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Shai Gilgeous-Alexander powers Thunder in win over Wizards

Jan 6, 2023; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) drives between Washington Wizards forward Deni Avdija (9) and guard Delon Wright (55) during the first quarter at Paycom Center. Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 30 points to help the host Oklahoma City Thunder knock off the Washington Wizards 127-110 on Friday.

The Thunder won for the second time in three games. The Wizards took their second consecutive loss after winning their previous five.

The last time the teams met, Nov. 16 in Washington, Oklahoma City needed Gilgeous-Alexander’s 3-pointer with 1.1 seconds left to grab a 121-120 victory.

This time, no such dramatics were necessary.

The Thunder took control early, going on a 12-2 run over a 3 1/2-minute span in the first in which Gilgeous-Alexander hit two shots.

Oklahoma City eventually led by as many as 20 points in the first quarter and ended the period with a 35-17 lead.

The Wizards scored just 17 first-quarter points, the fewest points the Thunder have allowed in the first quarter this season.

The Thunder led 68-42 at halftime, their largest halftime lead of the season, as the Wizards were just 2 of 10 from behind the arc and hit 40 only percent from the floor. Oklahoma City made 54 percent of its first-half field-goal attempts.

Oklahoma City took control by turning defense into offense, scoring 24 first-half points off 11 Washington turnovers. The Thunder outscored the Wizards 32-9 off turnovers in the game.

When Washington turned up its offense in the third quarter, scoring 38, Gilgeous-Alexander helped Oklahoma City keep pace.

Gilgeous-Alexander scored 16 points in the third on 6-of-10 shooting with three assists.

The Wizards pulled as close as 14 in the fourth quarter, but the Thunder scored off turnovers on back-to-back possessions to maintain control.

Alexander finished 12 of 23 from the floor. Josh Giddey added 20 points and nine assists for the Thunder, who have combined for 61 assists in their past two home games.

Washington was led by Kyle Kuzma, who finished with 23 points and seven assists. Daniel Gafford had 15 points and nine rebounds, and Kristaps Porzingas added 14 points and 10 rebounds.

The Wizards were without Bradley Beal, who aggravated a left hamstring strain in Washington’s Tuesday loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.

–Field Level Media