Game Grades: SGA leads OKC Thunder to dominant road victory over Nuggets

The OKC Thunder earned a statement win over Denver Nuggets on the road in blowout fashion.
Dec 29, 2023; Denver, Colorado, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2)
Dec 29, 2023; Denver, Colorado, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) / Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
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Grading the OKC Thunder starters:

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, G, OKC Thunder: A+

The Thunder’s superstar put on an MVP performance and was clearly the best player on the floor. That statement could be used for many games this season, but it is especially impressive in Denver.

Gilgeous-Alexander dropped 40 points on the Nuggets with an absurdly efficient shooting performance. He went 14-of-20 from the floor and 10-of-10 from the foul line.

His big third quarter not only got his numbers to that level but also put Oklahoma City in a position to get a blowout win. The guard scored 17 in the third from everywhere on the court to virtually end any hope of winning for Denver.

He also ended with four rebounds, three assists, two steals, and a block.

Josh Giddey, G, OKC Thunder: B+

Missed layups, a turnover and a missed three is how Giddey’s first few minutes went, but things turned around. He ended with 12 points, eight rebounds and four assists.

The Australian guard looks to be figuring things out in his role as the Thunder head toward the end of the calendar year. Despite that abysmal start, he still shot 6-of-10 from the field and fit in perfectly as Oklahoma City extended its lead.

Lu Dort, F, OKC Thunder: B-

Friday was not Dort’s best performance, but he still played solid. Most of that came from his best side of the floor.

Defensively, Dort helped hold Jamal Murray to only nine points and a 4-of-15 shooting night. He also added three steals and a block.

But nothing came together for him offensively, scoring just four points and missing his three shot attempts from beyond the arc.

Jalen Williams, F, OKC Thunder: A-

Williams struggled to score the ball until his two 3-pointer in the fourth quarter basically sealed the game for the Thunder. Yet, he still shot 4-of-10 from the field and put up 11 points.

He also nearly grabbed a triple-double. Sure, he had some work to do on the boards, but it was in range.

He finished with seven rebounds and a team-high nine assists to get Oklahoma City another signature win.

Chet Holmgren, C, OKC Thunder: A+

The Thunder’s Rookie of the Year candidate scored just 14 of their last 109 points. But he put the Thunder’s first 10 on the board to set the tone against the defending champions.

In the first few minutes, he nailed a couple of 3-pointers and would hit another in the fourth quarter as the Thunder were putting the finishing touches on the win. He finished with 24 points on 9-of-14 shooting and was arguably the best big man in a game against Nikola Jokic.

The Gonzaga product also added six rebounds and a couple of blocks.