The Oklahoma City Thunder are off to a fast start in the 2023-24 season, and just before the calendar turns to 2024, the OKC Thunder have proven to be legit.
With a 19-9 record, the Oklahoma City Thunder sit with the third-best record in the NBA. In their last ten games, the Thunder have produced a 7-3 record.
This Oklahoma City team opened up a daunting five-game stretch that had many around the NBA waiting for the other shoe to drop. Now, three games through that slate, the Thunder own a 2-1 record.
One of Oklahoma City's nine losses came at the hands of the Timberwolves in Minnesota; The Thunder got off to a red-hot offensive start in the first half before stalling out after intermission.
This led many to believe the 22-7 Wolves were an awful matchup for Oklahoma City. Minnesota switched to a zone and refused to guard Josh Giddey on the perimeter, making the Thunder's offense obsolete during those stretches.
On Tuesday in the Paycom Center, the Wolves went back to that familiar zone that could not fool the Thunder this time.
Oklahoma City scored 129 points against the league's best defense on their way to a blowout win, thanks to a strong second-half punch. This allowed the Thunder to avenge their close loss on the road, and prove to the NBA they can play with anyone.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was able to shake loose for 34 points on a jaw-dropping 73 percent shooting from the floor despite going 0-for-3 from beyond the arc. That, along with six rebounds, nine assists, a block, and two steals, showed why the max contract point guard is in the MVP conversations.
Jalen Williams, who started the day as question with an illness, had the best flu game this side of Austin Reaves with 21 points, three assists, and two blocks, which included a three-point barrage going 4-for-6 from distance.
Then, you saw Chet Holmgren make the adjustments, this time embarrassing Rudy Gobert after the three-time Defensive Player of the Year got the better of him in their earlier season matchup. Holmgren finished with 20 points, four rebounds, five assists, and a block.
Mix in Lu Dort's 20-point night, Isaiah Joe and Kenrich Williams combining for 14 points off the pine, and the Thunder shooting a season-high 60 percent from the floor, and you get the recipe for success for Oklahoma City even against a much better matchup where you assume OKC would be at a disadvantage.
As the season progresses, it is more and more clear that this is not a fluke or a flash in the pan. The Oklahoma City Thunder have arrived, and they can play with anyone.