Grading Thunder Players After Saturday’s Loss to Houston

Jeremiah Robinson-Earl #50 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Ian Maule/Getty Images)
Jeremiah Robinson-Earl #50 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Ian Maule/Getty Images) /
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Josh Giddey
Josh Giddey #3 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Ian Maule/Getty Images) /

Thunder Starting Lineup Grades

C-. . SG. Oklahoma City Thunder. LU DORT

After scoring double-digit points in eight of his last nine games, Lu Dort could only manage three points in 13 minutes on Saturday night. He made one of his four shots, all of which were beyond the arc. He also tallied three rebounds (one offensive), two assists, and one steal. Dort didn’t re-enter the game after being subbed out for Aaron Wiggins at the 9:41 mark of the third quarter. While this performance was puzzling, Dort has averaged 16 points and 6 rebounds over his last nine games with one steal per game, so we won’t make too much of this dud.

B-. . PG. Oklahoma City Thunder. JOSH GIDDEY

Josh Giddey didn’t have a bad night, but it wasn’t anything to rave about. Giddey scored 18 points in 28 minutes with five rebounds, two assists, and one steal. His four turnovers were a problem, and he finished with the lowest plus/minus (-26) of any Thunder player. At the same time, his scoring was much-needed on a night when the Thunder shot 39 percent from the field as a team.

JALEN WILLIAMS. C. . G/F. Oklahoma City Thunder

Through 15 career games, Jalen Williams is shooting 52 percent on nearly eight attempts per game. He has looked surprisingly composed for a rookie who has been asked to play nearly 24 minutes per game. Rough nights are inevitable for any first-year player, so nobody should be too worried about his 4-12 performance on Saturday. The three offensive rebounds were nice, and he still managed more assists (4) than turnovers (3).

ALEKSEJ POKUSEVSKI. D. . F. Oklahoma City Thunder

Perhaps Poku jinxed himself when he said he wasn’t worried about playing on the second night of a back-to-back. He played fewer minutes (9) on Saturday than any other game this season when he’s been active. He didn’t score and he didn’t record a block for the first time since October 25th against the Clippers. He was on the bench to begin the second half and only played three minutes after the break. Perhaps Coach Daigneault was hoping to get Poku some extra rest after the shoulder and ankle injuries he’s experienced over the past month, but this certainly isn’t the type of game Thunder fans have grown accustomed to seeing from Poku over the past several weeks.

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

SGA did his best to keep the Thunder in the game. He scored 30 points for the 14th time this season and only needed 21 shots to do so. Shai was fouled by Alperen Sengun with 8:37 left to go in the third quarter. He went to the line and made the first free throw, which was the 5,000th point he has scored in his career. Shortly afterward, he appeared to tweak his ankle while defending a Kevin Porter Jr three-point attempt. Thankfully the injury wasn’t serious and Shai was able to stay in the game.

Next up we’ll look at the Thunder’s top performer off the bench. We’ll also highlight a key contributor from the other side as we look at the Rockets’ best player from the game.