Gilgeous-Alexander scores 27 as Thunder top Portland again

Dec 21, 2022, 5:41 AM | Updated: 8:49 pm
Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) shoots in front of Portland Trail Blazers g...

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) shoots in front of Portland Trail Blazers guard Josh Hart (11) and =ppo24=, right, in the second half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Dec. 19, 2022, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

              Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard passes the ball in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2022, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Nate Billings)
              Portland Trail Blazers forward Justise Winslow, top, reaches for the ball held by Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, bottom, in the first half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Dec. 19, 2022, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
              Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) shoots in front of Portland Trail Blazers guard Josh Hart (11) and =ppo24=, right, in the second half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Dec. 19, 2022, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 27 points and the Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Portland Trail Blazers for the second time in three days, 101-98 on Wednesday night.

Gilgeous-Alexander had a good week against Portland — he hit a winning basket as time expired against the Trail Blazers on Monday, also in Oklahoma City, to highlight a 35-point performance.

It was the third straight win for Oklahoma City. The streak follows a five-game losing skid.

“I thought the guys really did a nice job of carrying over the lessons from last game,” Thunder coach Mark Daigneault said. “We knew they (Trail Blazers) were going to be better, and I thought they were. And I thought we were better, too.”

Damian Lillard, who entered the game averaging 28.3 points, finished with 16 points on 6-for-19 shooting for the Trail Blazers. Anfernee Simons, who started the night averaging 23.2 points, scored 12 on 4-for-11 shooting.

It was the third time this season the Thunder allowed fewer than 100 points.

“It’s a five-man defense,” Daigneault said. “We were a five-man defense tonight, and I was very impressed with the execution.”

Jerami Grant led Portland with 17 points.

Lillard missed his first six shots and didn’t score until halfway through the second quarter. Still, the Trail Blazers led 54-49 at halftime despite Gilgeous-Alexander’s 18 points.

The Thunder led 99-98 in the closing seconds. Oklahoma City’s Josh Giddey rebounded his miss, but Lillard tied him up and forced a jump ball that Portland won.

Lillard missed a difficult 18-foot fadeaway with Lu Dort guarding him, and the Thunder rebounded with 0.9 seconds remaining.

“It was a tough shot,” Portland coach Chauncey Billups said. “He probably lost his balance on it and just had to heave something that was too late. He was committed to it at that point.”

Dort continues to add to his reputation as a top perimeter defender.

“The guy’s just a monster defensively,” Daigneault said. “Lillard’s a monster offensively. He’s such a good player. It’s just another vintage game for him (Dort) and we start to get used to them. He’s probably had about five of these this year where he’s played against a top-notch opponent and just does his thing.”

Dort appreciated the help he got defending Lillard throughout the night.

“It’s not easy,” Dort said. “He’s a great player. I felt like it was another challenge, honestly. We won the last game down to the wire, and I kind of knew he would come out a little more aggressive. I felt like it wasn’t just me, it was my teammates. I just felt like we did a good job of being there.”

Gilgeous-Alexander made two free throws with 0.3 seconds left, and Portland couldn’t get a shot off on its final possession.


Billups on Portland attempting nine free throws the entire game: “That really doesn’t happen with us. Nine free throws for the whole game. We attack all night. I guess we didn’t get fouled tonight.”


Trail Blazers: C Jusuf Nurkic returned after missing Monday’s game with right calf soreness. … Lillard was issued a technical in the third quarter. He also was called for one on Monday against the Thunder. … F Justice Winslow left the game with a left ankle sprain in the third quarter and did not return.

Thunder: Giddey returned after missing two games due to illness. … F/C Jeremiah Robinson-Earl sat out with a sprained right ankle. … Oklahoma City improved to 9-7 at home this season. … Jalen Williams scored 15 points and Lu Dort added 14 for the Thunder.


Trail Blazers: Visit the Denver Nuggets on Friday.

Thunder: Host the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday.


Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter:


More AP NBA: and

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


New Orleans Pelicans guard Trey Murphy III, right, goes up for a basket as Denver Nuggets guard Jam...
Associated Press

Murray, Jokic help Nuggets hold off Pelicans 122-113

DENVER (AP) — Jamal Murray is locked in right now — with his shot, with his swagger and especially with his confidence in his team. “It’s fun to play basketball,” the Denver point guard said. “But we still have room to improve. We’re not satisfied with where we’re at.” Murray scored 32 points, Nikola Jokic […]
1 day ago
FILE - Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner (42) drives past Chicago Sky forward Candace Parker (...
Associated Press

Griner’s return, free agency raises charter flight concerns

Brittney Griner’s return to the WNBA this summer after being traded in a dramatic prisoner swap in December with Russia has collided with free agency, creating potential travel complications for the league out of safety concerns for her. If Griner, who is a free agent but has said she’ll return to Phoenix, needs special travel […]
1 day ago
Milwaukee Bucks' Khris Middleton drives past Charlotte Hornets' Terry Rozier during the second half...
Associated Press

Bucks beat Hornets 124-115 for 5th consecutive victory

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Khris Middleton is making the most of his limited minutes as he works his way back from injuries that kept him from playing for much of the season. Middleton scored 18 points and sparked a third-quarter run that put the Milwaukee Bucks ahead for good as they beat the Charlotte Hornets 124-115 […]
1 day ago
Los Angeles Clippers guard Paul George, right, slaps the ball away from Chicago Bulls forward DeMar...
Associated Press

Leonard, Powell lead Clippers past Bulls, 108-103

CHICAGO (AP) — Kawhi Leonard scored 33 points and Norman Powell added 27 to help the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Chicago Bulls 108-103 on Tuesday night. Paul George added 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Clippers, who’ve won six of seven. Nikola Vucevic had 23 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Bulls, […]
1 day ago
Los Angeles Lakers' Anthony Davis (3) defends a shot by New York Knicks' RJ Barrett (9) during the ...
Associated Press

James has triple-double, leads Lakers past Knicks in OT

NEW YORK (AP) — LeBron James will soon be the NBA’s top scorer, though that was never his focus. He’s also one of the game’s leading passers, and combining the two — possibly better than anyone ever — is what really makes him proud. “I didn’t get to this point in my career by thinking […]
1 day ago
Kansas forward K.J. Adams Jr. (24) dunks the ball during the first half of an NCAA college basketba...
Associated Press

No. 8 Kansas avenges earlier loss to No. 7 K-State, 90-78

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Jalen Wilson remembers every slight. Every criticism. Every chip that’s landed on his shoulder. You can bet the Kansas forward remembers watching Kansas State fans storm the court after beating the Jayhawks. So with revenge on their mind, Wilson and his pals jumped on the seventh-ranked Wildcats in the rematch Tuesday […]
1 day ago
Gilgeous-Alexander scores 27 as Thunder top Portland again