Swat-happy Thunder pull away from Clippers

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had 31 points and eight assists to lead the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 129-107 win over the visiting Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday.

Oklahoma City ripped off a 20-5 run in the third quarter to take what was just a two-point game up as high as 17 before heading into the fourth up 14.

The Thunder blocked seven shots during the period and 11 overall, including a crucial one that ignited the big run after Gilgeous-Alexander’s step-back 3-pointer got it started.

At the other end, Jalen Williams blocked Ivica Zubac’s shot at the rim, grabbed the ball and found a streaking Isaiah Joe for a dunk at the other end. Williams had all three of his blocks in the third.

The Clippers were just 1-for-14 from the floor during the stretch and shot just 30.8 percent in the quarter.

That was a big departure from their hot-shooting start, as the Clippers were 15-of-24 from the floor with Kawhi Leonard and Zubac combining to go 7-for-7 in the first.

While Gilgeous-Alexander led the way for Oklahoma City, all five Thunder starters finished with at least 12 points. Luguentz Dort scored 19, Williams 18, Chet Holmgren 17 and Josh Giddey 12.

Holmgren added 10 rebounds, three blocks and three assists while Cason Wallace had four steals off the bench.

Leonard, who missed the last game before the All-Star break, returned to lead the Clippers with 20 points. Norman Powell added 19 off the bench, James Harden scored 17, Paul George had 14 and Zubac had 13 points and 12 rebounds.

Oklahoma City scored 20 points off turnovers and outscored the Clippers 30-10 on the fastbreak.

Gordon Hayward, acquired by the Thunder at the trade deadline, made his Oklahoma City debut to start the second quarter and finished scoreless with four rebounds in more than 13 minutes. Hayward hadn’t played since Dec. 26.

The Thunder’s other recent acquisition, Bismack Biyombo, did not play.

The Thunder have won three consecutive games and beat the Clippers twice in three meetings to win the season series. Oklahoma City has won six consecutive home games over the Clippers.

The Clippers have dropped three of their last five.

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