SGA’s ‘cool’ 33 points leads Thunder past Luka-less Mavericks in 120-109 wins

OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma City Thunder used a strong second-quarter 36-21 advantage to help lead them to a 120-109 win over the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday.

The Thunder enjoyed a sufficient offensive game as they shot 46-of-94 (48.9%) from the field. From outside, the Thunder shot 12-of-28 (42.9%) from 3.

The Thunder was able to eat well inside the paint, outscoring the Mavericks 56-24. After being up by 14 points at halftime, the Thunder were on cruise control for the second half and maintained distance on the scoreboard to win their second consecutive game.

Without Luka Doncic, the Mavericks’ offense didn’t miss a beat as well. The Mavericks shot 31-of-73 (42.5%) from the field and went 14-of-39 (35.9%) from 3.

A surprising result considering how heliocentric the Mavericks’ offense is as it revolves around Doncic.

Christian Wood led the way as he finished with 27 points and 16 rebounds. Spencer Dinwiddie also scored 21 points on 6-of-16 shooting and dished out eight assists. Tim Hardaway Jr. also scored 19 points.

What cost the Mavericks the game was a large shot volume difference. The Thunder were able to take 21 more field goal attempts, which is a massive gulf of difference. Unless the Mavericks were white hot, it would’ve been nearly impossible to make up that difference.

The Thunder will play their first game on TNT in nearly three years riding a two-game winning streak as they travel to the Miami Heat on Tuesday.

Let’s take a look at Thunder player grades.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: A+

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Without Luka Doncic, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was able to provide the firepower for the Sunday crowd.

Gilgeous-Alexander finished with 33 points on 11-of-17 shooting and went 11-of-13 from the free-throw line. A ‘cool’ 33 points as Thunder head coach Mark Daigneault described after the game. Gilgeous-Alexander also added five rebounds and five assists.

Gilgeous-Alexander had a huge third quarter to keep the Thunder afloat and stomp out any chances of a Mavericks comeback win. Gilgeous-Alexander scored 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting in 12 third-quarter minutes.

Gilgeous-Alexander took most of his shots in the paint, as he went just 1-of-3 on non-paint shots, which included just a single three-point attempt he missed.

Josh GiddeyB

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An old saying in basketball goes that it doesn’t matter how many points you score, but when you do score them.

For Josh Giddey on Sunday, that rang true. In 26 minutes, Giddey finished with 10 points on 4-of-12 shooting, five assists and five rebounds.

Eight of those points came in the fourth quarter during closing time as Giddey hit a pair of timely threes to expand the Thunder’s lead.

The reason behind Giddey playing only 26 minutes is due to being in foul trouble. Giddey picked up his fifth foul at the 8:40 mark of the third quarter.

After that, Giddey was able to play 10 minutes of non-fouling basketball. Daigneault said after the game he’s comfortable being aggressive with playing guys in foul trouble, citing how you’re essentially fouling them out every minute they’re on the bench.

Daigneault cited someone on the analytical department that first put the idea in his mind a while ago.

“Shoutout to Ezra,” Daigneault said.

This is certainly an unconventional way of thinking about foul trouble, as most NBA head coaches usually err on the side of caution.

Daigneault continues to show that he’s not afraid to go away from traditional thinking with head coaches and is more open to new ideas.

Kenrich Williams: B+

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The Thunder elected to go small by starting Kenrich Williams at center. It paid off as he finished with 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting and nine rebounds in 25 minutes.

After the game, Gilgeous-Alexander described Williams as a ‘hooper’ who fills in whatever role their team needs for that night. Williams said he really appreciates Gilgeous-Alexander calling him that and that it’s a mark of respect for players.

Off the court, Williams has a busy Monday night as TCU — the school he went to — will play Georgia for the National Championship Game. Williams said that he will watch the game at his hotel and hopes for a win.

Williams also said that he has a bet with some of the Thunder coaching staff members who went to Georgia, but wouldn’t reveal the details and notes we’ll find out after the game.

Lu Dort: C-

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It was a rough offensive game for Lu Dort, who scored 18 points on 7-of-20 shooting and went 3-of-8 from 3.

Dort especially struggled to finish around the rim, as he went 3-of-8 on shots within the restricted area. With that said, Dort made up for it on the defensive end as Spencer Dinwiddie struggled with 21 points on 6-of-16 shooting.

Dort did have the loudest pop from the crowd though, with a breakaway dunk that gave the Thunder an 18-point lead with under five minutes left to go in the game.

HIGHLIGHTS

Story originally appeared on Thunder Wire

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