SGA, Josh Giddey leads Thunder to 112-102 win over KD-less Nets

The Oklahoma City Thunder are officially in the Play-In tournament race.

Following an impressive 37-22 fourth-quarter advantage that capped off the Thunder’s third consecutive win and wrapped up a four-game road trip with a 3-1 record, the Thunder now have the same record as the 10th-seeded Phoenix Suns at 21 -23.

Which means with 38 games left in their season, the Thunder are in the playoff race.

The Thunder were able to leave New York with a 112-102 win over the red-hot Brooklyn Netswho were 18-3 in their previous 21 games heading into Sunday.

The Thunder played a close back-and-forth contest against the Nets, who were missing Kevin Durant and Ben Simmons. Durant continues to miss time with an MCL sprain and Simmons was a late scratch due to back soreness.

By the end of the game, there were 16 lead changes and seven ties with neither team having a lead larger than 12 points.

Entering the fourth quarter, the non-SGA lineups continue to hold their own.

With Shai Gilgeous-Alexander sitting the first six minutes of a five-point game, Josh Giddey led a 24-12 run during that span. Giddey finished with 11 points and three assists in his 10 fourth-quarter minutes.

On the night, Giddey scored a new career-high 28 points. Gilgeous-Alexander also finished with 28 points himself. An impressive combined 56 points for the OKC’s young backcourt.

The Thunder shot 44-of-90 (44.4%) from the field and went 12-of-31 (38.7%) from 3. The trio of Gilgeous-Alexander, Giddey and Lu Dort combined to score 78 of OKC’s 112 points.

For the Nets, they shot an inefficient 39-of-91 (42.9%) from the field and went a cold 12-of-41 (29.3%) from 3.

Seth Curry led the Nets in scoring with 23 points on 9-of-15 shooting off the bench. Nic Claxton collected 17 points and 13 rebounds for a double-double. Kyrie Irving was held to 15 points on 7-of-20 shooting and 1-of-7 from 3.

The Thunder left Oklahoma City for an extensive road trip with many looking at the reverse standings and lottery odds; they return to Oklahoma City a little over a week later with the focus shifted to where they stand in actual NBA standings.

Let’s take a look at Thunder player grades.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander A

Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander lived at the free-throw line tonight.

In 36 minutes, Gilgeous-Alexander finished with 28 points on 8-of-17 shooting and 1-of-4 from 3. From the free-throw line, Gilgeous-Alexander shot 11-of-14. He also added seven rebounds.

Gilgeous-Alexander partnered with Giddey in the fourth quarter to close this win out. Both combined to score 18 of the Thunder’s 37 fourth-quarter points with Gilgeous-Alexander scoring seven points in his six minutes.

Josh Giddey: A plus

Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Playing an old-school style of basketball, Josh Giddey was able to shoulder his way into an uncontested layup against Nic Claxton, who just moments ago got in a kerfuffle with each other over a rebound.

Following the score, Giddey decided to showboat a little bit and motion for the ‘too small’ gesture by lowering the palm of his hand above the floor.

This play exemplified the night Giddey had in Barclays as he turned into arguably his best game of the season.

In 37 minutes, Giddey scored a career-high 28 points on 12-of-21 shooting along with nine assists and nine rebounds. Giddey also went 3-of-4 from the free-throw line and was a game-high plus-14.

With most of his teammates struggling to score, Giddey stepped up in the fourth quarter and led the Thunder to a win with 11 points on 4-of-4 shooting and three assists.

Giddey did a lot of his damage inside the paint, scoring 22 points on 11-of-16 shooting in that area.

The Thunder talk a lot about growth this season and Giddey is the face of it as he collects his third consecutive 20-plus point game and his eighth 20-plus point game in his last 12 games.

Lu Dort A

Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Lu Dort was the other 20-point scorer for the Thunder as he finished with 22 points on 6-of-10 shooting and went 5-of-7 from 3. From the free-throw line, Dort shot 5-of-6.

Dort had a nice part of opening and closing quarters as he scored six points in each of the first and fourth quarter on 4-of-4 shooting from 3.

Having to deal with Dort and Darius Bazley, Kyrie Irving was essentially a non-factor in this game.

Irving finished with 15 points on 7-of-20 shooting and went 1-of-7 from 3. With it being a close contest in the fourth quarter, Irving was invisible with two points.

Dort is a streaky shooter and can develop tunnel vision on his drives, but games like these show the value he possesses.


Story originally appeared on Thunder Wire

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