NBA: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s 44 points power Thunder past Blazers
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander equaled his career high with 44 points while lifting the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 138-129 victory over the host Portland Trail Blazers on Friday.
Gilgeous-Alexander shot 13 of 16 from the floor and made a career-high 18 free throws to lift the Thunder to their third win in four games and give Oklahoma City a winning three-game road trip (2-1).
The Trail Blazers lost for the third time in four games despite getting 38 points and nine assists from Damian Lillard.
With Gilgeous-Alexander on the bench, Portland made a run to start the fourth quarter, scoring the first seven points to take a 112-103 lead.
When the All-Star guard re-entered the game with about 10 minutes left, the Thunder’s fortunes turned around.
Oklahoma City reeled off a 16-2 run that ultimately stretched to a 33-9 surge to put the game away.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is a #NBAAllStar for a reason
⭐️ 44 PTS
⭐️ 7 AST
⭐️ 2 STL
⭐️ 81% FG
⭐️ 63.1 FPTS
— NBA Fantasy (@NBAFantasy) February 11, 2023
Gilgeous-Alexander scored 10 points in the fourth while adding three critical assists. He found Isaiah Joe for a 3-pointer that put the Thunder up by six with five minutes remaining, then found Luguentz Dort in the lane for a dunk.
Oklahoma City all but sealed the victory with two minutes remaining when Jalen Williams’ steal led Gilgeous-Alexander to feed the ball back to Williams for another cutting dunk in the lane to give the Thunder a 12-point lead.
Josh Giddey added 19 points for Oklahoma City while Dort, coming off the bench for the first time since his rookie season in 2019-20, added 18 points on 6-of-6 shooting. Dort had missed the past six games due to a hamstring injury.
Lillard and Gilgeous-Alexander went toe to toe from the start, with Lillard getting the upper hand early, scoring 20 in the first quarter.
Gilgeous-Alexander kept Oklahoma City in the game, scoring 16 of his own as Portland led 35-33 after one.
The Thunder’s defense made things difficult on Lillard the rest of the way.
After going 5 of 6 from the floor in the first period and 7 of 7 from the free-throw line, Lillard was just 5 of 12 from the field and 5 of 6 from the line the rest of the way.
Cam Reddish, acquired in a Wednesday deal with the New York Knicks, started for Portland and finished with 11 points in 17 minutes.