Jalen Williams carrying the load
The Oklahoma City Thunder certainly do not blow out the Lakers and potentially do not even win this game without Jalen Williams. That might sound hyperbolic after a 20-point beat down of the Purple and Gold, but Williams was a key factor against his childhood team.
Against Minnesota, the Thunder were rolling to start the contest, but then the dreaded scoring lull showed up.
Oftentimes this season, the OKC Thunder have struggled to get the offense going during the second quarter after Shai Gilgeous-Alexander leaves the contest. That has turned the tide in a few games, and at the very best made Oklahoma City work harder later in games to pull out a win, and at the very worst has cost them games outright.
In his second game back from a hip injury, Jalen Williams struck the perfect balance of aggression and playing within the offense to help the Thunder avoid that second-quarter scoring drought and, instead, finish off a seven-point comeback and allow Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to return to the floor with the lead.
In that second frame alone, Jalen Williams poured in nine points, dished out an assist, grabbed a rebound, and did not miss a shot including an electric and-one to fully swing the momentum to Oklahoma City.
While Williams was not alone, as Cason Wallace and Isaiah Joe each chipped in nine points in the frame, he was the straw that stirred the drink.
The Santa Clara product finished with 21 points, seven assists, and five rebounds while getting a block on the defensive end.
His uptick in scoring aggression did not cost him in efficiency, shooting 51 percent from the floor, and going 4-for-5 at the charity stripe.