The Oklahoma City Thunder (23-17) managed to handle the Minnesota Timberwolves (15-24) 117-104 on Monday night thanks to a strong scoring surge coming out of halftime.
The Thunder offense was rolling early as OKC was able to knock down shots left and right, but the defense was not able to get stops, and at halftime, the Thunder narrowly led the Timberwolves 63-60.
The third quarter was a different story, however, as OKC outscored Minnesota 29-19 to take a 92-79 lead into the final frame.
The Timberwolves managed to cut their deficit to 7 with a little over 8 minutes to go, but that was as close as they would get as the Thunder led by double digits for most of the quarter, including the final four minutes of the game.
Shai Shines Once Again
The win for the Thunder came as no surprise on a career night for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. The young star tallied his first ever triple-double with a stat line of 20 points, 20 rebounds, and 10 assists.
Shai shot an impressive 8-for-12 (66.7%) from the field—including 2-for-3 (66.7%) from 3—and 2-for-2 (100.0%) from the free throw line. Not only did he shoot the ball efficiently, but he took care of it as well, turning it over just 2 times all game.
20 points, 20 rebounds, and 10 assists is an impressive line and one that has only been done by 2 other guards in the last 25 years, one of those being Russell Westbrook. He’s also the youngest player to ever record such a line.
SGA has shown glimpses of being a future superstar, but the more comfortable he gets with being in the spotlight, the more it looks like he’s ready to embrace stardom sooner than later.
Sharing the Wealth
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was not the only player for OKC that contributed tonight. 7 players in total scored in double digits for the Thunder.
On top of SGA’s 20 points, Danilo Gallinari scored a season-high 30 points, Terrance Ferguson and Dennis Schröder tallied 14 points apiece, Steven Adams added in 13 points, Mike Muscala came off the bench to pour in 11 points, and after a scoreless first half, Chris Paul finished the game with 10 points.
Before this season, the Thunder rarely saw more than 4 or 5 players end a game with double-digit points, but this is a brand new squad with a special type of chemistry.
More often than not, OKC has multiple players step up and contribute on the offensive end, which explains why the Thunder has five guys averaging at least 12 points per game this season.
Toronto in Town
Next up for the Thunder is a three-game homestand, starting with the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday. The Thunder defeated the Raptors 98-97 in Toronto just a couple of weeks ago, so it’s safe to assume that this could be another nail-biter.
Tip-off for that game is at 7 PM, and it will be televised on Fox Sports Oklahoma. It will also be broadcast on the radio at WWLS 98.1 FM.
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