OKC Thunder: Player grades highlight smothering defense in victory vs. Nets

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The OKC Thunder displayed suffocating defense in a blowout win against the Brooklyn Nets. Player grades provide insight to the road victory.

The OKC Thunder played another outstanding game Sunday night as the Brooklyn Nets did not have a viable answer for the scrappy OKC squad. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander looked like a man possessed, scoring 31 points while adding six rebounds and seven assists to his total.

The Thunder looked somewhat unsettled in the beginning as they allowed the Nets to score 41 points in the first quarter. Fortunately, that was the only quarter Brooklyn found any rhythm as the Thunder utilized active hands on the defensive end to limit the Nets throughout the matchup.

Kevin Durant came out on fire, but that did not seem to deter Darius Bazely from sticking with him on every defensive possession. That energy proved contagious as the Thunder packed the paint while contesting everything. It was unequivocally the best all-around game OKC has displayed during this short season.

Oklahoma City Thunder
Brooklyn Nets

OKC Thunder took control of the game in the third quarter

The third quarter proved to be the difference in the match as the OKC Thunder outscored the Nets  37-18 in the frame. The Achilles heel of last season’s iteration of the Thunder was a lack of third-quarter efficiency or energy. Mark Daigneault has changed this mindset in a hurry.

The OKC Thunder are the third-youngest team in the league, and the fact the Nets could not find an answer for them is captivating.  The bench scoring was yet again outstanding, as the OKC second unit amassed 44 points in Sunday’s victory against the Nets.

OKC scored 21 points out on the break and had 66 points in the paint, demolishing Brooklyn in every category.

With that, let us take a look at player grades from the blowout victory.

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