NBA regular season

Top 2022 rookies Banchero, Holmgren finally clash as Thunder top Magic


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Top 2022 rookies Banchero, Holmgren finally clash as Thunder top Magic

THE FUTURE. Oklahoma City Thunder forward Chet Holmgren (7) brings the ball up court in the third quarter against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

The top two rookies of the 2022 NBA draft battle for the first time as No. 2 pick Chet Holmgren's OKC Thunder down No. 1 pick Paolo Banchero and the Orlando Magic

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 37 points to lead the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 112-100 win over the Orlando Magic on Saturday (Sunday, January 14, Manila time) in Oklahoma City.

The game was the first regular-season matchup between the Magic’s Paolo Banchero and the Thunder’s Chet Holmgren, the top two picks in the 2022 NBA Draft.

Banchero finished with 20 points, nine rebounds and eight assists. Holmgren, the No. 2 pick in the 2022 draft who missed last season due to a foot injury, had 15 points, eight rebounds, three assists and two blocks.

Orlando cut what was a 16-point deficit to six with just more than two minutes remaining on Cole Anthony’s pull-up jumper. Jalen Williams answered with a jumper on the next possession, sparking a 7-0 run for Oklahoma City, which has won four consecutive games and nine of its last 11.

Oklahoma City’s 10-game streak of shooting at least 50 percent from the floor ended as the Thunder shot 45.7 percent in the win.

Gilgeous-Alexander was 13-for-20 from the floor and finished 11 of 12 from the free-throw line.

The Thunder closed the third quarter on a 10-2 run to take a 13-point lead into the fourth quarter.

Oklahoma City shot 3 of 22 on 3-pointers in the first half, but Orlando wasn’t much better, hitting 3 of 20.

The Magic hit just 20 of their shots from beyond the arc in the loss, their second-worst shooting night of the season from distance.

The Thunder finished with 23 assists, breaking a stretch of three consecutive games with 30 or more assists.

Anthony and Caleb Houstan added 14 points each for Orlando, which lost its third consecutive game. –

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