Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
(Zach Beeker | OKC Thunder)

The Reporters' Notebook: Double-OT Thriller

By Nick Gallo and Paris Lawson |

Highlights: OKC vs. MIL (2OT)

The Big Picture

The Thunder returned to Paycom Center to take on the NBA-leading Milwaukee Bucks for the second time in four days. The Bucks, with the number one rated defense but playing without Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday, predictably had players step up in impressive fashion in what turned out to be one of the most dramatic games of the season in the NBA all year. 

The double-overtime thriller included an 8-0 burst by the Thunder in the final 2:34 of regulation to send it to an extra period, highlighted by a lob inbounds pass from Josh Giddey to Lu Dort that tied the game. 

At the end of overtime, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander put the Thunder ahead for what the Paycom Center crowd thought was for good on a step back three with 0.6 seconds remaining. A foul call on the ensuing Bucks inbounds pass resulted in a free throw and double-overtime, where Milwaukee eked out enough stops and free throws, resulting in a 136-132 Thunder loss

1st Quarter

Nick: The Thunder started strong by forcing a shot clock violation on the very first possession of the game, starting with some excellent pressure from Aleksej Pokuševski, who made his return to the lineup after missing a pair of games with shoulder bursitis. The initial ball pressure on Bobby Portis was amplified by Lu Dort, who crashed over to double team and got a deflection. The ball went out of bounds, giving the Bucks just 0.4 seconds to get a shot off, but Pokuševski swatted Portis’ heave before it even had a chance to get to the rim. 

Paris: Jeremiah Robinson-Earl pulled down a defensive rebound and released the ball up to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. When SGA turned to look up the court, he saw Aleksej Pokuševski sprinting through the middle of the floor. All it took was a simple bounce pass before Pokusevski laid the ball over the front of the rim. The play came after back-to-back possessions where the 7-footer generated extra offense by getting on the offensive glass and helping the Thunder build up second chance points.  

2nd Quarter

Nick: Josh Giddey maintained his relentlessness, shaking off a few early misses to turn the corner around his defender, getting left to go all the way to the bucket for a physical righty layup, plus the foul. After a missed free throw on the three-point play chance, Giddey dished it to Tre Mann, who drove, stopped on a dime and showed the NBA’s leading shot blocker Brook Lopez the ball. Lopez went flying and Mann twisted his body for a wide open push shot that forced a Bucks timeout, and completed a four-point possession for OKC. 

Paris: The shot clock wound down and Isaiah Joe found himself matched up against Milwaukee rookie MarJon Beauchamp. Joe stripped the ball away from Beauchamp which led to a fast break on the other end. Joe – who had already knocked down a 3-pointer a possession earlier – confidently dished the ball over to Thunder rookie Jalen Williams who cashed in a triple ahead of the defense. 

3rd Quarter

Nick: Five quick points for the Thunder coming out of a timeout, as the Thunder stayed patient on offense. As Gilgeous-Alexander probed the Bucks’ league-best defense, he found a cutting Kenrich Williams, who dished to Pokuševski in the corner for a 3 that beat the shot clock. On the ensuing inbounds pass, Giddey and Lu Dort pressured the ball at half court and forced a turnover, leading to a steal and an easy Giddey layup. It was a crucial response by the Thunder in the quarter to keep this one tight. 

Paris: After a missed layup from Jordan Nwora, Lu Dort snatched down the rebound and wasted no time getting out in transition. Dort zipped the ball ahead to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander for an open layup that forced the Bucks to call a timeout. The Thunder has been feasting on fast break opportunities throughout the night. Ignited by its defense, the Thunder has utilized stops to get out on the break and take advantage of the open floor. By the end of the third quarter, OKC led the Bucks 12 to seven in fast break points. 

4th Quarter

Nick: On an early fourth quarter possession the Thunder got cross-matched defensively, with JDub defending Brook Lopez and Mike Muscala out on the perimeter. When a pass flew out to the corner, Muscala recognized his responsibility to rotate over, even in an unfamiliar position on the floor. Rushing out with staccato steps to the shooter, Muscala forced a moment of hesitation, and a travel to add to the 17 total Bucks turnovers on the night. 

Paris: Thunder guard Tre Mann missed the first 3-point attempt, but Kenrich Williams swooped in and grabbed the rebound for a second chance. When Shai Gilgeous-Alexander missed the second attempt, it was Jalen Williams who snatched the offensive rebound. Then on the third attempt, Mann sank the triple and sparked some much needed momentum for the Thunder. When it mattered most, those second chances played a pivotal role in the Thunder’s ability to tie the game and send it into overtime. Josh Giddey added an additional three offensive rebounds that aided the Thunder’s 8-0 mini run to tie up the score. For the night, the Thunder generated 17 second chance points off of 16 offensive rebounds compared to just 12 second chance points on 11 offensive rebounds for the Bucks. 


Nick: Kenrich Williams steps in off the bench and takes a charge on Grayson Allen in the lane to keep this a one-possession game midway through the extra period. Mark Daigneault was substituting Mann and Williams offense for defense in the extra frame, and Williams snagged his 6th charge drawn on the season, which tied him for second in the league. It was one of five offensive fouls the Thunder drew on the night, giving OKC 40 on the season. 

Down by two with the ball and 8.1 seconds remaining on the clock, Gilgeous-Alexander caught the ball out top and isolated against his defender. After a game spent playing within the flow of the Thunder’s offense, when the Thunder needed to get a shot off and couldn’t afford the risk of a turnover that comes with driving and playmaking, Gilgeous-Alexander got to the left side, stepped back and buried a 3-pointer with 0.6 seconds remaining. The Paycom Center crowd erupted into pandemonium, but the celebration was short-lived as Brook Lopez drew a foul on a lob play on the inbounds pass, hitting one free throw to send this one into double-overtime. 

Quotes of the Night

“This is one of those games that both teams battled. Somebody wins, somebody loses. It’s a possession game. Credit them. They got the win, but I was pleased with how we fought, especially late in the fourth. We came all the way back to force overtime. It was a great job by our team.” – Mark Daigneault

“It was fun being out there, playing basketball when it’s competitive like that. it was a tough game, a great game. We fought the whole game.” – Tre Mann

“We just stayed in the moment. There’s no 8-point shot. We just took it possession by possession to give ourselves a chance.” – Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

What's Next

OKC’s two-game home stand concludes on Friday against the Toronto Raptors at 7 pm CT. From there, the team heads out on a prolonged four-game road trip that begins in New York City to face the Knicks on Sunday.

The Walkout: Nail-biter at Paycom

Wednesday's Photos
By Zach Beeker | OKC Thunder