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Shai-Gilgeous Alexander makes history with triple-double as Thunder beat T-Wolves

Associated Press

Tuesday 14 January 2020 08:42, UK

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander launches a jumper en route to his first career triple-double 2:04
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander record a monster triple-double in the Oklahoma City Thunder's win over the Minnesota Timberwolves

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander responded to a challenge from his coach Billy Donovan to post a historic triple-double in the Oklahoma City Thunder road win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

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Gilgeous-Alexander's goal was to play a better all-round game. He did that and then some, racking up 20 points, a career-high 20 rebounds and 10 assists in his triple-double, leading the Thunder to a 117-104 victory over the Timberwolves.

"Coach had challenged me before the game to fill up the stat sheet more and do more things," Gilgeous-Alexander said.

Gilgeous-Alexander came into the game averaging 23.7 points in his previous 13 games but did much more than score in this one, also matching his career-best in assists. He became the youngest player in league history to record at least 20 points, 20 rebounds and 10 assists in a game.

"He is tough, very tough," Minnesota's Andrew Wiggins said. "He is a big guard that can put it on the floor and create for others. He can make a bucket when he needs to."

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Gilgeous-Alexander is the fourth second-year player in NBA history to register a 20-20 triple-double. He joins Shaquille O'Neal, Charles Barkley and Oscar Robertson. The only other guard to have a 20-20 triple-double in the last 30 seasons is former Thunder star Russell Westbrook.

That after Gilgeous-Alexander did not record an assist in 35 minutes against the Lakers on Saturday.

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"I just felt like we were on our heels a little bit in the previous game against the Lakers," Gilgeous-Alexander said. "That was one of the things that Coach mentioned to us, attacking first. I felt we did that as a group. When you attack as a group, you get more comfortable faster."

Danilo Gallinari drives to the basket against the Timberwolves 1:14
Danilo Gallinari poured in 30 points to help the Oklahoma City Thunder defeat the Minnesota Timberwolves 117-104 on Monday night

Danilo Gallinari scored 30 points for the Thunder, who have won 12 of their past 15 games and six of seven on the road. The Italian forward was 11-for-12 from the free throw line and made eight of his 12 shots.

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Naz Reid scored 20 off the bench for Minnesota, who were without Karl-Anthony Towns. Reid has scored in double figures in six of the last eight games. Robert Covington scored 18 points.

The Thunder held a 63-60 lead at half-time. They went on an 11-2 run early in the third quarter and then a 10-3 burst midway through the third to push their lead into double figures. Oklahoma City led by as many as 18.

Chris Paul #3 of the Oklahoma City Thunder handles the ball against the Minnesota Timberwolves on January 13, 2020 at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. 1:42
Highlights of the Oklahoma City Thunder’s trip to the Minnesota Timberwolves in Week 13 of the NBA

"I thought the third quarter for us was important," Donovan said. "We had some action, had some really good ball movement, had some great clips offensively. I thought that was critical."

Shabazz Napier scored 16 points for the Timberwolves. Rookie Jarrett Culver scored 14 points.

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"We obviously need more from everybody when we have guys that are out who are big parts of this team," Minnesota coach Ryan Saunders said. "I was happy with some of the guys."

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