Grading the OKC Thunder starters:
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, G, OKC Thunder - A
Twelve minutes. It’s how long the Thunder’s star plays every first quarter, and he made his mark early with 16 points against the Lakers.
Gilgeous-Alexander scored another 17 the rest of the way, finishing 11-of-18 from the floor. Add in a perfect 10 shots from the line, and his night was nearly perfect itself.
He also dished out seven assists and never turned the ball over. However, it felt like Gilgeous-Alexander was trying to force his outside shot at times, making just one of his four 3-point attempts.
Josh Giddey, G, OKC Thunder - B
Giddey had an odd start to the game. It felt like he was simultaneously on track to have a great and awful game. He ended somewhere in the middle.
The Lakers left Giddey open to begin the game, and he was mostly able to take advantage, nailing a couple of shots from beyond the arc. He finished with 14 points and a team-high eight rebounds.
However, Giddey’s stretch of playmaking woes continues. He finished with only one assist and committed four turnovers.
But if the Thunder keep winning, Giddey’s passing is sure to come along.
Lu Dort, F, OKC Thunder - A+
Dort spent much of the offseason getting thrown in the trade machine and looked at as the next guy to be moved. But performances like his on Thursday should keep him in Oklahoma City for a long time.
The defensive stud got the task of guarding LeBron James throughout the night and held him to 21 points, never allowing him to take over. Beyond that, Dort was seemingly everywhere on the floor and in the middle of every play on both ends.
He finished with three offensive rebounds, two steals and a block. Dort scored 12 points and knocked down a couple of 3-pointers, including one that iced the game after Isaiah Joe’s block on Anthony Davis.
Jalen Williams, F, OKC Thunder - A-
The Thunder mistakenly showed Jaylin Williams on the big screen as Jalen Williams was announced in the starting lineup. Clearly, it did not affect the promising second-year player.
Williams scored 21 points in his second game back from injury after a rough outing in Minnesota. Williams’ early block on James helped set the tone for his night.
His nine-point second quarter helped the Thunder take the lead a few minutes in. Matching the Thunder’s No. I option, Williams also put together a seven-assist night without turning the ball over.
Chet Holmgren, C, OKC Thunder - B
It felt like Holmgren had an average night for the most part. That seems crazy, considering he is a rookie who put up 18 points and five rebounds while matching up with Anthony Davis.
With only about a quarter of a season under his belt, Holmgren has already nailed down how to do the little things that help his team win. Two steals against the Lakers help him make that point.