Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s Thunder Score Historic 153 vs. Rockets

Shai Gilgeous Alexander, Oklahoma City Thunder, NBA News
NBA Analysis Network

During the Saturday night NBA slate, the Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Houston Rockets 153-121, fueled by 42 points scored by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander — setting a new team record for points scored in a single game.

“Just (wanted to) be the aggressors,” Gilgeous-Alexander said. “Play our style, our brand of basketball. I think we got away from that a little bit in Houston, and we just wanted to get back on track.”

Given the Thunder had lost to the Rockets on Wednesday in disappointing fashion, Thunder coach Mark Daigneault admired the player-led focus to bounce back.

“It wasn’t like I was giving motivational speeches,” he said. “But, you know, as a team, they kind of banded together and decided that they were going to come out and play the way they did. And they were impressive because of it.”

Right out of the gate, Gilgeous-Alexander ensured that his team got off to a strong start. He scored 20 points in the opening period. He averages 9.6 points per game in first quarters, trailing only Luka Doncic (11.6) and Joel Embiid (9.8).

“I thought tonight was, like, a pretty big leadership statement game for him,” Daigneault said. “I think when you need a response like we needed tonight coming out of the other night, you rely on your guys that are most experienced, who play the most minutes.”

NBA SCORES & NEWS: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Oklahoma City Thunder & Houston Rockets Updates

On Saturday, Gilgeous-Alexander fell two points short of his career-high and shot an impressive 14 of 23 from the floor and 14 of 15 on free throws. He had shot a poor 7 of 23 in the Thunder’s recent disappointing loss to the Rockets. The first-time All-Star also dished out six and with a 42-point lead through three quarters, he didn’t play in the fourth quarter.

Among the Thunder’s top supporting performers were Mike Muscala with 19 points and Josh Giddey with 17 points, 10 assists, and eight rebounds.

“We’re a team that’s growing in confidence, and I think our habits are growing,” Daigneault said. “And I think a lot of things are moving in the right direction.”

For the Rockets, Josh Christopher and TyTy Washington each scored 20 points, while Tari Eason added 18 points. Eric Gordon (sore right knee) and Jae’Sean Tate (right ankle) did not play for the Rockets.

NBA SCORES & NEWS: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Oklahoma City Thunder & Houston Rockets Updates

“You’ve got to step up in these situations, and we didn’t do it,” Rockets coach Stephen Silas said. “We succumbed to back-to-back, three-in-four, no Eric, no Tate, all that stuff. … We succumbed to it. That’s not — we’re talking about winning habits. That’s not one.”

In the first half, Oklahoma City led 79-53 after shooting 55 percent from the field. In his career-high first half, Gilgeous-Alexander scored 28 points. Going into the fourth quarter, the Thunder led 123-81 after making 16 of 26 field goals in the third quarter.

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