SHAI Gilgeous-Alexander scored 42 points to help lift the host Oklahoma City Thunder (OKC) to a 153-121 blowout of the Houston Rockets on Saturday.
The Thunder’s 153 points is a franchise record (not including time as SuperSonics), topping the 150 points they scored in a win over the Boston Celtics earlier this season.
In a loss to the Rockets three days earlier, Mr. Gilgeous-Alexander had one of his toughest games of the season, going just 7 of 23 from the field and finishing with 24 points.
It was quickly clear Saturday’s game was going to be a different story, though.
Mr. Gilgeous-Alexander hit his first six shots this time around, and by the time the first quarter was over, he was 7 of 10 from the field with 20 points and three steals.
It was Gilgeous-Alexander’s fifth career 20-point quarter.
While Mr. Gilgeous-Alexander thrived, Houston struggled.
The Rockets missed their first nine 3-point attempts, not hitting one until nearly eight minutes into the second quarter.
Oklahoma City led 38-19 after one quarter.
Houston got going offensively in the second, shooting nearly 62 percent from the floor.
But the Thunder didn’t slow down, building their lead as big as 29 points and scoring 41 in the frame to tie a season high with 79 first-half points.
The Thunder also had plenty of defensive highlights, including Jaylin Williams drawing two charges on Houston’s Alperen Sengun in a 40-second span.
Mr. Gilgeous-Alexander put the exclamation point on Oklahoma City’s first half with a block of TyTy Washington, Jr.’s 3-point try at the buzzer to send the Thunder into halftime with a 79-53 lead.
The Thunder kept pouring it on in the third quarter, adding 44 more points.
With the game well in hand, Mr. Gilgeous-Alexander sat the entire fourth quarter, keeping him from reaching his career high of 44 points.
He finished 14 of 23 from the floor as Oklahoma City shot 57.7 percent as a team.
Mike Muscala added 19 points, hitting five 3-pointers.
Houston shot just better than 50 percent from the floor, with Washington scoring a career-high 20 points off the bench while Josh Christopher had a season-high 20.
Jalen Green, returning from a three-game absence due to a bruised calf, was 4 of 15 from the floor for 12 points in 22 minutes.
The Rockets are now 1-8 on the second night of a back-to-back this season. — Reuters