Grading Thunder Players After Saturday’s Loss in Cleveland

Aleksej Pokusevski #17 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
Aleksej Pokusevski #17 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /
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The Thunder dropped their second straight game on Saturday evening, losing a road contest against the Cleveland Cavaliers 110-102. This was always going to be a tough matchup for the Thunder, even with All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell missing the game with lower leg soreness. Oklahoma City likes to play with pace and score most of its points in the paint. Cleveland prefers a slower tempo and has a strong interior defensive presence spearheaded by All-Star Jarrett Allen and last year’s Rookie of the Year runner-up Evan Mobley.

Despite the loss, the Thunder played hard and was competitive throughout the night. They trailed by as many as 17 points during the third quarter, but they came back to tie the game at 89 with 7:05 left in the fourth quarter. Cleveland finished the game on a 16-9 run after the teams traded baskets for a few minutes, which ended up being the difference in the game.

The Thunder was able to match the Cavs for points in the paint (54), even with Allen and Mobley scoring 21 points each. Oklahoma City also made life difficult for Cleveland on defense with eight steals and six blocks. After shooting 17 percent on three-pointers in the first half, the Thunder went 8-17 (47 percent) from deep in the second half. Perhaps if the Thunder had won a few more battles for missed shots (the Cavs out-rebounded the Thunder 48-40), this game would have featured a different outcome.

149. 110. 156. Final. 102

In the next slide, we’ll break down the performance of each Thunder starter, offering an overall grade along with a few supporting thoughts.