The Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 117-104 Monday, with a boost from Shai Gilgeous Alexander's triple-double.
The Thunder bounced back from a blowout loss to the Lakers two nights prior by improving to a 17-6 record since Thanksgiving. Seven Thunder players scored in double figures.
Here are five takeaways from Oklahoma City's road win:
Gilgeous-Alexander achieved the first triple-double of his career with 7:52 left in the game. He passed to Dennis Schroder on the left wing, and Schroder knocked down a catch-and-shoot 3-pointer to give Gilgeous-Alexander his 10th assist of the night.
Gilgeous-Alexander finished the game with 20 points, 20 rebounds and 10 assists, becoming the fifth player in Thunder history to record a triple-double.
Oklahoma City Thunder's Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, left, drives on Minnesota Timberwolves' Jarrett Culver in the second half. (Photo: Jim Mone, AP)
Gilgeous-Alexander’s rebound total was notable on its own. It was a career high, and he set a NBA high mark for the most rebounds by a guard in a single game this season.
ESPN Stats & Info later tweeted that Gilgeous-Alexander made even more history, according to the Elias Sports bureau.
He joined former Thunder player Russell Westbrook as the only guards with a 20-point, 20-rebound triple-double over the last 30 seasons. He is also the youngest player in NBA history with a 20-rebound triple-double, passing Shaquille O'Neal.
Gallinari gets to the line
Thunder forward Danilo Gallinari drove straight at Timberwolves forward Robert Covington.
There wasn’t much Covington could do. Early in the third quarter, he was the only Timberwolves player between Gallinari and a transition basket. As Gallinari went up for a layup, he drew contact. The whistle sounded.
Gallinari already had scored eight of his 14 first-half points on free throws. Half of the Thunder’s made free throws before halftime came from Gallinari. The Timberwolves, on the other hand, made just 10 foul shots.
Less than two minutes into the second half, Gallinari was headed to the line again. He finished the night shooting 11-of-12 from the free throw line. That performance helped Gallinari pace the Thunder with 30 points.
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Muscala finds his shot
When Thunder center Mike Muscala entered the game Monday, he was shooting 25 percent from 2-point range. It has been his worst performance from beyond the arc since his rookie season, when he took just three 3-pointers.
But the first shot that Muscala let fly from the 3-point line Monday fell through the hoop. Then, on the Thunder’s next possession, Muscala made another 3-pointer. By the end of the first quarter, Muscala led OKC with eight points.
Runaway third quarter
It was a close game until the third quarter. Then, the Thunder outscored the Timberwolves 29-19 in that period. OKC led by as many as 18 points.
With Karl-Anthony Towns (left knee sprain) still sidelined, Andrew Wiggins was the Timberwolves’ biggest scoring threat. But the Thunder held Wiggins to 10 points through the first three quarters.
Thunder wing Abdel Nader checked out of the game with about nine minutes left in the first half. He was diagnosed with a left ankle sprain and did not return to the game.
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