Gilgeous-Alexander’s 28 points, career-best 7 steals help Thunder dominate Spurs 123-87
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had 28 points and seven steals and the Oklahoma City Thunder rolled past the San Antonio Spurs 123-87
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had 28 points and a career-high seven steals, and the Oklahoma City Thunder rolled past the San Antonio Spurs 123-87 on Tuesday night in the In-Season Tournament.
The game featured two of the league’s top rookies — San Antonio’s 7-foot-3 Victor Wembanyama and Oklahoma City’s 7-1 Chet Holmgren. Wembanyama finished with eight points on 4-for-15 shooting. He grabbed 14 rebounds and blocked two shots. Holmgren had nine points on 3-for-10 shooting with seven rebounds and three assists.
Oklahoma City set a Thunder record with 19 steals. The team scored 23 points off San Antonio's 25 turnovers.
“I think it was a great team effort, really keying in on the game plan and overall, just going out and executing," Gilgeous-Alexander said.
Josh Giddey added 18 points, seven rebounds and seven assists for the Thunder, who earned their first In-Season Tournament win in three tries and improved to 7-4 overall.
Thunder coach Mark Daigneault chose not to make too big a deal of the lopsided score — Oklahoma City's largest victory margin against San Antonio.
“I just think we have great respect for their people, their players, their program," Daigneault said. "It’s one game. It’s one of 82. It was our night, it wasn’t their night. But it’s zero-zero next time we play them.”
Zach Collins and Julian Champagnie had 13 points apiece for San Antonio. The Spurs lost their sixth straight and fell to 3-8 overall and 0-2 in the tournament.
The Spurs became the second team to have three 30-point losses in their first 11 games, joining the 1990-91 Denver Nuggets.
“We’ve got a long-term vision," Wembanyama said. "We’re not close, but we’re on the right path.”
Forward Kenrich Williams, who had not played this season due to back spasms, returned to give the Thunder a boost. He hit his first shot – a 3-pointer – early in the second quarter. He then stole the ball from Wembanyama, leading to a fast-break dunk by Cason Wallace that gave Oklahoma City a 33-28 lead.
Williams later threw down an alley-oop dunk on a lob from Wallace to put Oklahoma City up 39-33. Williams finished with nine points in 15 minutes.
As the first half drew to a close, the Spurs tried to throw a lob to Wembanyama in the post. The Thunder tipped it away and went on a fast break. Giddey faked a behind-the-back pass to his right, then threw the ball over his left shoulder to Holmgren, whose two-handed jam with 2.2 seconds left in the first half gave the Thunder a 58-48 lead at the break. Wembanyama had eight points on 4-for-11 shooting in the first half while Holmgren had five points, three rebounds and two assists.
Holmgren's baseline dunk in the third quarter put the Thunder up 68-50, then Giddey's layup put the Thunder up by 20 and forced a Spurs timeout. Oklahoma City's largest lead was 40 points in the fourth quarter.
Spurs: Host Sacramento on Friday.
Thunder: At Golden State on Thursday.
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