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Former Sun Devil Luguentz Dort gives James Harden fits in 1st NBA start

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Dennis Schroeder (17) celebrates with Luguentz Dort, left, after Schroeder hit a basket to force overtime in the team's NBA basketball game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday, Dec. 6, 2019, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Former Arizona State men’s basketball star Luguentz Dort’s NBA career has taken another step forward.

Dort made his first NBA start on Monday when the Oklahoma City Thunder took on the Houston Rockets.

In 32 minutes of action, the former Sun Devil dropped eight points on 3-of-10 shooting (30%) to go along with two rebounds and two assists. Dort was 1-of-4 from 3-point land and drained his lone free throw.

The Thunder took home the 112-107 win over the Rockets, with Dort getting the better of fellow Sun Devil and Rocket James Harden. While the former MVP dropped 29 points in the loss, Harden shot a dismal 1-of-17 from long range, tying his own record for the most missed threes in a game in NBA history. He’s now hit that mark six times in his career and is tied with only Damon Stoudamire.

Dort had only appeared in eight games for the Thunder prior to Monday, averaging 3.8 points and 1.3 rebounds in 16.9 minutes per game. He shoots 34.5% from the field, though his percentages from inside and outside the arc are polar opposites: Dort’s shooting 66.7% in 1.5 shots inside the arc per game, an atrocious 11.8% on 2.1 shots from 3-point range.

His defense has been strong overall, though. After Monday’s game, Dort’s defensive rating of 97.7 is second-best on the Thunder, albeit in a limited sample size.

Dort had also spent some time in the G League, playing in 13 games and averaging 19.5 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.6 assists in about 32 minutes per game.

At ASU, Dort helped the Sun Devils make the NCAA Tournament in 2018-19. He averaged 16.1 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game.

He went undrafted out of ASU and signed a two-way contract with the Thunder.

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