OKC Thunder deliver a stinker in loss to Lakers – player grades

JANUARY 11: Rajon Rondo #9 of the Los Angeles Lakers handles the ball against the OKC Thunder (Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images)
JANUARY 11: Rajon Rondo #9 of the Los Angeles Lakers handles the ball against the OKC Thunder (Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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OKC Thunder
JANUARY 11: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 of the OKC Thunder handles the ball against the Los Angeles Lakers (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images) /

. PG. Oklahoma City Thunder. CHRIS PAUL. B+

It wasn’t a typical effort from Chris Paul and although his shot was efficient (7 of 13) he was off from deep (1 of 5) and something just seemed off.

Perhaps he was tired and there was a moment in the fourth where he drove the basket that he seemed to hesitate and it made me wonder if he’s nursing an injury or was simply being cautious recognizing there are more important games to come and remaining healthy is far more valuable than forcing a shot, getting injured and being lost to the team for an extended period.

He’s also intelligent enough to recognize his club didn’t have it in them to come back and for that reason alone it was worth not forcing the issue.

He made his typical effort and since we know he’s not a fan of Rajon Rondo this one probably annoyed him but he lives to play another day and Mr. Clutch will be back refocusing his squad for the next one.

CP3 registered 16 points, five rebounds, eight assists, and a steal while also producing the only positive plus/minus of the starters (+5).

On any other night this is an “A” effort but in a loss like this NO ONE gets an “A”.  His defense was also off early but he did so many other things to try to effect winning and like Steven Adams who he subbed out with when the lead was only four points he can’t be held responsible for those next six minutes.

B. . G/F. Oklahoma City Thunder. SHAI GILGEOUS-ALEXANDER

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander tried his best to be a factor and delivered a quality offensive effort with 24 points on 8 of 17 from the field along with eight rebounds, a steal, and a block.

He tried his best to channel Chris Paul’s clutch time mastery and managed to pull his squad within 11 but it was too little, too late. Right after he cut the game to 11 the refs allowed Kyle Kuzma to drop Dennis Schroder like a bad habit and didn’t call the foul and that was about the time Billy Donovan raised the white flag.

His defense was hit and miss especially early and while the refs still aren’t giving him calls other stars do get, he’ll learn from this loss. Moving forward the best lesson will be recognizing the need to take over early in a game like he tried to do down the stretch and forcing his will on the refs so they have no choice but to make the call.