Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jalen Williams fuel Thunder's fourth-quarter success

Orlando Magic v Oklahoma City Thunder
Orlando Magic v Oklahoma City Thunder / Joshua Gateley/GettyImages

Performing under pressure is what separates contenders from pretenders, and the Oklahoma City Thunder own a pair of elite closers in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jalen Williams. Only 16 other players across the NBA besides the pair have totaled 350 fourth-quarter points this season, and few match their efficiency. 

Of the 33 players with at least 300 fourth quarter points, Williams and Gilgeous-Alexander rank third and fourth, respectively, in fourth quarter true shooting percentage.

Perhaps free throws are significantly boosting their shooting efficiency?

Fortunately for this situation, that’s not the case as Williams (second) and Gilgeous-Alexander (ninth) both rank highly in effective field goal percentage. 

Because they each create their own shot and seamlessly operate off-ball, Oklahoma City possesses immense scoring versatility and can attack mismatches. It’s extremely difficult for opponents to simultaneously contain Williams and Gilgeous-Alexander’s isolation scoring, especially since they are surrounded by catch-and-shoot threats, as well as Chet Holmgren roaming the skies for a dunk. 

Shai Gilgeous Alexander and Jalen Williams lead late Thunder successes

As a result, the Thunder sit first in fourth-quarter effective field goal percentage and sixth in fourth-quarter net rating. That’s a great sign considering eight of the past 15 NBA champions finished within the top six during the regular season in fourth-quarter net rating, while every champion cracked the top 12 too. 

The Thunder have a 20-12 record in clutch games this season, a contest that the league defines as: The final five minutes of the fourth quarter or overtime when the score is within five points.

This statistic is the sixth-best clutch win percentage in the league. On top of this, they also rank seventh in clutch net rating.

Overall, the Thunder can throw punches with the best of them during the playoffs due to their elite clutch-scoring duo.

*Stats via