Five most significant games of the OKC Thunder in the 2022-23 season

Jalen Williams #8 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Jalen Williams #8 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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OKC Thunder
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images) /

Isaiah Joe broke out as OKC Thunder scores massive win in OT vs Mavericks

This was a game that hit the OKC Thunder two birds in just one stone — first on the breakout of Isaiah Joe and most significantly, the Thunder securing a play-in tournament spot.

When Joe was subbed in with about five minutes left in regulation, it felt like a move that signaled a desperation substitution aimed to spark some offensive charge on the Thunder. Nine minutes of game time later, it was a revelation that may have changed the course, not just of the game, but the entire OKC season.

Was not even on the roster in the preseason, Joe torched the net with 15 points on 4-of-4 shooting from three as the Thunder rose from an eight-point hole in the final two minutes of regulation en route to a 117-111 victory on October 30.

Since that game, Joe has slowly gained the trust of head coach Mark Daigneault as he enjoyed high-level minutes on the floor and actions especially designated for him, leveraging his shooting and offensive gravity. He had answered the call and turned himself into a valuable asset with a bargain of a contract.

Meanwhile, the win proved to be as vital as Joe’s emergence was down the stretch of the season. The win gave the Thunder an all-important tiebreaker edge against the Dallas Mavericks in their quest for the final play-in spot. OKC finished the season with a head-to-head win over the Mavs, 2-1.

For a game that happened in late October, the importance of it proved to be crucial in the Thunder’s future as it paved the way for a player emergence and an extra postseason game under the young team’s belt. One could also argue that the come-from-behind win laid the groundwork for a season full of unrelenting performances from the youthful OKC Thunder crew.