There's a new sheriff in Oklahoma City, and he's big on following the letter of the law.
With his team trailing with 1.1 seconds left in regulation, Thunder guard Chris Paul came up clutch during a stoppage in play, alerting referee Scott Foster to the untucked jersey of Minnesota Timberwolves big man Jordan Bell.
Because the Timberwolves had already received a warning for delay of game earlier in the tilt, the second infraction resulted in a technical foul and a free throw for Oklahoma City. Sharpshooter Danilo Gallinari canned the freebie to draw the Thunder within one point.
Then, rather than intentionally miss, Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns sunk the second of his two free-throw attempts, preventing the clock from starting. On the ensuing inbound pass, Thunder center Steven Adams connected on a full-court assist for Dennis Schroder's game-tying layup to force overtime. Oklahoma City would win easily, 139-127.
Paul, who finished with 30 points and seven assists, explained his thought process during the pivotal fourth-quarter moment.
"That happens more often than not," Paul said postgame, according to The Athletic's Erik Horne. "Sometimes refs just be like, 'Whatever,' but that is the rule. If you check in without your jersey tucked, that's a delay of game."
For their part, the referees didn't credit Paul for bringing the shambolic state of Bell's uniform to their attention.
"Mark (Ayotte) and I saw him coming onto the court without his shirt tucked in," Foster told Royce Young of ESPN, without any mention of the Thunder's nine-time All-Star point guard.