The Oklahoma City Thunder snapped their two-game losing streak in impressive fashion on Monday night, defeating the Washington Wizards 136-128 behind standout performances from Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Chet Holmgren.
The Thunder bounced back after disappointing losses to the Nuggets and 76ers, riding hot shooting and clutch plays late to hold off the Wizards. Gilgeous-Alexander poured in 32 points while Holmgren added 26 points, 12 rebounds and 4 blocks in the win.
Despite the final score, it was a back-and-forth battle for most of the night. The Thunder led by as many as 10 in the first half before the Wizards rallied to take a 61-60 halftime lead. The second half saw 12 lead changes and the game remained close until the final two minutes.
Ultimately, the difference was the Thunder’s superior three-point shooting (19-of-43 compared to 10-of-28 for Washington) and their ability to get stops late. Gilgeous-Alexander and Holmgren also won the matchup battle against Wizards stars Bradley Beal and Kristaps Porzingis.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: The Thunder’s budding superstar showed why he earned an All-Star selection last season, pouring in 32 points on 11-of-22 shooting along with 7 assists. He scored 10 points in the fourth quarter, including a deep step-back three and scooping layup in the final two minutes to help OKC pull away.
Chet Holmgren: The No. 2 overall pick from the 2022 draft continued his stellar rookie campaign with 26 points, 12 rebounds and 4 blocks, frustrating Porzingis all night long. Holmgren shot 9-of-14 from the field and 4-of-7 from deep in 34 minutes. His putback dunk with 1:30 left stretched the Thunder lead to 8.
Bradley Beal: Washington’s leading scorer put up 28 points and 8 assists, but shot just 9-of-25 from the field and 1-of-9 on threes. He also committed 6 turnovers as the Thunder swarmed him with multiple defenders.
Kristaps Porzingis: Porzingis posted 20 points and 9 rebounds but struggled mightily against Holmgren, shooting just 7-of-19. He also missed multiple open looks down the stretch with the game on the line.
The 9th place Wizards now sit at 17-23, having lost five of their last six games. Things don’t get any easier, as they head out West for a brutal five game road trip starting Wednesday against the Suns. They’ll need Beal and Porzingis to shoot much better to turn things around.
The Thunder on the other hand earned a signature win to halt their skid, improving to 19-21. They appear poised to compete for a play-in spot in the tough Western Conference. Oklahoma City wraps up their road trip Tuesday against the Heat before returning home.
With Gilgeous-Alexander establishing himself as a bonafide star and Holmgren already playing at an elite level as a rookie, the future is very bright for the young Thunder core. This exciting win showed they have the talent to hang with top teams like Washington even through adversity.
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