Game Grades: OKC Thunder stars shine to snap Clippers’ nine-game winning

The OKC Thunder are able to snap the L.A. Clippers winning streak with solid play from the starting five.

Dec 21, 2023; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2)
Dec 21, 2023; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) / Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports
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Grading the OKC Thunder starters:

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, G, OKC Thunder: A

In 2019, the star guard was traded by the Clippers to the Thunder. He reminded his former team that was a poor decision.

Gilgeous-Alexander led the game in scoring with 31. In his two 12-minute quarters, the superstar got going and helped Oklahoma City jump out to a couple of large leads.

In getting out to those big leads, Gilgeous-Alexander was dominant defensively. He added to his significant lead as the league’s top stealer with four and sent back two shots.

With eight rebounds, he led the Thunder in that category and helped them nearly pull even against the Clippers.

Josh Giddey, G, OKC Thunder: A

Late in the second quarter, Giddey suffered an apparent lower leg injury and did not return. But before leaving the floor with a clear limp, he had a spectacular first quarter.

The Australian made his mark on the game from behind the arc. He caught fire from there in the first quarter, shooting 3-of-3.

Giddey also saw the lane clear for an easy dunk, giving him 11 points to go with four assists in just 14 minutes.

Lu Dort, F, OKC Thunder: A

Quietly, Dort worked his way to his third 20-point game this season.

Knocking down three 3-pointers helped Dort finish 8-of-12 overall in the big win. To go with that, he did his usual on the other end.

Spending the night guarding James Harden, Paul George and Russell Westbrook was not too tall a task for Dort. In addition to those tough matchups, he sent back an Ivica Zubac layup as he tried to shield off Chet Holmgren.

Jalen Williams, F, OKC Thunder: B+

It looked like the Thunder were going to lose a second starter after Williams landed awkwardly to start the third quarter.

Instead, he came back a few minutes later and had an exciting night. While things did not always go his way, some tough finishes and timely baskets led him to a solid outing.

He ended with 13 points, two steals and seven assists.

Chet Holmgren, C, OKC Thunder: A

The guy who combined for 15 blocks in his past two games finished without one on Thursday. It didn’t matter.

Holmgren put up 23 points, six rebounds and seven assists to help the Thunder end the Clippers’ nine-game streak. Holmgren opened up the scoring with a jumper on his way to 9-of-11 shooting.

In the third quarter, the rookie made the play that changed the course of the game. Holmgren caught Zubac in the air, threw the ball off the backboard to himself, then threw down a two-handed jam.

That started a 13-0 run after the Clippers had just taken their first lead. Outside of that play, Holmgren displayed his versatility.

The 7-footer played inside and out, having his way with the defense wherever he attacked.