OKC Thunder: No answer for Luka Doncic, Mavericks: grades

JANUARY 27: Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks handles ball against OKC Thunder (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images)
JANUARY 27: Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks handles ball against OKC Thunder (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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OKC Thunder
JANUARY 27: Dennis Schroder #17 of OKC Thunder smiles after a game Dallas Mavericks (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images) /

B+. . PG. Oklahoma City Thunder. DENNIS SCHRODER

Filling in for Chris Paul is no easy task. Sure Dennis Schroder can put points on the board (21) and dish dimes (6), sneak in to grab rebounds (7) and offer intangibles like steals (1) and blocks (1) but there’s more to running a team.

Schroder did a more than an adequate job but he shot 6 of 16 from the field (37.5 percent) which might not have equated to an issue if his backcourt partner and typically efficient forward were connecting. Unfortunately, this was a night where none of the trio shot well.

Again, it’s not as much of a negative on Schroder since he did his best to keep the ball moving and also carry scoring but perhaps the team’s rhythm was just off enough that it affected everyone’s timing.

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

Brutal (let me repeat — BRUTAL) shooting night for  Shai Gilgeous-Alexander who went 5 of 20 from the field. Inexplicably for as poorly as he shot he still collected a double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds while adding four assists and a steal.

More than anyone on the court, SGA missed Chris Paul whether it was the calming effect of CP3 or the timing as previously mentioned.

It’s a rarity to watch SGA force so many shots and his patented glide was also missing. In practical terms, he also looked fatigued and like he might be nursing an injury to his calf. The backcourt has carried the team the past week or so with all these injuries to their core. Each of Danilo Gallinari, Steven Adams, Nerlens Noel, Terrance Ferguson, and Abdel Nader have missed multiple games. But it turns out the one player the Thunder can’t do without is Chris Paul (shocker).

If this is SGA at his worst there isn’t a lot to complain about. But—  he needs some rest, the poor kid looks exhausted and exasperated.

Credit where credit is due as well – Delon Wright‘s length caused him no end of frustration and again he forced too many shots seemingly searching for the foul.

I’d consider a lower score – but SGA will one day run this team on his own, and the fact he never stopped competing and will learn from this experience is worth noting. Chalk this one up to missing CP3, tired legs, and not letting the game dictate the action. He’ll learn from this rough outing.