Grading the OKC Thunder Starters:
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander put together an MVP-like performance in Golden State and outdueled one of the best point guards of all time. Gilgeous-Alexander’s night ended with 40 points, but how he got to that mark is what made the difference for Oklahoma City.
Gilgeous-Alexander scored 10 points for the Thunder in overtime, including a stretch where he scored eight consecutive for the Thunder. That stretch put the Thunder ahead 128-123 and helped them seize control.
In overtime, Gilgeous-Alexander also blocked a potential game-tying 3-pointer from Curry, which led to an easy transition bucket to extend the lead to two possessions. Before his overtime heroics helped the Thunder win, his third quarter helped them get back into the game.
The Thunder’s star guard scored 15 in the third on 7-of-10 shooting and added a couple of steals to help erase an 18-point Warriors lead. That was his largest single-quarter performance on his way to an 18-of-29 outing.
In addition to needing only two free throws to get to 40, Gilgeous-Alexander finished with seven rebounds and six assists.
Josh Giddey had some flashes of good play, but he ultimately struggled in the Thunder’s big win. After the Thunder’s rough start to the third quarter, coach Mark Daigneault took Giddey out for the rest of the period.
While Giddey did not see the floor in overtime and only finished with two assists, one was a game-changer. The noted SLOB wizard got the ball to Holmgren for the game-tying 3-pointer to end regulation.
To go with a couple of blocks on Dario Saric, Giddey finished with 11 points and five rebounds.
Lu Dort seems to be cooling off from outside, as he shot 1-of-4 from deep against the Warriors. Missing his only two shots inside the arc as well, Dort finished with only three points.
But when chasing Curry around for most of the night, a rough offensive night can be excused. He helped the Thunder keep Curry to an 8-of-21 night from the floor, but it still was not his best performance.
If the third quarter belonged to Gilgeous-Alexander, then the fourth quarter belonged to Jalen Williams. Williams may not have had the big plays toward the end of regulation, but he got the Thunder over the hump to start the quarter.
Williams finished with ten fourth-quarter points on his way to a 22-point night. The Santa Clara product pulled the Thunder close, and his jumper a few minutes into the fourth tied the game to officially get them all the way back.
A couple of steals leading to easy dunks in transition in the first half helped him get his first four points. He finished the night shooting 50% from the floor and nailed two free throws to extend the lead to seven to end overtime.
Chet Holmgren may not only be a star in the making, he may be a star already. The rookie led Oklahoma City in scoring for most of the night and, of course, hit the biggest shot of the night and, perhaps, the season so far.
Holmgren ended with a career-high 36 points on 14-of-22 shooting. While his big shot to end regulation tied the game, his dunk midway through the fourth quarter gave the Thunder their first lead since the second quarter.
The rookie big man also started the game hot. Holmgren scored nine in the first quarter and had 19 at halftime, as he was the top offensive option in the first half.
In addition to his big scoring night, Holmgren secured another double-double with ten rebounds. His shot blocking also came through as he sent back two shots, including one on Curry to thwart his highlight.