Grading the OKC Thunder starters:
Unsurprisingly, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led the Thunder to a win in Phoenix. The star guard led the game in scoring with 35 points and had an efficient night.
Gilgeous-Alexander shot 13-of-22 from the field and made seven of his eight free throw attempts. He was also instrumental in closing the game for Oklahoma City.
Gilgeous-Alexander scored 14 points in the fourth quarter and did not miss any of his four field goal attempts. But Gilgeous-Alexander’s impact went beyond his scoring.
He finished with a team-high seven rebounds with a steal and a block.
Josh Giddey looked to turn a corner in this game. After a tough season thus far, Giddey put together a solid all-around performance.
Giddey netted his first double-double of the season with 10 points and ten assists. That assist number is his season-high by a wide margin, beating his previous high of six.
Although it was not always pretty, and he had some shaky moments in the fourth quarter, Giddey was a positive for the Thunder in Phoenix.
Something had to give with his hot shooting at some point. Still, Lu Dort’s main calling card was present in the Thunder’s win.
Dort missed all five of his attempts from 3-point range, but his effort on the other side was nearly too much. Dort, finishing with five fouls, helped the Thunder slow down the Suns’ elite scoring duo.
Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal combined to shoot just 13 of 36 from the floor. His efforts there also showed up in his stat sheet, with three steals, all coming against Beal or Durant, and a block.
The OKC Thunder’s second-year phenom had his best game of the young season. Williams finished a point shy of his career high with 31 points.
With a 3-of-4 performance from outside, Williams also helped the Thunder on an otherwise pedestrian 3-point shooting night. When Williams has it going from outside, it opens things up further for the Thunder’s offense.
Oklahoma City getting a performance like this from Williams signifies how versatile the team is. While Holmgren had a good game, these performances will continue to ignite the second-best player discussions for Oklahoma City.
Chet Holmgren played well in a game featuring another 7-footer who can do almost everything on the court. He finished with 18 points and displayed his impressive shooting.
Holmgren finished with three 3-pointers, making his mark for the Thunder in an area that has eluded them. He also showed his rim protection, posting a couple of blocks.
His second block came in the fourth quarter and led to a transition bucket by Gilgeous-Alexander. One of the many plays in the fourth helped the Thunder come out on top.