Thunder defeat Durant-led Brooklyn Nets

Thunder defeat Durant-led Brooklyn Nets

NORMAN — If this Thunder team is supposed to be losing games, they haven’t gotten the memo yet.

The Thunder finished its five-game road trip with a 4-1 record, punctuating it with a 129-116 win against the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday. The win gives the Thunder three consecutive victories, and pushes its record to 5-4 on the season.

Sunday’s victory was another example of the Thunder’s recipe in its early success this season. Six players finished in double figures for the Thunder, and three finished with season-highs in points.

It was all led by point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who posted a season-high 31 points on 11 of 16 shooting, adding six rebounds and seven assists.

Despite an early deficit, the third-year guard kept the Thunder in the game with 14 points in the first quarter. The Nets began trapping Gilgeous-Alexander in an effort to limit his offense, but he scored eight points in the final 12 minutes to secure the win.

“Reading the defense and anticipating the defense is one of the things I pride my game on,” Gilgeous-Alexander said. “I just wanted to come out aggressive and end the road trip the right way. All of us across the board wanted to end the road trip the right way and get a win.”

Gilgeous-Alexander got plenty of help on the offensive end, too. Al Horford finished with 22 points and hit three 3-pointers, which helped give the Thunder space to drive to the rim.

But a large part of the Thunder’s recent success has been its bench play, particularly from Hamidou Diallo. Diallo, who scored 23 points in Friday’s win against the Knicks, finished Sunday’s game with 25 points on 10 of 14 shooting from the floor.

Diallo has been the clear sixth-man off the bench for the Thunder this season, and he’s responded with some of the best games of his career.

“Coming in and being the guy for the second unit, I just keep working at it and keep knowing there’s room for improvement on a night-to-night basis” Diallo said. “I’m just going out there and laying it all on the line each and every night, and if I do that I should be in a good spot.”

After the game, Daigneault pointed to the team’s balanced scoring effort as a key reason for the team’s winning record.

“I thought we just moved [the ball], playing with pace and just sharing the ball and playing the right way,” Daigneault said. “We have a team that’s well-intentioned. We’re not going to play perfectly every night, but they did a great job of moving and sharing the ball tonight. It’s a testament to how they play the game.”

Nets forward Kevin Durant, who played his first game against the Thunder since the 2018-2019 season, finished with 36 points, 11 rebounds and four assists.

Next: The Thunder return to Oklahoma City for a matchup against the Spurs at 7 p.m. tonight.

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