OKC Thunder get first win of the season, beat Clippers

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Ian Maule/Getty Images)
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Ian Maule/Getty Images) /

The Oklahoma City Thunder returned to action on Tuesday as they played host to the L.A. Clippers for the second game of their three-game home stand, a stint that features two tilts with the Clippers. The OKC Thunder did not have to face off with Kawhi Leonard (Knee management) or Paul George(non-COVID illness) while the Bricktown boys got Shai Gilgeous-Alexander back into the fold.

The Thunder still were without Josh Giddey and Jalen Williams, while they miss Chet Holmgren for the entire season. Mark Daigneault rolled out yet another new starting lineup this time featuring Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Tre Mann, Lu Dort, Aaron Wiggins, and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl.

The Oklahoma City Thunder get their first win of the 2022-23 NBA season by toppling the shorthanded L.A. Clippers as Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Tre Mann shine  as the OKC Thunder improve to 1-3

The OKC Thunder season got off to an 0-3 start, but the team had to face some tough mismatches, taking on the Timberwolves twice who play host to Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert, and the Nuggets for the only other game that of course have the two time NBA MVP Nikola Jokic to attack the Thunder’s shallowest position group.

Now against a team that lacks a dominant big, the Oklahoma City Thunder were able to get on track winning 108-94, winning the points in the paint battle 62-48, and outrebounding the Clippers 69-56.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander returned to the hardwood after a one-game absence due to a hip contusion, the fifth year guard dropped 33 points tonight along with five rebounds, and eight assists shooting 50 percent from the floor, going 2-for-2 from three-point land, and 9-for-9 at the charity stripe.

Despite how jaw-dropping Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was on the offensive end, the story of this game was his engagement defensively coming away with three steals and three blocks which garnered raving reviews from head coach Mark Daigneault and veteran big man Mike Muscala.

Tre Mann matched the max contract point guard’s injury by displaying improved defense of his own, drawing two charges, and collecting two steals on the defensive end to go along with his 25-point outburst with three assists and four rebounds on 41 percent shooting from the floor.

Mann did a great job of shouldering the offensive load for the Oklahoma City Thunder who are missing three of their best offensive players in this game, the Florida sophomore had to play 36 minutes and finished as a plus 14 in the box score.

The OKC Thunder used a 21-0 run to propel them to this win, a game in which they once led by 26, but Tre Mann did not even realize they had a 21-0 run as they were just so locked in on getting stops.

The Oklahoma City Thunder and L.A. Clippers will go at it again on Thursday night in the Paycom Center, after a day off on Wednesday.

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