Luguentz Dort is widely known as one of the NBA’s top defenders.
On Wednesday, however, Oklahoma City’s third-year stopper blitzed the Houston Rockets on both ends, scoring a season-high 34 points in a 101-89 win at Paycom Center.
Dort, now riding a five-game streak of at least 20 points scored, shot 14-for-22 from the field, including four made three-pointers. He also grabbed eight rebounds and was again a menace on the defensive end.
The Thunder (6-8) jumped out to a 22-19 first-quarter lead and never looked back. The Rockets pushed back late, but OKC eventually pulled away with its largest margin of victory this season.
Rookie Josh Giddey recorded his second double-double of the year with 14 points and 11 boards. Although he finished with just two assists, he also continued to show his dynamic passing skills that included a nifty, left-handed dime to Jeremiah Robinson-Earl early in the game.
Giddey’s 11 rebounds were a team-high as the Thunder dominated Houston on the glass. Robinson-Earl grabbed nine boards while Darius Bazley matched Dort with eight.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s usual scoring effort wasn’t needed thanks to Dort, as well as Houston’s struggles.
SGA netted 15 points on 6-for-18 shooting and went just 1-for-8 from deep. He nearly recorded a triple double, however, adding seven rebounds and a game-high nine assists.
The Thunder bench combined for 23 points, including seven from Tre Mann and six from Mike Muscala. Ty Jerome added five. Mann left the game late after suffering what appeared to be an ankle injury.
Jalen Green led the Rockets (1-14) with 21 points on 6-for-14 shooting. Jae’Sean Tate scored 16 while veteran Eric Gordon chipped in 15. Developing star Christian Wood recorded a double-double with 10 points and 14 rebounds.
The win avenged a brutal, 124-91 loss to Houston in the second game of the season. The two teams meet again on November 29.
OKC has now won five of its last seven games and looks to stay hot on Friday against the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks (7-8).
Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.