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Canada Basketball

Lu Dort explodes for season-high 34 in Thunder victory



Nov 18, 2021

Lu Dort exploded for a season-high 34 points in a 101-89 Oklahoma City Thunder victory over the Houston Rockets on Wednesday. It was his fifth-straight game scoring at least 20 points, setting a new career-high.

“I feel pretty good, “Dort said in his walk-off interview after the win. “Sometimes I know that I pass up some shots, but my teammates [they just tell me to play] and that’s what I’m doing.”

The Thunder never trailed in the game and opened the fourth leading by 16, but a late push got Houston within single digits with less than two minutes to play before Dort threw down a huge put-back slam off to give the Thunder a 10-point lead. Dort followed with a block on Houston’s next offensive possession, before teammate, and fellow Canadian, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander made a pair of free throws to further extend Oklahoma City’s lead and seal the victory.

“It felt great,”Dort said. “I just got to stay aggressive and go up on the rebound. I felt like I could get it and I got it.”

Opponents know what Dort can do on the defensive end of the floor, but the third-year Montreal native has spent the past five games reminding everyone that defence is just one part of his game.

Dort finished the game shooting 14-for-22 from the floor, while adding eight rebounds, two assists and a blocked shot. Gilgeous-Alexander added 15 points, seven rebounds, nine assists, four steals and a blocked shot in the Thunder victory. The Thunder were a +17 when Dort and Gilgeous-Alexander were on the floor.

“We try not to have any expectation [of Dort’s scoring],” Thunder head coach Mark Daigneault said. “But it doesn’t surprise me because of the quality of a pro he is and how hard he works, how consistent he is with his work, and his humility to grow through his experiences.”

This was the second time in Dort’s career that he has topped the 30-point mark.

“I feel like we’re just growing,” he said of the Thunder. “At the beginning of the season, it was a new team and a lot of young guys.We’ve just gotta keep growing as a team and we’ll get better.”

Dort is averaging17.2 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.8 assists, all career-highs, through 13 games this season. The 22-year-old forward made his national team debut playing for Canada in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Victoria, B.C. this past June, appearing in three games for Team Canada.