'Shooting it with confidence': Abdel Nader provides boost in Thunder loss to Kings
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The Kings were on a 14-0 run when Abdel Nader ran off a screen and caught a pass from Chis Paul at the top of the arc.
Without hesitation, Thunder wing turned and launched a 3-pointer, tying the game at 89 points apiece late in the fourth quarter.
“It’s cool to see Abdel Nader, to see how he’s growing,” Paul said after the Thunder’s 94-93 loss at Sacramento Wednesday. “Shooting it with confidence.”
Nader scored a career-high five 3-pointers. He missed just one shot from beyond the arc, and even that was close. He was OKC’s most reliable 3-point shooter Wednesday, with no other player making more than 3 shots from deep. In his fourth consecutive start due to injuries to Terrance Ferguson (right hip soreness) and Hamidou Diallo (right elbow hyperextension sprain), Nader’s chemistry with the other starters was on display.
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He executed pick-and-pops with Paul, setting a screen for the point guard and then spinning out to the perimeter for his first 3-pointer of the night. Gallinari set off-ball screen to get Nader open multiple times.
Even with the pressure on and less than three minutes remaining on the clock, Nader kept shooting.
“I don’t really remember it, to be honest,” Nader said of his game-tying 3-pointer. “I just came off (the screen) and felt like I was open, and I shot the ball.”
Maybe that was the key. He didn’t overthink it.
Nader also chipped in on guarding the Kings’ Buddy Hield. While Hield led Sacramento with 23 points, he needed 24 shots to get there.
“He’s just always moving, man,” Nader said. “He’s a great shot-taker and shot-maker. I’ve been guarding him for a while, since my Big 12 days, so he’s been giving me fits for a while.”
On Wednesday, Hield could have said the same for Nader.