OKC Thunder: Gallinari dagger 3-pointer buries Pistons – grades

Danilo Gallinari of the OKC Thunder celebrates Gallinari's fourth quarter three point basket. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Danilo Gallinari of the OKC Thunder celebrates Gallinari's fourth quarter three point basket. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
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OKC Thunder
Brandon Knight #20 of the Detroit Pistons dives for the ball past Dennis Schroder #17 of the OKC Thunder . (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

Despite the OKC Thunder playing in a back-to-back, the club fought through fatigue in Detroit to beat the Pistons. Grades serve up the details

It’s been a tough go for the OKC Thunder in recent outings having to face two elite clubs who could easily find themselves vying for Larry O’B this coming June. The stretch schedule for the Thunder is jam-packed with these types of games so getting to play a lower-seeded club are scenarios the team has to take advantage of. And they did!

Thinking back to last season – remember how many times the Thunder lost these to these lower seeded teams? That speaks to how this iteration of the club performs. With Chris Paul taking the reigns to captain the club there are not instances where OKC plays down to their opponent nearly as much as last season.

64. Final. 114. 149. 107

It still wasn’t an easy victory and the fatigue showed. Playing in back-to-back games is never easy especially when travel is involved. Punctuating how important this particular game was Billy Donovan elected to play Danilo Gallinari who has rested in back-to-back games lately. As it turned out that decision was extremely wise given Gallo’s 3-pointer late in the match buried the Pistons hopes of stealing the game from the Thunder.

Since I’m in Canada I was hearing the Pistons commentators who were screaming for an offensive foul on Chris Paul — but when players are flopping so much this season you can’t blame the refs for not calling that. Yeah – I know that’s an oddity – me defending the refs. The truth is the player flopped and Paul does have reputation on his side.

As for the match, the Thunder avoided their bad habit of starting slow or coming out of the break without energy. They won the first quarter by a score of 38-32. In the second they kept close to the Pistons losing the frame by a single point (31-32) to take a five-point lead into the break.

OKC followed this up with a strong third frame winning it 25-18. Although the Pistons made a run in the fourth quarter that was more to do with fatigue than effort. In the end, the Thunder got the “W” and are happy to leave Detroit back on a winning track.

With that lets dive into the player grades.