Basketball / NBA

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander's first career triple-double guides Thunder past Timberwolves

AP

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s goal was to play a better all-around game. He did that and then some.

Gilgeous-Alexander had 20 points, a career-high 20 rebounds and 10 assists in his first triple-double, leading the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 117-104 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday night.

“Coach had challenged me before the game to fill up the stat sheet more and do more things,” Gilgeous-Alexander said. “Because he thought, as well as myself thought, that I was more capable of what I was doing.”

Gilgeous-Alexander came in averaging 23.7 points in his previous 13 games but did much more than score in this one, also matching his career best in assists. He became the youngest player in league history to record at least 20 points, 20 rebounds and 10 assists in a game.

“He’s tough. He’s very tough,” Minnesota’s Andrew Wiggins said. “He’s a big guard that can put it on the floor and create for others, and he’s a bucket. He can make a bucket when he needs to.”

Gilgeous-Alexander is the fourth second-year player in NBA history to register a 20-20 triple-double. He joins Shaquille O’Neal, Charles Barkley and Oscar Robertson. The only other guard to have a 20-20 triple-double in the last 30 seasons is former Thunder star Russell Westbrook.

That after Gilgeous-Alexander did not record an assist in 35 minutes against the Lakers on Saturday.

“I just felt like we were on our heels a little bit in the previous game against the Lakers,” Gilgeous-Alexander said. “That was one of the things that Coach mentioned to us, attacking first. I felt we did that as a group. When you attack as a group, you get more comfortable faster.”

Danilo Gallinari scored 30 points for the Thunder, who have won 12 of their past 15 games and six of seven on the road.

Naz Reid scored 20 off the bench for Minnesota, which was still without Karl-Anthony Towns. Reid has scored in double figures in six of the last eight games. Robert Covington scored 18 points.

The Thunder held a 63-60 lead at halftime. They went on an 11-2 run early in the third quarter and then a 10-3 burst midway through the third to push their lead into double figures. Oklahoma City led by as many as 18.

“I thought the third quarter for us was important,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. “We had some action, had some really good ball movement, had some great clips offensively. I thought that was critical.”

Steven Adams had 13 points, 11 rebounds and five assists for the Thunder.

Shabazz Napier scored 16 points for the Timberwolves. Rookie Jarrett Culver scored 14 points.

“We obviously need more from everybody when we have guys that are out who are big parts of this team,” Minnesota coach Ryan Saunders said. “I was happy with some of the guys.”

Lakers 128, Cavaliers 99

In Los Angeles, LeBron James scored 23 of his 31 points in a dominant second half, and Dwight Howard added season highs of 21 points and 15 rebounds in the Lakers’ ninth consecutive victory, a rout of Cleveland.

James added eight assists while passing Isiah Thomas for sole possession of eighth place on the NBA’s career list. The longtime Cavaliers superstar led a decisive run during the third quarter and poured it on in the fourth for Los Angeles, which still hasn’t lost since Christmas.

The Lakers won their third straight game without Anthony Davis, who is out with a bruised backside.

Kevin Love had 21 points and 11 rebounds for Cleveland in the third stop of a six-game road stretch. Two days after the Cavs posted a surprising win at powerhouse Denver, they couldn’t keep up with a franchise icon who hasn’t slowed down since he moved to the West Coast.

James, who passed Thomas with his 9,062nd assist, is the NBA’s leader with a career-best 10.7 assists per game while molding himself into a virtuoso playmaker alongside Davis.

While James took control with 12-for-16 shooting, Howard capped another outstanding game in his bounce-back season with his ninth career 3-pointer in the fourth quarter.

Pacers 101, 76ers 95

In Indianapolis, T.J. Warren scored 21 points and blocked a late 3-pointer that would have given Philadelphia the lead to help the Pacers hold on for a victory over the 76ers.

Indiana has now beaten Philadelphia twice in 14 days, this time after charging back from an 11-point deficit midway through the third quarter. Malcolm Brogdon also had 21 points and added seven rebounds and nine assists.

Ben Simmons had 24 points and 14 rebounds for the 76ers. Josh Richardson added 23 points, 17 in the fourth quarter as Philadelphia fell to 1-2 since losing Joel Embiid with an injured finger on his left hand.

Celtics 113, Bulls 101

In Boston, Jayson Tatum scored 21 points, Jaylen Brown had 19 and the Celtics coasted over Chicago.

Enes Kanter had 15 points and nine rebounds, Kemba Walker added 14 points and Marcus Smart had 12 points for Boston, which won its second straight after a season-high three-game losing streak.

Zach LaVine led the Bulls with 30 points, including a couple of highlight dunks. Thaddeus Young added 17 points for Chicago, which has lost seven of eight.

Magic 114, Kings 112

In Sacramento, Aaron Gordon made a three-point play with 1.1 seconds remaining, and Orlando beat the Kings.

Gordon finished with 19 points and nine rebounds in his return to the Magic’s lineup after missing one game with calf tightness. Nikola Vucevic had 26 points and 15 rebounds, while Evan Fournier scored 25 points.

De’Aaron Fox had 31 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds Sacramento. Nemanja Bjelica set career highs with 34 points and eight 3-pointers.

Pelicans 117, Pistons 110 ( OT)

In Detroit, Lonzo Ball scored five of his 17 points in overtime and New Orleans beat the hosts in a matchup of injury-depleted teams.

The Pistons are still missing starters Blake Griffin (knee), Luke Kennard (knee) and Reggie Jackson (back), while the Pelicans played without their top three scorers — Brandon Ingram (knee), Jrue Holiday (elbow) and JJ Redick (hamstring) — along with Derrick Favors (hamstring) and Zion Williamson (knee).

Detroit, which trailed by 16 with 11 minutes to play, tied it at 100-100 on Derrick Rose’s bank shot with 30 seconds left. E’Twaun Moore missed two short jumpers, giving the Pistons the ball with 14 seconds remaining, but Rose missed at the buzzer.

New Orleans opened overtime with a 9-2 run, including five points from Ball, and Rose had two turnovers in the last 90 seconds.

The Pelicans have won three of four and are 9-4 after a 6-22 start. Jalil Okafor had 25 points and 14 rebounds, while Nicolo Melli scored 20 points and Moore had 16.

Trail Blazers 115, Hornets 112

In Portland, Damian Lillard finished with 30 points, including a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from nearly halfcourt to end the third quarter, and the hosts handed Charlotte its fifth straight loss.