Game Grades: Late OKC Thunder comeback falls short in Atlanta

The OKC Thunder were flat for the majority of the night, and it costs the them on the second night of a back-to-back.
Jan 3, 2024; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Isaiah Joe (11) misses a three point
Jan 3, 2024; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Isaiah Joe (11) misses a three point / Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
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Grading the OKC Thunder bench:

Cason Wallace, G, OKC Thunder: A

On a night when the Thunder needed offense, defense and a whole lot of energy, Wallace came through.

He finished with 15 points to lead the Thunder’s bench, including three makes from beyond the arc. He also had a nice pull-up mid-range jumper and dished out a couple of assists.

Defensively, he was solid and about as good as any other Thunder player overall. He came with a steal to show for his efforts.

Isaiah Joe, G, OKC Thunder: B-

The shot looked good until it didn’t.

It’s the story of Joe’s past few weeks but also the story of the game’s final shot. After Jalen Williams kicked out to him for a potential game-tying corner three, Joe’s shot looked poised to go down before popping out and off the backboard.

That shot solidified his 1-of-5 shooting night from beyond the arc. But he made all three shots he took from inside.

Joe’s three finishes at the rim were an example of his effectiveness from other areas on the floor when his deep shots won’t drop.

Aaron Wiggins, G, OKC Thunder: A-

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander dropped 33 but it was Aaron Wiggins leading the team in scoring at halftime.

Wiggins went for 11 of his 13 in the first half, shooting perfectly before halftime. Wednesday’s game showed exactly what he is good at. He can bring a little extra hustle and get inside himself or be a reliable option at the dunker spot.

By blocking Jalen Johnson’s layup in the second quarter, Wiggins got the Thunder’s only blocked shot of the night.

Lindy Waters III, G, OKC Thunder: B

Waters having extended minutes is never a particularly good thing for the Thunder, but it was not bad in Atlanta.

Waters scored nine points, all coming on 3-pointers. Among his makes was a fourth-quarter shot from the top of the key, trailing Jalen Williams in transition.

Jaylin Williams, F, OKC Thunder: B+

Williams has been somewhat forgotten about on the bench, but his recent performance has made him one of the Thunder’s most valuable players.

While he may not always get stats, his ability to play well as a high-IQ player has been noticeable. He ended in Atlanta with three points, three rebounds and two assists.

He also picked off a couple of passes to end with two steals.

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