Game Grades: OKC Thunder crush Spurs as rookie rivalry heats up

The OKC Thunder blew out the San Antonio Spurs for the second time this season, this time on NBA Rivalry Week.
Jan 24, 2024; San Antonio, Texas, USA;  San Antonio Spurs center Victor Wembanyama (1) looks to pass
Jan 24, 2024; San Antonio, Texas, USA; San Antonio Spurs center Victor Wembanyama (1) looks to pass / Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports
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Grading the OKC Thunder starters:

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, G, OKC Thunder: A

Throughout the Thunder’s history, they have been at their best when having someone who can score a quiet 30 points. Gilgeous-Alexander dropped 32, and it felt like he was just out there setting up his teammates.

Part of that feeling is that he was, in fact, setting up his teammates. With 10 assists, the superstar guard continued to show his growth in that area. The matchup in San Antonio also marked the first time Gilgeous-Alexander has had back-to-back 10-assist games.

His four turnovers don’t look great, but once he began taking care of the ball, the Thunder took control. He had zero turnovers while scoring 16 in the third to pull away.

Josh Giddey, G, OKC Thunder: C+

While Giddey has likely gotten used to hearing boos when touching the ball on the road, getting booed while using a broom to get the ball out after it got stuck behind the backboard was a first.

Still, the Australian guard went for 12 points, eight rebounds and four assists. Those plays included some smart cuts and beautiful passes for easy buckets. Oh, and he also threw down his third dunk of the season.

Although he played solid, a few ill-advised shots near the rim, including one that Victor Wembanyama erased emphatically, tanked his grade.

Lu Dort, F, OKC Thunder: C

Dort's offensive night was rough. He missed every shot he took from beyond the arc and finished just 1-of-6 from the floor overall. 

However, his defense came through and even created some highlights. Most notably, he blocked a Wembanyama jumper from behind, reminiscent of Russell Westbrook’s against Kevin Durant in their first game as opponents.

Jalen Williams, F, OKC Thunder: A-

The Thunder may not have a second all-star selection this season, but Williams could have a strong case in the near future.

He only had 13 points after nailing the game-winner against Portland the night before, but his continually expanding skillset was on display. Williams finished with seven assists, including a slick bounce pass to Giddey in transition for a dunk.

While that sequence is typically reversed, it shows how versatile Williams and the Thunder are. 

Chet Holmgren, C, OKC Thunder: B+

It took Holmgren until the fourth quarter to make a significant mark on the stat sheet, but it was the perfect example of his competitive spirit.

Things got going for Holmgren after Wembanyama dunked and stared him down in the opening minutes of the final frame. A couple of possessions later, Holmgren stole a pass intended for the Spurs’ star and went coast-to-coast for an easy two.

He scored nine of his 17 points in the fourth and also did some damage defensively, finishing with three blocks.