SGA, Thunder draw first blood against Mavericks in West semis opener

Published May 8, 2024, 1:01 PMPao Ambat

The Oklahoma City Thunder raced to their best playoff start since 2012.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander's near triple-double made the difference in the Thunder series-opening win over the Mavericks.

Young, wild, free. 

These Oklahoma City Thunder are just having fun winning on the biggest stage. 

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 29 points, while Jalen Williams added 18, as the West top-seed Thunder rolled past the fifth-seed Dallas Mavericks, 117-95, for a 1-0 lead in their Western Conference semifinals series.


The Thunder are undefeated in six playoff games so far with Game 2 set to play on Friday (Philippine time).

Shail Gilgeous-Alexander waxed hot in third, scoring 10 points in that quarter, including this acrobatic, coast-to-coast bucket over two defenders to give OKC an 88-73 lead with 1:33 left.

The 2024 MVP finalist finished with nine rebounds and a playoff-high nine dimes, while shooting 11-of-13 from the free throw line.

Earlier, Dallas rode a 9-0 blitz, capped off by a Kyrie Irving triple and cut a double-digit 66-56 deficit down to just a single-point game at 66-65.

However, Williams scored eight points early in the fourth and the Thunder drilled five triples alone. They outscored the Mavericks, 22-10, in the final frame to remain undefeated at home this postseason.

Chet Holmgren added 19 points, six rebounds, and four blocks, while Aaron Wiggins chipped in 16 points in 18 minutes for OKC.

Playing in their first Western Conference semifinals game since 2016, Oklahoma City pulled away late, connecting on 16 triples, and led by as many as 24, and forced Dallas to commit 16 turnovers.

On the other hand, Irving led the way for the Mavericks with 20 points, including 14 in the second half, with Luka Doncic contributing with 19 markers, six rebounds and nine dimes but struggled with a 6-of-19 shooting.

Doncic averaged 29.8 points, 9.5 assists, and 8.8 rebounds in the Mavericks' 4-2 first-round series win over the Clippers, but shot just 40.5 percent from the floor and 23.9 percent from beyond the arc.

And against one of probably the best perimeter defenders in the league in Lu Dort, the 25-year-old superstar struggled to get his offense going in addition to dealing with a right knee sprain that has hindered him since just before the playoffs. 

Daniel Gafford added a double-double of 16 and 11 on top of five blocks and Jalen Green collecting 11 off the bench.

Much like their opening-round series, the Mavericks lost Game 1 on the road by double digits and are in search of answers against the Thunder squad who are rolling.