Game Grades: OKC Thunder take care of business against Dallas

OKC Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) osh Giddey (3) celebrate after scoring against the Dallas Mavericks.: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports
OKC Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) osh Giddey (3) celebrate after scoring against the Dallas Mavericks.: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports /

The Oklahoma City Thunder continued their home-court success with a 120-109 victory over the Dallas Mavericks. With the victory, OKC moves to 18-22 on the season and takes the season series against the Mavs 2-1.

This one started out all Dallas early in the first quarter. The Mavericks got hot from downtown in the opening minutes and immediately grabbed a lead that rose to as much as 11 in the quarter. Unfortunately for them, that was their highlight of the evening. OKC weathered the storm to come out of the quarter trailing by one.

The second quarter is where the Thunder broke the game open. Following a barrage of Dallas threes to put the Mavs up 48-46, the Thunder ended the period on a 23-7 run and never looked back. OKC maintained its advantage throughout the third quarter and set itself up to get a second straight victory before heading back on the road.

Despite a late run by the Mavs, the Thunder secured another victory as they continue to fight for positioning in a tight western conference. Dallas put up a good fight but ultimately did not have the firepower to win without Luka Doncic.

Grading the Thunder starters:

SHAI GILGEOUS-ALEXANDER. A-. . Guard. Oklahoma City Thunder

OKC’s future all-star did it again. Another 30-point game for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led the Thunder to victory. After scoring just 10 in the first half, the star guard turned it on in the third quarter. SGA went for 17 points in the third while shooting 7-10 and added a couple of blocks and rebounds in his exciting 12-minute outburst. Shai’s two third-quarter blocks illustrated his underrated shot-blocking ability once again, as he leads the league in that category for non-bigs. SGA finished the night with 33 points, five rebounds and five assists to give the Thunder an excellent send-off for the upcoming road trip.

. Guard. Oklahoma City Thunder. JOSH GIDDEY. C-

Josh Giddey has undoubtedly had better games. In this game against Dallas, his fourth-quarter performance turned his night around a bit. Coming into the final quarter, Giddey had just two points. This was the case at halftime as well, but Giddey began the second half with a shortlived three-minute, three-foul third quarter. But thankfully for the Thunder, he started hitting some big shots to finish the game. The young guard showed off his improved three-point shot by nailing a couple of them midway through the fourth to help bolster the Thunder lead. Giddey finished the game with 10 points, five rebounds and five assists.

C. . Forward. Oklahoma City Thunder. LUGUENTZ DORT

Looking at this matchup from afar, it seemed perfect for Lu Dort’s strength. However, with the absence of Luka Doncic, Dort’s ability to lock down opposing stars couldn’t be displayed. Dort’s night against the Mavs was headlined by his season-high 20 field goal attempts. This led the Thunder on the night but only resulted in 18 points, and seven made shots. He also finished with five boards to go along with an assist and one steal. Ultimately, it was a quiet but high-volume performance from Dort.

Oklahoma City Thunder. JALEN WILLIAMS. B. . Forward

The rookie star for OKC put up his 24th double-digit scoring game of the season on Sunday against Dallas, and he did it all in the first half. Williams’s bread and butter is attacking the basket, and he did his thing in this game with some floaters and powerful moves around the rim. And, of course, he threw down a nice dunk off a baseline cut. Williams was able to showcase that he can play some defense, just like Shai. He helped OKC protect the rim with three blocks on the night, including spiking a Jaden Hardy layup out of bounds in the fourth quarter.

B+. . Forward. Oklahoma City Thunder. KENRICH WILLIAMS

Solid as a rock. The Thunder know what they have in Kenrich Williams, and he always delivers on the floor. In this one, Williams technically started at center with the plethora of injuries in the frontcourt for OKC. His scoring early in the game helped keep the Thunder afloat as he put up eight points in the first quarter while nailing a couple of threes. Williams delivered with some center-like numbers as the “center” for the Thunder for the night. Williams led the team in rebounds with nine, which ties his season-high. He finished the game with 14 points on 75% shooting and dished out a couple of assists too.

Best from the bench:

Oklahoma City Thunder. LINDY WATERS III. B+. . Guard

As of late, the Thunder’s fire off the bench has been Isaiah Joe, but against Dallas, it was Lindy Waters who showed up in a big way. Waters’s best ability is his three-point shooting, and he helped the Thunder in that category in this game. The sharpshooter nailed a couple of threes en route to an eight-point night. Waters also joined the other OKC guards in the block party, sending back a couple of shots in the second quarter.

Mavericks’ top performer:

A-. . Center. Dallas Mavericks. CHRISTIAN WOOD

When the Mavericks traded for Christian Wood in the offseason, he was seen as a great fit next to Luka as his sidekick. It turns out he’s not too bad on his own, either. Wood finished the game as the Mavs’ leading scorer with 27 points while shooting 61% from the field. Wood did most of his damage inside the arc, shooting 7-8 from two-point territory. It was also a season-high for the big man in rebounds as he gobbled up 17 in the contest.

Closing thoughts:

This felt like a game OKC should win, and the Thunder came out and took care of business on the home floor. The next big step for this team will be going on the road and doing the same. If they can get a rhythm going in this upcoming road trip, the Thunder may be real contenders to make the play-in tournament this season. Obviously, Oklahoma City still has no expectations to make a postseason appearance this season. Still, it will certainly be a welcome sight if the team is ahead of schedule.

Chet Holmgren participates in post-practice shooting competition. dark. Next