Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was the best player on the floor vs Luka Doncic

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 of Canada (Photo by Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images)
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 of Canada (Photo by Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images) /

The OKC Thunder have been well represented at the 2023 FIBA World Cup tournament, with Team Australia already wrapping up their run and Latvia barely being ousted by Germany this morning. Only Team Canada remains in the dance as we enter the final weekend. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Lu Dort led the way for Team Canada on Wednesday morning.

This matchup for Team Canada saw them facing off with Luka Doncic’s Slovenia squad. While the Canadians own a better collection of talent, you can never rule out “Luka Magic.” This was a statement game in the quarterfinals for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to match up with a fellow All-NBA guard.

The OKC Thunder saw Shai Gilgeous-Alexander make a statement against Luka Doncic; last season was no fluke.

A year ago, the OKC Thunder saw Shai Gilgeous-Alexander transform into a first-time All-Star and cracked the first-team All-NBA while averaging 30 points, five assists, and nearly five rebounds (4.8) per game.

It was not just an offensive surge for Gilgeous-Alexander; while averaging 51 percent from the floor, 34 percent from distance, and 90 percent at the charity stripe, the Canadian made a massive leap on the defensive end, swiping 1.6 steals per contest and swatting a shot per game.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led the OKC Thunder to a surprise 40-win season, making the NBA play-in tournament before falling a game shy of the NBA playoffs. The max contract point guard garnered praise from most NBA fans and media, but some still held out. With reservations about the fluke potential of last season, the fact many teams overlooked the OKC Thunder, and so on.

Against Luka Doncic in the 2023 FIBA World Cup, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander made a statement that last season was no fluke. Team Canada eventually ran away with the game-winning 100-89 thanks to a dominant third quarter, in which the Canadians won the frame 30-21, similar to the OKC Thunder’s output in the third quarter a season ago.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander finished with 31 points, four assists, and ten rebounds while playing a game-high 36 minutes. Gilgeous-Alexander swiped a pair of steals and only turned the ball once.

The OKC Thunder star continued his impressive efficiency, shooting 66 percent from the floor, including 87 percent from inside the arc, and going 1-for-4 from distance. Gilgeous-Alexander got to the charity stripe 16 times, making 14 of those attempts.

Luka Doncic, like Dillon Brookes, was ejected from this contest, only logging 29 minutes to the tune of 26 points, four rebounds, five assists, two steals, and three turnovers. In a win-or-go-home game, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander out-dueled the Mavericks star, who was frustrated from the word go.

Next. Davis Bertans offers a puzzling dilemma for the OKC Thunder. dark