Thunder Defeat Raptors 123-102 in Gilgeous-Alexander’s Homecoming

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Oklahoma City Thunder, Toronto Raptors, NBA News
John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Oklahoma City Thunder emerged victorious over the Toronto Raptors with a 123-103 win during Friday’s NBA action. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, returning to his homeland for this regular-season encounter, led the charge with 23 points.

Chet Holmgren contributed significantly with 18 points and 10 rebounds, marking a noteworthy performance that helped the Thunder secure their fourth consecutive win and extend the Raptors’ losing streak to nine games.

“We did enough to win,” Gilgeous-Alexander said. “We weren’t the best version of ourselves tonight. We’re going to look in the mirror and try to figure out how we can do that more often.”

Jalen Williams added 20 points, with Kenrich Williams and Cason Wallace each putting up 12 points for the Thunder, who lead the Western Conference. The team’s road record improved to 21-13, showcasing their prowess away from home.

“It’s always fun,” he said. “I grew up coming to games here, watching Chris Bosh and a bunch of NBA legends play in this building. It’s always a surreal moment, and to have my friends and family in the crowd is even more special.”

NBA NEWS & SCORES: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Oklahoma City Thunder, Toronto Raptors Updates

Despite the absence of seven players, including all five regular starters due to injuries and personal reasons, the Raptors found a leading scorer in rookie Gradey Dick with 21 points. Kelly Olynyk also made a significant contribution with 16 points.

“It’s an NBA game with NBA players,” Holmgren said. “They’re out there for a reason. They have all the motivation in the world to go out there and do what they do. We knew they were going to bring it tonight, so we had to do the same.”

The game was marred by turnovers for the Raptors, who made a season-worst 27. These mistakes allowed the Thunder to score 37 points—the most Toronto has conceded in a season.

“It’s really hard to play when you constantly are having a disadvantage in transition,” Raptors coach Darko Rajakovic said.

NBA NEWS & SCORES: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Oklahoma City Thunder, Toronto Raptors Updates

The Thunder’s defense was particularly effective, finishing the game with 17 steals, ranking as the third-highest in the NBA this season. This defensive prowess helped them build momentum, especially in the second quarter, which saw a significant shift in the game’s dynamics.

“The group to start the second quarter really amped the game up physically,” Thunder coach Mark Daigneault said. “On the defensive end, we strung together a lot of stops at the beginning of that period to get ourselves a lead, get ourselves out on the break.”

NBA NEWS & SCORES: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Oklahoma City Thunder, Toronto Raptors Updates

As the Thunder look forward to facing the Milwaukee Bucks and the Raptors prepare to meet the Washington Wizards, both teams are set on improving their standings and performance in the ongoing NBA season.

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