RECAP: Thunder start fast, close strong to edge T-Wolves

Feb 6, 2021; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) drives to the basket around Minnesota Timberwolves forward Anthony Edwards (1) during the first quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 13 of his 31 points in the fourth quarter to help the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 120-118 win over the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday night.

The Thunder led by as many as 23 points in the first half but the Timberwolves led by as many as six points in the fourth quarter before Oklahoma City hit seven consecutive field goals — four of those by Gilgeous-Alexander — to take a 120-118 lead with 1:16 to go, capped by Darius Bazley’s reverse layup.

Minnesota had a chance to tie or take the lead twice more, including on Naz Reid’s drive in the closing seconds, but the Timberwolves couldn’t finish it off and Oklahoma City picked up a split in the back-to-back series.

Oklahoma City’s strong close spoiled a career night from Reid, who finished with 29 points. Anthony Edwards added 20 for the Timberwolves.

The Thunder had seven players score in double figures, including 22 off the bench from Mike Muscala.

The Timberwolves battled back from the big deficit early to take their first lead with just less than 10 minutes remaining. Minnesota used a 10-2 run to start the fourth — eight from Jake Layman — to go up 104-98.

Oklahoma City led 83-62 at halftime but its momentum evaporated in the third as Reid scored the first 13 Minnesota points after halftime as part of a 19-2 run that got the Timberwolves within five, the closest they’d been since the Thunder scored the game’s first 10 points.

After its two highest-scoring quarters of the season, Oklahoma City followed with its second-lowest. The Thunder scored just 13 points in the third.

Oklahoma City scored 43 first-quarter points, its highest-scoring quarter of the season, to take a 19-point lead. The Thunder kept pouring it on in the second quarter with 40 points — 17 by Muscala.

Oklahoma City hadn’t scored more than 37 in a quarter coming into the game.

The Thunder’s 83 first-half points were the most since the franchise moved to Oklahoma City 13 seasons ago. Oklahoma City shot 60.4 percent in the first half.

–Field Level Media