NEW YORK (AP)Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 37 points, Josh Giddey had a triple-double and the Oklahoma City Thunder shot a season-high 62.5% from the field in a 145-135 victory over the New York Knicks on Sunday.
Giddey had 24 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds for the Thunder, who picked up their fifth straight victory at Madison Square Garden. Giddey joined Wilt Chamberlain (1968) as the only other player in NBA history to record triple-doubles during their first two games at MSG.
”Any time your name is within the company of (Chamberlain), one of the all-time greats, is special,” Giddey said. ”But basketball is a team game, so if those things contribute to winning and helping my guys around me be better, then it makes it worth it.”
Lu Dort also had 24 points for Oklahoma City and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl added 17.
”We took the right shots; we made the right passes,” Thunder coach Mark Daigneault said. ”No one was pounding it. We just kind of moved it and let the ball find the right guy. Guys were all ready to attack. It was a good offense.”
Six Knicks scored in double figures, led by Cam Reddish, who had a season-high 26 points. Julius Randle had 25 and Immanuel Quickley chipped in 24.
RJ Barrett, the Knicks’ second-leading scorer, got into foul trouble and was held to a season-low four points on 2-of-10 shooting in 19 minutes. He did not play in the final 21-plus minutes.
”We just got behind by so much that we were just looking for life,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said of his decision to leave Barrett on the bench. ”The group that was in there gave us a little bit of a spark, so that’s where we went with it.”
The Thunder surpassed their season average for points (113.4) by scoring 122 points through three quarters. Gilgeous-Alexander scored 21 in the third, and the Thunder used a 17-2 run to turn a three-point game into a rout.
”(Gilgeous-)Alexander, he’s a tough matchup. So is Giddey,” Thibodeau said. ”You’re not guarding those guys individually, you’re guarding those guys with your team, so that’s where we fell short.”
The teams set a torrid pace from the outset, with New York putting up 48 first-quarter points, a season high for a single quarter. New York, which led by as many as 13, shot 64.5% from the field in the first quarter and went 4 of 7 from 3-point range, with 12 assists on its 20 field goals.
Oklahoma City set a season high by scoring 43 points in the second quarter, then duplicated it in the third. The Thunder made 74% of their shots in the second and turned a 12-point deficit into a six-point halftime lead. The Thunder, who outscored the Knicks by 18 in the second quarter, scored a season-high 79 first-half points and closed the frame with a 24-12 run.
”We obviously didn’t start the way we wanted,” Daigneault said. ”I thought we did a great job of course-correcting in the second quarter and just settled back into our stuff and got control of the game going into the half.”
In the Thunder’s last visit to MSG, Giddey finished with 28 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds in a 127-123 overtime victory on Feb. 14.
”We only come (to MSG) once (per season), so we’ve got to make the most of it,” Giddey said.
The Knicks were without center Mitchell Robinson for the fifth consecutive game because of a knee injury. Isaiah Hartenstein started in his place for the third straight game and had 14 points and seven rebounds.
Gilgeous-Alexander, who played his college basketball at Kentucky, was kept off the scoreboard for the first 8 minutes, 11 seconds but improved to 5-0 combined at MSG in his college and professional career. . The Thunder have scored 130-plus points in three straight games (2-1).
Oklahoma City: At Boston on Monday.
New York: At Utah on Tuesday.
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