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Behind stunning shooting, Thunder blast Celtics

Jan 3, 2023; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Luguentz Dort (5) works to keep the ball away from Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) during the first quarter at Paycom Center. Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

Despite playing without leading scorer Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, the Oklahoma City Thunder shot 59.2 percent from the field and earned a 150-117 home victory against the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night.

Gilgeous-Alexander, who is averaging 30.8 points per game, was a late scratch with a non-COVID illness. He also leads the Thunder in assists (5.8 per game) and steals (1.7 per game).

The Thunder made 58 of 98 shots from the field, including 20 of 40 3-point attempts. The Celtics allowed 40 points in the second quarter and 48 in the third.

All five Oklahoma City starters scored in double figures. Josh Giddey led the way with 25 points. Luguentz Dort had 23, Jalen Williams scored 21, Aaron Wiggins finished with 17 and Kenrich Williams tossed in 10.

The Thunder also received 21 points off the bench from both Tre Mann and Isaiah Joe. Mann made five of his eight 3-point attempts.

Jaylen Brown (29 points) and Jayson Tatum (27) led the Celtics’ offense. Malcolm Brogdon and Payton Pritchard each finished the game with 17 points.

Celtics guard Marcus Smart was ejected after he received his second technical foul with 2:46 remaining in the third quarter. Smart had seven points and eight assists in 26 minutes.

Oklahoma City was also without Aleksej Pokusevski, who suffered a broken left leg during a 130-114 victory over San Antonio on Dec. 27 and is expected to be out at least six weeks. Pokusevski, the 17th overall selection in the 2020 NBA Draft, is averaging a career-high 8.8 points and 5.1 rebounds in 31 games this season (25 starts).

The Thunder shot 56.9 percent from the floor in the first half and led 74-54 at halftime. Joe scored a team-high 17 points for Oklahoma City in the half. It was 122-91 after three quarters.

Boston beat Oklahoma City 126-122 when the teams met in Boston on Nov. 14. Gilgeous-Alexander scored a game-high 37 points in that game.

–Field Level Media