NBA: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Thunder storm past Cavaliers in fourth

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 of the Oklahoma City Thunder dribbles the ball against the Chicago Bulls during the second half at United Center on January 13, 2023 in Chicago, Illinois.

FILE–Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Michael Reaves/Getty Images/AFP

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 35 points to help the Oklahoma City Thunder host a 112-100 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday.

The Thunder have won six of their last eight games. The Cavaliers have lost 4 of the last 6 matches.

Darius Garland had 31 points and 13 assists to lead the Cavs, while Evan Mobley added 23 points and 11 rebounds.

Cleveland played without Donovan Mitchell for the second straight game and for the fifth time in six games because of a groin strain. Mitchell aggravated the injury in Tuesday’s loss to the Knicks.

While Cleveland soon dominated the inside, the game began to change in the second half, becoming even more dramatic in the fourth as the Cavaliers made just one of their first eight shots. Cleveland missed three serves in Oklahoma City’s 12-0 game, which gave them good control.

The period was aided by bold scores from Isaiah Joe, who ended the game with a 3-pointer and three free throws at 7:15 to give the Thunder a 90-81 lead.

Gilgeous-Alexander has done a lot of damage after halftime this season but has scored 16 points in the first quarter and has 21 points after halftime.

Gilgeous-Alexander’s ability to reach the free-throw line soon benefited the Thunder, as eight of his first-quarter points came from free throws.

The Cavs soon struggled, despite missing all of their first 10 3-pointers. Cleveland didn’t make a shot from outside the arc until nearly seven minutes into the second half.

However, the Cavs had a lot of success in the arc, passing 11/16 inside the row in the first stage.

Cleveland hit six of nine shots – all from inside the arc – in the second half 13-2, making it six.

The Cavs extended the lead to 10 before Gilgeous-Alexander hit a treble at the whistle that cut the deficit to 54-47 after halftime.

Gilgeous-Alexander had eight assists during the night, including three in the fourth inning. Jalen Williams added 17 points.

Cleveland was also without Kevin Love (back spasm) for the second straight game. Oklahoma City’s Luguentz Dort missed the game because of a right hamstring strain.

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