OKC Thunder star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander remains dominantly steady.
He was more than willing to keep feeding Williams in the first three quarters, providing the hot hand, and staying within the flow of the offense.
But he put his cape on when Gilgeous-Alexander checked into the fourth quarter, with 8:12 left to play, tied 89-89.
He scored 14 (!!) of his 35 points in the game’s final eight minutes.
Pull-up mid-range jump shots, getting to the rim, playing through contact, he was finding ways to score down the stretch to slam the door on the Suns.
No bucket was more impressive than his stepback three-pointer over Beal to put the Thunder up 10.
Despite the Thunder’s struggles as a team early this season, Gilgeous-Alexander has been the steadying force, particularly in the fourth quarters of close games.
With the possibility of him not having to carry the load offensively for all four quarters, he could even reach new and higher heights in his game.
The Thunder could dispatch the Suns with mainly their starters alone.
The bench scored a season-low eight points and shot an abysmal 27.2 field goal percentage as a unit.
Wallace and Aaron Wiggins were the only positive plus/minus players.
Wiggins (two), Isaiah Joe (three), and Jaylin Williams (three) were the only ones that scored.
It’s been a far cry from how the bench has produced this year thus far, which typically averages 28 points per game and one they will need to shore up quickly with the Spurs coming to town.
Next up is the matchup we have all been waiting for. Unicorn vs unicorn. Slenderman vs Mr. Fantastic. Chet Holmgren vs Victor Wembanyama.
If Gilgeous-Alexander and Williams cook like they were tonight, it will be a long night for the Spurs.