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Gilgeous-Alexander has 36 as Thunder win 5th straight with 123-110 victory over Rockets

HOUSTON (AP) — Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 36 points and Chet Holmgren added 29 to lead the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 123-110 victory over the Houston Rockets on Sunday night.

The Thunder won their fifth straight to move into a tie with Minnesota for first place in the Western Conference.

Oklahoma City was up by eight points with less than seven minutes left before scoring the next nine points, capped by 3-pointers from Jalen Williams and Gilgeous-Alexander to push the advantage to 115-98 with 3 1/2 minutes to go.

Fred VanVleet and Jabari Smith Jr. had 20 points apiece for the Rockets in the first of consecutive games between these teams. Alperen Sengun added 19 points and 12 rebounds, while Smith led the team with 17 boards.

The teams meet against Tuesday night in Oklahoma City.

The Thunder held a four-point lead to start the fourth and used a 12-2 run to push their advantage to 99-85 with 9 1/2 minutes to go. Holmgren had the first nine points in that span and had two dunks and a 3-pointer.

Houston got within 104-95 a couple of minutes later. Dillon Brooks and VanVleet both made 3s for Houston to trim the deficit, but the Rockets were unable to get any closer.

The Rockets led by as many as 16 in the second quarter and were up by nine with about eight minutes to go in the third before Oklahoma City used a 16-2 run to take an 80-75 lead with less than three minutes left in the quarter.

Williams started the run with a 3-pointer and Isaiah Joe added a 3 in that stretch to allow the Thunder to go on top.

The Rockets scored the next six points to regain the lead, but Oklahoma City ended the quarter with a 7-2 run to take an 87-83 lead in the fourth.

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AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/nba

Kristie Rieken, The Associated Press