December 17, 2019 / 4:05 AM / a month ago

Paul leads major comeback as Thunder trip Bulls

EditorsNote: changes to “5-for-6” in last graf, shortens 14th graf

Dec 16, 2019; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine (8) goes up for a dunk against the Oklahoma City Thunder during the first quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Paul scored 30 points to lift the Oklahoma City Thunder to a come-from-behind, 109-106 win over the visiting Chicago Bulls on Monday night.

The Thunder trailed by as many as 26 points before launching a comeback that tied the biggest in franchise history and is the biggest in the NBA this season.

Paul fueled the fourth-quarter portion of the comeback, going 5-for-6 from behind the 3-point arc and scoring 19 in the final frame.

The other 26-point comeback in Thunder history came last season against the Houston Rockets.

The Thunder steadily chipped away at Chicago’s lead, tying the game on Danilo Gallinari’s 3-pointer with a little more than five minutes remaining.

About a minute later, Paul gave the Thunder their first lead since the opening minute of the game with a 3-pointer.

Steven Adams put the Thunder ahead for good with his free throw with 4.3 seconds remaining. He missed his second attempt, but Oklahoma City got the rebound, and Chris Paul made two foul shots. Chicago’s Zach LaVine missed a shot in the last second.

Gallinari added 22 points in the win while Dennis Schroder came off the Thunder bench for 18. Paul narrowly missed a triple-double, finishing with 10 rebounds and eight assists.

The blown lead spoiled LaVine’s game-high 39-point performance for Chicago.

The Thunder’s comeback started in the third, which they closed with a 17-5 run to get within striking distance.

The Bulls came into the game with the NBA’s best defensive rating over their previous five games and continued that strong showing early, building a lead that grew to 21 by the end of the first quarter.

Chicago forced nine turnovers in the opening frame, turning those into 18 of its 37 first-quarter points.

The Bulls’ Kris Dunn had three steals in the first quarter.

It was the second time in four games that Chicago scored 37 points in the first.

Slideshow (49 Images)

The Bulls outscored the Thunder 39-22 off turnovers, with Oklahoma City committing 26 miscues to Chicago’s 14.

Oklahoma City hit 16 3-pointers in the win that snapped a two-game losing streak. Chicago fell for the fifth time in seven games.

—Field Level Media

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