Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored a season-high 31 points as the visiting Oklahoma City Thunder overcame a slow start and pulled away for a 129-116 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday night in New York.
Reserve Hamidou Diallo added a career-high 25 points for the Thunder, who entered the game averaging 101.9 points and easily surpassed that total.
Al Horford contributed 22 as Oklahoma City rallied from 15 points down and outscored Brooklyn 100-75 after trailing 41-29 through the first quarter. George Hill added 14 while Isaiah Roby and Luguentz Dort contributed 13 apiece for the Thunder, who shot a season-best 54.4 percent.
Kevin Durant returned from missing three games due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols posted a double-double with 36 points with 11 rebounds. The Nets played their third straight game without Kyrie Irving (personal reasons) and lost for the sixth time in nine games.
Caris LeVert added 21 for Brooklyn which shot 50.6 percent and never led after Durant’s jumper with 4:51 remaining in the third.
Oklahoma City outscored the Nets 37-18 in the decisive third and regained the lead on a 3-pointer by Dort with 4:18 remaining that made it 79-78. The Thunder held a 94-81 lead into the fourth after hitting four three throws in the final 24 seconds following a flagrant foul by Brooklyn’s DeAndre Jordan.
Diallo picked up his fourth foul trying to stop Durant’s dunk with 4:56 left and the Nets were within 115-103. After getting a foul called on Darius Bazley overturned with 4:06 remaining, the Thunder clinched the win on a turnaround hook by Horford for a 120-103 lead.
The Nets shot a scorching 69.6 percent in the first quarter and outscored Oklahoma City 23-11 over the final 5:08 to take a 41-29 lead.
Brooklyn went over five minutes without a basket before LeVert’s layup gave the Nets a 51-48 with 3:40 remaining. Horford’s 3-pointer forged a 51-51 tie on the next possession but the Nets held a 63-57 at halftime.
–Field Level Media