OKLAHOMA CITY — Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 31 points, and the Oklahoma City Thunder rolled past the Charlotte Hornets 126-106 on Friday night.
Gilgeous-Alexander scored at least 30 points for the ninth straight game. He made 11 of 15 field goals and had nine assists, five steals and three blocks in three quarters as the Thunder moved into a tie for first place in the Western Conference with Minnesota at 34-15.
Chet Holmgren added 16 points for the Thunder, who have won two straight and seven of nine. Oklahoma City’s offensive output came despite missing forward Jalen Williams, out with a sprained right ankle, and guard Isaiah Joe, sidelined with a bruised sternum. Williams is the team’s No. 2 scorer and Joe leads the Thunder in 3-point baskets.
Rookie Brandon Miller scored 28 points and Bryce McGowens added 15 for the Hornets, who lost their sixth straight. LaMelo Ball missed his fourth straight game for the Hornets with a right ankle overuse injury.
It took 2 1/2 minutes for Charlotte to score at the start of the game. Gilgeous-Alexander had 10 points, six assists, three steals, two blocks and two rebounds in the first quarter to help the Thunder take a 39-19 lead.
In the second quarter, Gilgeous-Alexander stole the ball, then delivered a perfect bounce pass behind his back to a trailing Cason Wallace, who finished the fast break with a two-handed jam to give Oklahoma City a 68-40 lead.
Gilgeous-Alexander scored and was fouled with three seconds left in the first half. His free throw gave the Thunder a 73-42 lead at the break. The Thunder shot 69.2% from the field in the first half.
Aaron Wiggins hit a 3-pointer in the final second of the third quarter to put Oklahoma City ahead 105-72.
Hornets: Host Indiana on Sunday night.
Thunder: Host Toronto on Sunday night.
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