PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 37 points and Josh Giddey had 20 to lead the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 133-114 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday night.
The Thunder won for the fourth time in six games, but this was perhaps their signature win of the season. The Thunder were a solid 13-9 at home, but won just their sixth road game of the season.
They got a little bit of something from everyone. Jaylin Williams and Tre Mann each scored 14 points.
Oklahoma City also avenged a 19-point loss to the 76ers on Dec. 31.
Joel Embiid had 30 points and 10 rebounds. James Harden had 24 points and 15 assists.
Embiid got to work late in the fourth to give the Sixers a shot. The reigning NBA scoring champ dunked. He bullied his way toward a bucket. He sank a couple of free throws. OKC’s lead shrunk and the Philly fans got loud.
The Thunder stood their ground. They made 31 of 33 free throws and sealed the win from the line down the stretch.
The plucky Thunder scored on eight straight possessions in the third -- getting a 3 from Mike Muscala -- to take an 85-78 lead. They even bounced back when blocked, as in, a monster Embiid rejection that got fans to their feet. No worries. The Thunder retained possession and Mann buried a 3. Muscala’s second 3 of the quarter made it 97-80.
Just two days after the 76ers thumped Detroit by 31, they let the Thunder shoot 54% in the third. The Thunder, who had the youngest roster in the league on opening night, led 101-85.
The Thunder opened the statistical midway point of the season just 1½ games out the Western Conference play-in tournament and only three games out of the sixth seed. Reaching the No. 6 seed would ensure they miss the play-in tournament.
The Thunder showed why -- even under .500 -- they’re at least sniffing a playoff run. They hit 8 3s the first half and Gilgeous-Alexander scored 17 points as they built a 15-point lead. Embiid played only 10 minutes because of foul trouble.
Thunder: Gilgeous-Alexander entered fourth in the NBA in scoring.
76ers: Tobias Harris went to the locker room with an apparent knee injury. He was hurt in the first half, but later returned to the game.