NBA: Chet Holmgren scores 35 as Thunder beat Jazz

NBA: Chet Holmgren scores 35 as Thunder beat Jazz

/ 03:55 PM March 21, 2024

Oklahoma City Thunder  Chet Holmgren NBA

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Chet Holmgren sets up to shoot against the Utah Jazz during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, March 20, 2024, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Kyle Phillips)

OKLAHOMA CITY — Chet Holmgren scored 35 points and tied a career high with 14 rebounds and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the short-handed Utah Jazz 119-107 in the NBA on Wednesday night.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 20 of his 31 points in the second half for the Thunder, who have the best record in the Western Conference at 48-20.

Alexander became the 13th player in NBA history to score 30 points or more in 50 games.


READ: NBA: Thunder defeat Grizzlies for share of West lead

“Credit Utah, they really competed tonight,” Thunder coach Mark Daigneault said. “I thought they were the more physical team after the first six minutes of the game, and that really tested us.”

Collin Sexton had 25 points for Utah, which played without injured players Lauri Markkanen and Jordan Clarkson — two of the team’s top three scorers.


“I thought we played 42 good minutes tonight,” said Utah coach Will Hardy, whose team has lost three straight and 14 of its last 17 to fall to 29-40. “I was really proud of the team’s effort, competitiveness. I thought the first half was probably as good a half of basketball as we’ve played in a while, which shows some growth and maturity from the team. Turnovers hurt us tonight, for sure.”

Utah committed 15 turnovers that resulted in 19 points for Oklahoma City. The Thunder also scored 35 points on second-chance opportunities compared to eight points for the Jazz.


READ: NBA: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Chet Holmgren lead Thunder past Warriors

Oklahoma City jumped to a 22-11 lead on an alley-oop pass and dunk from Josh Giddey to Holmgren. Utah scored 10 of the next 12 points to pull within 24-21.

Holmgren, who finished one point shy of a career high, had nine points and seven rebounds in eight minutes and the Thunder had a 31-25 lead after one quarter.

The Jazz outscored Oklahoma City 29-22 in the second to pull in front 54-53 at halftime.

Oklahoma City trailed 61-57 early in the third but went on a 11-0 run to pull ahead 68-61. Gilgeous-Alexander scored 15 in the quarter and the Thunder led 82-80 to start the final quarter.

“I thought in the second half we showed good persistence,” Daigneault said. “We tried to amp it up on the defensive end. The game didn’t open up for us right away, but we kept at it, and then that group to start the fourth quarter really ignited the rest of the game.”

The Thunder took control midway through the fourth, outscoring the Jazz 20-4 at one point to lead 100-86. A 3-pointer by Aaron Wiggins and a pair of 3-point plays by Holmgren — fouled twice on dunks — highlighted the run.

“Some shots didn’t fall from the outside, but we did a good job of not just saying ‘We’re a team that’s going to win when we make shots,’ ” said Holmgren, who also blocked three shots. “We found other ways to open up the game and pull away at the end.”

The lead grew to 16 points on a 3 by Holmgren and his fifth dunk of the game with 5:50 remaining.

Holmgren shot 12 of 18 from the field and the Thunder shot 43 of 88 (48.9%) as a team.


Jazz: Visit the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday.

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Thunder: Visit the Toronto Raptors on Friday.

TAGS: Chet Holmgren, Oklahoma City Thunder

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