The Oklahoma City Thunder fall to the Charlotte Hornets, 121-98. It seems like the Thunder are in a funk as this is the second straight blowout loss for them. The Thunder lost by 22 points to the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday. While the Thunder’s record and peripheral stats are poor, the team has done a good job at keeping games respectable and making the opposition earn wins against them. But as the Thunder has gone 2-11 in its last 13 games, it appears that the losses are starting to come down hard on the team with these two most recent performances.
With all that said, there are still a few positives to take away from this blowout loss. The first one being just how well Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey played despite the loss. Gilgeous-Alexander and Giddey combined for 50 points. Easily the two most important players in the franchise, it’s a nice consolation prize that the 23-point loss is due to the rest of the roster and not because of its top two most prized possessions. Let’s take a look at player grades.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: A
Gilgeous-Alexander finished with 29 points on 10-of-23 shooting and six assists and five rebounds. Gilgeous-Alexander continues to make attacking the paint and driving to the basket a top priority of his as most of his shots came within the paint.
Interestingly enough, Gilgeous-Alexander went just 1-of-3 from three this game. Gilgeous-Alexander has averaged nearly six threes a game this season but has not shot more than five threes in eight straight games. Gilgeous-Alexander has been struggling mightily from outside this season, shooting just 27.4 percent. So one has to wonder if limiting his threes in recent games is a point of emphasis for Gilgeous-Alexander or if it’s just something that has happened in the flow of the game.
Josh Giddey: A+
Giddey finished with 21 points on 10-of-17 shooting along with nine rebounds and three assists. This was Giddey’s first career 20 point game. Much like Gilgeous-Alexander, most of his shots came within the paint and was aggressive in attacking the rim all game long. You love to see Giddey taking 17 shots, keeping that scoring aggression will be vital if the rookie is to ever develop a solid shot.
Jeremiah Robinson-Earl: B
Jeremiah Robinson-Earl finished with a 12 point and 11 rebound double double. Though a lot of that production came in garbage time during the fourth quarter, it still deserves praise. Especially considering how much Robinson-Earl has struggled recently, averaging just 4.6 points on 28.6 percent shooting and 6.2 rebounds in his last five games.
Lu Dort: F
This was probably Lu Dort’s worst game of the season as he finished with just three points on 1-of-7 shooting and three rebounds. Dort was basically a nonfactor all game long and did not do anything notable that stood out. Just a really quiet game for the team’s second leading scorer.