Gilgeous-Alexander’s 31 Points Lead Thunder To 126-106 Win vs. Hornets

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Oklahoma City Thunder, Charlotte Hornets, NBA News
Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 31 points and was crucial in leading the Oklahoma City Thunder to a commanding 126-106 victory over the Charlotte Hornets during Friday’s NBA action.

Demonstrating his prowess beyond scoring as the league’s third-highest scorer, he also accumulated nine assists, five steals, and three blocks, showcasing his leadership in steals with an average of 2.3 per game.

According to teammate Lu Dort, his defensive efforts, particularly vocal leadership in coordinating coverages, significantly propelled the team’s dynamic.

“He’s really vocal on the defensive side, just calling the coverages and all that, too,” Dort said. “Just him being aggressive, it just feeds off on the other guys on the team. One, just our best player doing that, and also, it is great that he’s so good at this, and he does it a lot so we can go run in transition.”

NBA NEWS & SCORES: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Oklahoma City Thunder, Brandon Miller, Charlotte Hornets Updates

Gilgeous-Alexander’s efficiency was also evident on the offensive end, where he made 11 of 15 shots, continuing a streak of scoring at least 30 points in nine consecutive games. His initial focus on facilitating play for his teammates, with four assists before scoring himself, was a strategy that paid off, earning praise from Thunder coach Mark Daigneault for his balanced contribution.

“On the offensive end, I thought tonight he was really on one early,” Daigneault said. “He had as good of a blend of his play and plays for other guys as he’s (had) all season. He had an unbelievable balance there in the first half of the game.”

The Thunder’s victory, their second in a row and seventh out of the last nine games helped them secure a tie for first place in the Western Conference with a record of 34-15, despite missing key players Jalen Williams and Isaiah Joe due to injuries.

NBA NEWS & SCORES: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Oklahoma City Thunder, Brandon Miller, Charlotte Hornets Updates

The Hornets, struggling without LaMelo Ball due to an ankle injury, could not keep pace, with rookie Brandon Miller scoring 28 points in their sixth consecutive loss. Gilgeous-Alexander’s impressive first quarter set the tone for the game, contributing significantly to the Thunder’s early and commanding lead.

A highlight reel moment came in the second quarter when Gilgeous-Alexander executed a stunning behind-the-back bounce pass to Cason Wallace for a dunk, amplifying their lead and showcasing the Thunder’s offensive firepower and strategic play maintained throughout the game.

NBA NEWS & SCORES: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Oklahoma City Thunder, Brandon Miller, Charlotte Hornets Updates

The Nick Richards acknowledged their reactive rather than proactive approach contributed to their downfall, as they found themselves trying to claw back into the game after allowing the Thunder to establish an early dominance.

“Instead of us hitting guys first, we let them hit us first, and we try to fight back into it,” Richards said.

As both teams look ahead, the Hornets aim to recover against the Indiana Pacers, while the Thunder look to continue their strong performance hosting the Toronto Raptors.

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