Thunder use big third quarter to rally past Nets, 121-107
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 35 points, Josh Giddey had 15 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists, and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Brooklyn Nets 121-107 on Tuesday night for their sixth win in seven games.
Lu Dort matched his season high with 24 points and added nine rebounds for Oklahoma City, which rallied from a 16-point, first-half deficit thanks mostly to a sizzling third quarter, during which Dort made five 3-pointers.
Mikal Bridges scored 34 points and Cam Johnson added 23 for Brooklyn, which had won five of its last six games, with four of those wins on the road.
The Nets looked at times as if they’d run away in the first half before settling for a 62-52 halftime lead after the Thunder scored the final six points of the half. To that point, Oklahoma City had made only 2 of 10 from 3-point range.
“The underrated thing about a game like that is when you’re down 16 … (and) a team is playing with that juice, and the game’s not quite going your way, not getting knocked out in that period is the key to winning a game like tonight,” Oklahoma City coach Mark Daigneault said. “We didn’t go down 25 and we easily could have. We just kind of hung in there long enough for the game to turn.”
It turned in good part due to Dort, who finished 6 of 11 from 3-point range. In the third quarter, the Thunder went 8 of 15 from behind the arc while outscoring Brooklyn 38-20.
“I had it going,” Dort said. “I’m working so hard on my shot. I’ve always got to stay confident and always try to take a good one. Tonight, the ball just found me.”
The Nets missed all seven of their 3-point attempts during the quarter and trailed 90-82 entering the fourth. They came no closer than five points the rest of the way and at the end, Oklahoma City pushed its lead to as many as 15 points.
“We didn’t finish the (first) half the right way and that led to the third quarter,” Brooklyn coach Jacque Vaughn said. “We talked about, every single possession for this team matters. Every 50-50 ball matters. You’ve got to get dirty. You’ve got to get on the floor. You’ve got to get that possession. … We didn’t do that often enough and we paid for it tonight.”
Giddey finished off his fourth triple-double of the season with a basket with 6:46 left. Jalen Williams added 23 points and 10 rebounds.
Spencer Dinwiddie had 16 points and 11 assists, while Nic Claxton had 12 points and 12 rebounds for Brooklyn.
Nets: Ben Simmons missed an 11th straight game with soreness in his left knee and back. Vaughn said there’s been “zero” discussion about shutting down Simmons for the season ... Seven of Dinwiddie’s assists came in the first quarter.
Thunder: Oklahoma City hadn’t beaten Brooklyn at home since March 3, 2019, having lost the previous two meetings inside the Paycom Center … Lindy Waters III started the second half in the place of rookie Jaylin Williams … Oklahoma City shot no free throws during its big third quarter, while Brooklyn shot 20, making 14.
FREE THROWS Brooklyn attempted 34 free throws to 23 for Oklahoma City, but Vaughn thought the Nets — and specifically Dinwiddie, who went 6 of 6 from the line — should have shot more.
“I thought that he was aggressive at getting to the rim tonight,” Vaughn said. “I’m surprised that he only had six free-throw attempts, with the amount of times that he drove to the rim tonight. That piece there, we’re going to ask him to continue to do. I thought he made the right plays. Six free throws – I thought it should have been 16 free throws.”
Nets: Host the Sacramento Kings on Thursday.
Thunder: At Toronto on Thursday.