Gilgeous-Alexander scores 31 points as Thunder beat Bulls 124-104 in season opener

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - OCTOBER 25: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 of the Oklahoma City Thunder drives to the basket against Ayo Dosunmu #12 of the Chicago Bulls during the first half at the United Center on October 25, 2023 in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USE

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 31 points and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Chicago Bulls 124-104 in the season opener Wednesday night.

With a promising young core, the Thunder have their sights set on the playoffs after getting knocked out in the play-in tournament last season.

They're off to a good start.

Fourth in the NBA in scoring last season, Gilgeous-Alexander keyed a 12-0 run late in the third quarter that broke open a one-point game. Josh Giddey and Rookie of the Year runner-up Jalen Williams each scored 16 for Oklahoma City.

Chet Holmgren had 11 points in his long-awaited NBA debut. The No. 2 overall pick in the 2022 draft missed last season because of a foot injury.

Isaiah Joe led a strong effort by the bench with 14 points, and Oklahoma City's reserves outscored Chicago's 42-34. 
DeMar DeRozan led the Bulls with 20 points. 

Zach LaVine scored all of his 16 points in the second half. He was 0 for 5 with four turnovers and three fouls through the first two quarters.

Coby White scored 15, and Nikola Vucevic added 11 points and nine rebounds.

Gilgeous-Alexander had seven points in a 12-0 run late in the third quarter. He finished it with a reverse layup to make it 91-78. Cason Wallace nailed a pull-up jumper and a 3-pointer during the spurt.

It was 91-84 early in the fourth before the Thunder reeled off 11 straight points. Joe made back-to-back 3s and - after Wallace connected from beyond the arc - scored on a layup to make it 102-84 with about 10 minutes remaining.

Gilgeous-Alexander scored 17 and Williams added 14 points as Oklahoma City grabbed a 61-55 halftime lead.

The Thunder led 50-49 late in the second quarter when the Bulls' Torrey Craig hit the side of the backboard on a wide-open corner 3. Giddey made a layup and a 3, and after a free throw by White, Holmgren nailed a 3 to make it an eight-point game with about a minute left in the half.

The Bulls' Andre Drummond had a poster-worthy dunk over Holmgren in the second quarter and made him go down to his knees moments later with a  wicked crossover on a fast-break layup. 


Thunder: Visit the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday.

Bulls: Host the Toronto Raptors on Friday.