OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 32 points and the Oklahoma City Thunder held on for a 116-108 victory Thursday night against a Dallas Mavericks team that rested Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis.
The Thunder made five of their first six 3-point attempts and built a 35-19 advantage after one quarter, then held off a late Dallas rally.
Dallas cut the deficit to 103-101 with just under 2 minutes remaining but Gilgeous-Alexander scored on back-to-back possessions and made six consecutive free throws in the closing minutes.
“He made it look so easy,” veteran Al Horford said. “His shot-making ability and poise continue to impress me. We needed those buckets, and he took us home.”
Oklahoma City outrebounded Dallas 21-5 in the first period and finished the half making 10 of its 14 3-point attempts (71%). The Thunder cooled off from there but still finished 16 of 32 behind the arc.
“We were sharp early and I give our guys credit with how they handled themselves during the break,” Thunder coach Mark Daigneault said. “They were ready to play from the jump.”
Josh Richardson scored 27 points for the Mavericks. He scored to cut the deficit to 67-59 early in the third, but Al Horford responded with a three from the top of the key and a traditional three-point play on consecutive possessions.
Horford added 21 points and was 4 for 5 on 3-point attempts.
Jalen Brunson scored 26 and Tim Hardaway Jr. added 24 for the Mavericks, who fell to 19-17.
Mavericks: The loss drops them to 2-5 on the second night of a back-to-back. … Richardson grew up in the Oklahoma City suburb of Edmond.
Thunder: First-round pick Aleksej Pokusevski made his first career start. … Guard Hamidou Diallo missed his fifth consecutive game with a groin injury.
A YEAR LATER
The stands at Chesapeake Energy Arena were full but no game was played on March 11, 2020, as Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert’s positive COVID-19 test caused the NBA to suspend the season. A year later, the same arena hosted a game without fans.
Mavericks: Visit Denver for the third and final meeting this season.
Thunder: Host the New York Knicks on Saturday.