalist scored eight straight points for OKC at one point and sealed it at the end at the free-throw line. Williams shook off a rough start and scored seven points in the final frame to help co-lead the Thunder to the comeback win.

Others stepped up in the fourth quarter. Including Chet Holmgren, whose corner 3-pointer gave the Thunder their first lead since the first quarter. The outside shot gave OKC an 89-86 edge it wouldn’t relinquish in the final 3:24 of the contest.

The 7-foot rookie calmly nailed a pair of free throws after being intentionally fouled to give the Thunder a 98-95 lead with nine seconds left.

After the adrenaline-filled win, Holmgren offered a peak behind the curtains in their Game 4 preparation. He admitted the Thunder treated it as essentially a must-win contest.

“I’m not going to try to downplay at all, that was a lot of pressure to win that game,” Holmgren said on Game 4. “You never want to be in a 3-1 situation. It’s obviously a lot better to be 2-2 going home. To play a three-game series with homecourt advantage.”

Struggling to score, the Thunder gutted out one of their most impressive wins of the year. The young squad showed great resilience in a hostile road playoff environment and picked up arguably their best postseason win yet.

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