Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
(Nathanial S. Butler | NBAE via Getty Images)

BALANCED ATTACK EARNS THUNDER 'W'

Game Recap: OKC 130, BKN 109

By Paris Lawson | Broadcast and Digital Reporter | okcthunder.com

Highlights: OKC 130, BKN 109

THE BIG PICTURE

While the Thunder managed to land the first punch and set the tone against the Nets on Thursday, it was about remaining poised and withstanding punches in the second half to secure the won. High-level offense through all four quarters positioned the Thunder to remain steadily in control of the ball game and defeat Brooklyn 130-109 inside of Barclays Center. 

MOMENTS FROM THE 48

Poised through Punches

There are two types of toughness according to Thunder head coach Mark Daigneault: being able to take punches and being able to throw them. Against the Nets on Thursday, the Thunder threw multiple punches, including the first one of the game. The Thunder ran out to a 12-point lead in the first frame and ballooned it to 22 in the second quarter. 

Brooklyn wouldn’t go away without throwing a few punches of their own. Coming out of halftime, the Nets switched up defenses with a box and one to try to stir things up against the Thunder’s surging offense. The effort helped spark a bit of momentum for Brooklyn to close the third quarter on a 14-6 run and extended that offensive surge into the fourth with another 16-6 streak to close the gap to just eight points with 8:27 left in the ball game. 

The Thunder remained poised and determined not to let the lead slip out of their hands. A corner 3-pointer by Ty Jerome helped to steady the ship and ignite the Thunder’s 13-4 response to close the game and put the clamps on the victory. 

“I thought we did a nice job of responding there in the third quarter when it got a little dicey and I thought the same thing happened in the [fourth quarter] stretch there,” said Daigneault. “We just kind of stayed the course and just were pretty committed to the way we were playing all night. Give or take a couple possessions.”

(Nathanial S. Butler | NBAE via Getty Images)

High Level Offense 

OKC’s offense hummed at a fever pitch through all four quarters of the game. With a season-high 130 points, season-high in field goal percentage and a season high in 3-pointers made, the Thunder scored 30-plus points in all four quarters for the first time in two years. 

“We were really firing from all cylinders,” said Bazley. “We were getting the looks, we were generating good shots – and we were making a lot of them – getting to the free throw line, plan from inside out, get into the paint, get some sprays, have some good cuts and then also transition I thought we did a pretty decent job of getting out and running.”

Shai and Lu Efficiency

Lu Dort lit the fuse by scoring seven of the Thunder’s first nine points of the ball game. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander fanned the flames with his downhill attacks and finishes at the rim. Dort finished with 27 points on 9-of-17 from the field, including a 6-for-10 performance from deep. 

Gilgeous-Alexander led all scorers with 33 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. The league-leader in drives per game finished the night 11-for-18 from the field and 9-for-10 from the free throw line while also playing a key role in facilitating the Thunder’s ball movement and execution. 

“For the fourth game in a row, [Shai’s] played a style that's kind of ignited our team and is also best for him long term and I thought tonight was an example of that,” said Daigneault. 

Big Night for Baze

The Thunder’s second unit poured in 42 points in the 21-point victory and it was Darius Bazley who led the way with 16 points off the bench. The 6-foot-8 forward went a perfect 4-for-4 inside the painted area utilizing his versatility and athleticism at the five-spot to take advantage of matchups against slower big men. 

In the most highlight-worthy example, Bazley used a swift in-and-out crossover to get past Paul Millsap at the top of the key. Once in the lane, Bazley elevated and detonated a two-handed slam with no contest. 

THE LAST WORD

“When we play the right way we give ourselves the best chance every night. We looked good tonight. We were playing aggressive, downhill, touching the paint and then making the right basketball decisions for most of the night and it resulted in a good 'W'”.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander on what the win represents

WHAT'S NEXT 

The Thunder returns to Oklahoma City for a quick matchup against the Cavaliers on Saturday before setting out on a four-game week-long road trip – its longest of the season.