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Gilgeous-Alexander Dominates with 31-Point Performance as Thunder Defeat Bulls 124-104 in Season Opener

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander leads the Thunder to victory with 31 points in their season opener against the Bulls.

The Oklahoma City Thunder started their season opener with a bang, defeating the Chicago Bulls 124-104. Led by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander's impressive 31-point performance, the Thunder showcased their promising young core and their determination to make it to the playoffs after falling short last season.

Gilgeous-Alexander, who finished fourth in scoring in the NBA last season, played a crucial role in a game-changing 12-0 run in the third quarter. This run helped the Thunder break open a close game and secure the victory. Alongside Gilgeous-Alexander, rookies Josh Giddey and Jalen Williams also made significant contributions, each scoring 16 points.

The game also marked the long-awaited NBA debut of Chet Holmgren, the second overall pick in the 2022 draft. Despite missing last season due to a foot injury, Holmgren managed to score 11 points in his first game.

The Thunder's bench played a vital role in the victory, with Isaiah Joe leading the way with 14 points. Oklahoma City's reserves outscored the Bulls' bench, contributing 42 points compared to Chicago's 34.

DeMar DeRozan led the scoring for the Bulls with 20 points, while Zach LaVine struggled in the first half but managed to score all 16 of his points in the second half. Coby White and Nikola Vucevic also made solid contributions with 15 and 11 points, respectively.

Gilgeous-Alexander continued to dominate in the third quarter, scoring seven points in the 12-0 run that extended the Thunder's lead to 91-78. Cason Wallace also played a crucial role during this run, hitting a pull-up jumper and a 3-pointer.

Although the Bulls managed to close the gap to 91-84 early in the fourth quarter, the Thunder responded with an 11-point run to put the game out of reach. Joe made consecutive 3-pointers, and Wallace added a layup to extend the lead to 102-84 with about 10 minutes remaining.

The Thunder had a strong first half, with Gilgeous-Alexander scoring 17 points and Williams adding 14. They held a 61-55 lead at halftime.

In the second quarter, the Bulls had a missed opportunity when Torrey Craig hit the side of the backboard on a wide-open corner 3-point attempt. The Thunder took advantage of this and went on a scoring spree, with Giddey making a layup and a 3-pointer, followed by a free throw from White. Holmgren then nailed a 3-pointer to give the Thunder an eight-point lead just before halftime.

Looking ahead, the Thunder will face the Cleveland Cavaliers in their next game on Friday.

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