OKC Thunder vs. Magic, Nov. 5 replay: 3 keys in the match

JANUARY 22: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 of the OKC Thunder facing off with Nikola Vucevic #9 and Evan Fournier #10 of the Orlando Magic (Photo by Harry Aaron/Getty Images)
JANUARY 22: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 of the OKC Thunder facing off with Nikola Vucevic #9 and Evan Fournier #10 of the Orlando Magic (Photo by Harry Aaron/Getty Images) /
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Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 and Chris Paul #3 of the Oklahoma City Thunder talk during the game against the Orlando Magic (Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Clutch Time Killers debut:

Prior to this match, the Thunder had two victories with neither requiring the clutch crew. This match was the first time the team needed to battle in the clutch and offered our first glimpse of what was to come.

Although OKC held leads at the half and a slim two-point edge going into the final frame the scrappy Magic tied the game 33 seconds into the fourth. As the clubs entered the final five minutes of clutch time OKC was hanging onto a three-point edge.

The international lineup of Chris Paul, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Dennis Schroder, Danilo Gallinari, and Steven Adams was on the floor for the pivotal clutch minutes. T.I. dubbed them the Clutch Time Killers and with the first of 29 wins in the clutch the moniker is apropos.

OKC Thunder players reveal their identities:

More from Thunderous Intentions

That CP3 became the master of the clutch might’ve surprised fans but this game was the perfect example of his role within the team.  Typical for the Point God, he managed the game early and took over late scoring eight of his 20 points in the final frame.

Although preseason and six prior games offered hints, this seventh match revealed the fact Gilgeous-Alexander was the cornerstone piece the franchise could build around. Time will determine if SGA was the best player exchanged in the PG13 trade but given his performance this season, Thunder fans couldn’t be happier with how things worked out. In this outing, he scored a team-high 24 points.

As for big men Gallinari and Adams played true to their identities this season. Gallo scored 16 points including three triples. Adams collected a double-double (11 points – 11 rebounds) as he returned from missing the two previous games. More importantly, he held Nikola Vucevic to 10 points on 4 of 15 from the field.

For more insight into the game check out Sinjin Snopes grades from the victory.

Next. Top 15 NBA Draft picks in Thunder franchise history. dark