West Association | The Thunder crush the Mavericks 135-86 and finish first

(Oklahoma City) Canadian Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 15 points in a half of play and the Oklahoma City Thunder crushed the Dallas Mavericks 135-86 to secure first place in the Western Association on Sunday.

The Thunder finished their season with a 57-25 record, the same as the Denver Nuggets, but they hold the tiebreaker. This is the first time since the 2012-13 season that the Oklahoma City squad has won the top of the West and their first participation in the playoffs since 2019-20.

Players said they have improved their lot by focusing on daily improvement, and will continue to do so.

“We all know what brought us to this point,” Gilgeous-Alexander said. So we’re going to continue to keep our heads down and trust in the work. We came this far for a reason. We must not deviate from it. »

Thunder head coach Mark Daigneault did not hide his pride in his players, who represented the third youngest team in the NBA at the start of the season.

However, he believes that the successes of the season will no longer have any meaning during the playoffs.

“We’re going to be 0-0 when we wake up tomorrow,” he said. So what we have accomplished so far has no impact. But I think we have established good habits. We did it together. »

Aaron Wiggins scored 14 points, Chet Holmgren had 13 points and nine rebounds while Quebecer Luguentz Dort obtained five points in just 12 minutes of play for the Thunder.

The team began the day tied for first place in the West with the Nuggets and the Minnesota Timberwolves. It was the first time in NBA history that three teams fought for the top of an association on the final day of activities.

The Thunder will have to wait until the conclusion of the qualifying tournament to know the identity of their opponent in the first elimination round.

Luka Doncic, the NBA’s leading scorer, and star point guard Kyrie Irving were among the Mavericks’ four rested starters. Doncic is dealing with a sore left ankle while Irving heals his sore left hamstring.

The Mavericks were already assured of finishing in fifth position and facing the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round of the playoffs.

Brandon Williams scored 22 points in the loss while Quebecer Olivier-Maxence Prosper added 15 points.

The Thunder built an 11-0 lead and led 39-22 after the first quarter. The lead swelled to 82-41 at halftime.

Gilgeous-Alexander, Jalen Williams and Holmgren did not play in the second half, when the outcome of the game seemed already confirmed.

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