Thunder roll behind Holmgren's hot start, SGA's playoff career high

SGA cashes in on a 3 from the wing (0:17)

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander pulls up from the wing and drains the 3-pointer for the Thunder. (0:17)

OKLAHOMA CITY -- After a narrow win in Game 1, Oklahoma City Thunder coach Mark Daigneault warned his team about the New Orleans Pelicans coming out with more aggression in Game 2 on Wednesday night. And the Pelicans did hit first, with their first 11 points coming from bruising center Jonas Valanciunas.

But after that first punch, the Thunder became the aggressors as Oklahoma City cruised to a 124-92 victory to take a 2-0 lead in the first-round series.

The win was the fourth-largest playoff victory in Thunder/Seattle SuperSonics history and second largest since the team moved to Oklahoma City.

The early counter to Valanciunas getting going down low was getting rookie Chet Holmgren going on the perimeter. Holmgren had 15 of his 26 points in the first quarter as the Thunder took a double-digit lead and never looked back.

"He was great to start," Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander said. "He was aggressive, he was assertive, made quick decisions and obviously was a big reason why we got out to that lead. He just played to his strengths and didn't try to stray from them. We all know when he does that, he's really good."

Gilgeous-Alexander set a playoff career high with 33 points as he, Holmgren and Jalen Williams combined for 80. All 124 points for Oklahoma City were scored by players 25 or younger, making the Thunder the first team in NBA history to have every point in a playoff game come from players who are that young, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

As it did in Game 1, the Thunder's defense made things tough for New Orleans throughout the contest. Luguentz Dort's defense on Brandon Ingram was again key, holding him to 18 points on 5-of-10 shooting, although he was 8-of-8 from the line.

Dort's defense drew high praise from Gilgeous-Alexander postgame.

"I'm glad I don't have to play against him," Gilgeous-Alexander said. "It's where he hangs his hat every night, and he doesn't get complacent. It's rare nights that we switch. He fights through everything and keeps his matchup all night, every second he's on the floor. He guards the best player on another team every night. It's amazing to watch and it's special. It's really a talent.

"Some guys can score, and Lu can play defense. How he hasn't made an All-NBA team defensively or anything like that? I don't know. I don't vote, but he is some of the best defense I've ever seen in my life."

Oklahoma City shot 59% overall and was 14-of-29 from 3-point range. Williams said the Thunder were letting the game come to them.

"Especially in the playoffs, everybody's kind of focused on every detail," Williams said. "Guys know your plays, so you kind of just got to take what's there and not really force anything. I think for myself and the rest of the team, I thought we just did a good job of letting each other make a play and just kind of reading off of that."

New Orleans, which suffered the second-largest playoff defeat in its history, didn't do itself any favors, as it finished with 18 turnovers that led to 22 points for the Thunder. Eight of those turnovers were offensive fouls.

The Pelicans became just the second team in the past 10 seasons to have eight offensive fouls in a postseason game, matching a feat by the 2015 Pelicans in Game 3 of the first round against the Golden State Warriors.

The No. 1 seed is 54-1 all time against the No. 8 seed after taking a 2-0 series lead in the first round. The lone win was by the 1994 Denver Nuggets, who came back in a best-of-five series against the SuperSonics.

For New Orleans to have a chance, it will have to start on the offensive end after two poor performances in Oklahoma City.

"I think it's time for us to be together a little bit more," Ingram said. "You look at OKC, you can see how together they are. We can't splinter down 0-2. We gotta go back and look at film and we gotta talk as players about what's our best defense, what's our best offense and we have to go out there and do it."