The Oklahoma City Thunder opened the second half of the 2020-21 season with a 116-108 win over the Dallas Mavericks Thursday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
The Thunder (16-21) was fueled by 32 points from Shai Gilgeous-Alexander as well as 21 points and nine rebounds from veteran center Al Horford.
Rookie Aleksej Pokusevski even chipped in 14 points while making the first four free-throw attempts of his career in his first-ever start.
OKC opened the game with a blistering 35-19 run and never looked back. The Mavericks (19-17) struggled mightily without their two best scorers Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis, dropping their first loss in five games.
Gilgeous-Alexander once again shined for the Thunder, going 11-for-22 from the field with six assists. He helped seal the victory with 10 points in the fourth, including six makes in clutch time from the charity stripe.
Horford was also in All-Star form, establishing his presence from the start with eight points in the first quarter before finishing with 21 over 28 minutes. He went 8-for-15 from the field, including 4-for-5 from the three-point range.
Pokusevski and Moses Brown were called up from the G-League prior to the start of the season’s second half and both capitalized on the opportunity.
Pokusevski went 4-for-11 overall and 2-for-6 from three-point range and also grabbed eight rebounds with three assists. Brown finished with a game-high 12 rebounds, including five on the offensive end, and scored eight points.
Oklahoma City held off a late push by the Mavericks, who cut the lead to four points with 27 seconds remaining. A three-pointer from Pokusevski as well as two free throws apiece from him and Gilgeous-Alexander helped secure the victory.
Dallas finished with three players scoring over 20 points, including Josh Richardson (27), Jalen Brunson (26), and Tim Hardaway Jr. (24). Maxi Kleber scored 14.
The win marks the second straight for OKC and the fourth in its last six games.
The team looks to stay hot Saturday at home against the New York Knicks (19-19).
Tip-off is scheduled for 1 p.m. C.T.