Everything is coming together for Oklahoma City Thunder star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, whose team has followed his fast start this season.
Gilgeous-Alexander and the Thunder look to maintain their momentum when they face the host Dallas Mavericks on Saturday.
After finishing fifth in the Most Valuable Player voting last season, Gilgeous-Alexander again is among the leading candidates. The sixth-year pro is averaging 30.6 points per game on 54.1 percent shooting through his first 17 games.
Gilgeous-Alexander led seven players in double figures in the Thunder's 133-110 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday. He finished with 33 points while shooting 11 of 18 from the field and 10 of 10 from the foul line.
Gilgeous-Alexander has scored 31 points or more in four straight games for Oklahoma City, which has won seven of its last nine. He also leads the league in steals at 2.3 per game.
"I really like my teammates, like genuinely," Gilgeous-Alexander said. "It's a special group of guys, and I enjoy being around them. And then I prioritize winning, and you can't win alone."
The Thunder are second in the league in field-goal percentage (49.5), free-throw percentage (85.4), and first in 3-point percentage (39.8).
Oklahoma City coach Mark Daigneault continues to be impressed with the development of forward Chet Holmgren, who is averaging 17.9 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 2.1 blocks.
"He's starting to stretch his limits a little bit and we're good with that because he's a really talented player," Daigneault said. "He's shown an understanding to this point of what an efficient, impactful, consistent style of play looks like."
The first of four meetings between Oklahoma City and Dallas this season figures to be a high-scoring affair. Both teams are averaging at least 119 points per game.
Dallas is playing on the second night of a back-to-back after losing 108-94 to the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday. The Mavericks were predictably held in check while playing without starters Luka Doncic and Tim Hardaway Jr.
Doncic sat out after the birth of his daughter earlier in the day, while Hardaway was sidelined due to back spasms. The Mavericks were held to 37 percent shooting in their loss Friday, including 12-of-39 (30.8 percent) from 3-point range.
"Fifty-five points out of the lineup can put you in harm's way," Dallas coach Jason Kidd said. "Next-man-up didn't quite work tonight. But we're going to learn from that. That was a young group out there.
"No excuse. We just felt like we couldn't grab the rebound, couldn't come up with loose balls, our energy was flat."
Mavericks star Kyrie Irving was limited to 10 points on 3-of-15 shooting while playing through a foot injury suffered in the first quarter.
Guard Seth Curry provided one of the few bright spots in the loss with 12 points off the bench.
"He was a pro," Kidd said of Curry. "He gave us a spark. There were some guys that struggled tonight, clearly, but he was one of the positives. Hopefully, he can go tomorrow and give us some minutes. He was good for us off the bench and we've got to find a way to get him some minutes."
--Field Level Media
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