BOX SCORE: OKC vs. SAC
By Paris Lawson | Broadcast and Digital Reporter | okcthunder.com
Highlights: OKC vs. SAC
THE BIG PICTURE
It was a high-energy ball game inside of Paycom Center as the Thunder faced the Sacramento Kings for the fourth and final time this season. Both teams displayed high-powered offense that resulted in a combined 241 points on the scoreboard. Though the Thunder fell 131-110, the squad had multiple players step up in the lineup such as two-way rookie Olivier Sarr, but it was Shai Gilgeous-Alexander who led the way with a headlining double-double of 37 points and 10 assists.
MOMENTS FROM THE 48
It was clear from the first quarter that these two teams would be in for an offensive battle and it would ultimately come down to which team could get more stops to slow the other down.
The two squads combined for 67 points in the first quarter and neither team showed any signs of slowing down by halftime. The Thunder shot 47 percent from the field as the Kings revved at 50 percent at intermission while also racking up 19 free throw attempts.
Even out of the gates of the third quarter, the Thunder put on a quick burst to take a lead by forcing three turnovers which forced Kings’ interim head coach Alvin Gentry to call a timeout.
The game had escalated to a near track meet as the two teams looked to push the ball in transition and score on the break. It wasn’t until midway through the third quarter that the Kings truly began to create separation in the midst of the fast-paced game. Sacramento poured in 40 points during the frame and closed out on a 19-7 run fueled by Thunder turnovers and trips to the free throw line.
The Thunder fell behind by double-digits and wouldn’t be able to close the gap as the Kings’ continued their onslaught of offense through the remaining quarter en route to a 70-point second half.
“Our defense is predicated on taking away easy baskets and they got way too much easy tonight - rim, transition, line,” said Thunder head coach Mark Daigneault. “Offensively we played well enough, but 130 is not going to do it, obviously."
King of the Paint
It was a battle of paint production between the Thunder and the Kings who both rank in the top 10 in the league in percentage of total points from the paint. While the Kings took the 68 to 56 edge in points in the paint, it was Shai Gilgeous-Alexander who stole the show under the rim.
The league leader in drives per game displayed an array of determined and crafty finishes around the rim as the Kings threw a variety of coverages at him. Using his quick first step and unpredictable pace, SGA finished with 16 paint points on 8-of-12 shooting.
For the night overall, Gilgeous-Alexander led the way with a near triple double of 37 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds. The effort marked his third consecutive game with 30 or more points and also his second-highest point total of the season.
“He was really high level,” said Daigneault. “He was just at a really controlled pace. He dominated the game when the ball was in his hands and really did a good job of getting off it either to the slot or to the roller with the way they were playing him. His balance tonight was just outstanding."
“I was just trying to be aggressive and make the right basketball play,” said Gilgeous-Alexander. “Play downhill and play to my strengths.”
Thunder two-way center Olivier Sarr stepped into significant playing time against the Kings and logged multiple career highs because of it. The Frenchman’s 25 minutes of action, 12 points and made 3-pointer all marked career-highs in just his fifth career NBA game.
“That's definitely something that even in the g-league, Coach [Grant Gibbs] talks about a lot, just being ready,” said Sarr. “Whatever the coach’s plan is for you – 25, 15, 10 or five minutes, just come in and have an impact. That's just the mindset that I'm going to have every game out there.”
THE LAST WORD
After kicking off the week inside of Paycom Center, the Thunder heads back out on the road to Denver to face Nikola Jokić and the Nuggets on Wednesday.