The Oklahoma City Thunder went into Sacramento tonight looking to start another winning streak. They were on a 5-game winning streak before losing to the Dallas Mavericks on Monday night, but they were without their floor general, Chris Paul.
Both teams struggled to shoot the ball in the 1st quarter. Danilo Gallinari couldn’t buy a shot at the beginning, but the Thunder started to settle in, and led 23-16 at the end of the first buzzer.
Dennis Schröder was the leading scorer with 24 points and played a very great game tonight, but the story of the game was Luguentz Dort. With the way Dort has been playing as of late, he has shown that he deserves a guaranteed NBA contract, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it happens sooner rather than later. He finished with 23 points, shot 8-12 from the field, and 5-6 from three-point range. On top of that, he has proven that he can hold his own when guarding the opposing team’s biggest offensive threat, and he looks as confident as ever on offense.
Chris Paul didn’t have his best shooting night, but was still just one point away from a double-double, and contributed elsewhere in a big way. This was one of those games where he just kind of sat back and let the young guys do their thing. He finished the game with 9 points, 10 assists, and 7 rebounds.
After Gallinari’s early struggles, he was able to get his shot going, and hit some big threes that helped build their 20-point lead going into the 4th quarter. He was still able to finish with 19 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists, while shooting 7-13 from the field and 4-9 from three-point range.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander filled the stat sheet up tonight. He made the first bucket for the Thunder tonight, which was a three-pointer. That was great to see from SGA because he has struggled from three lately, but he didn’t tonight, hitting 60% of his shots from downtown. He tacked on 17 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists. SGA also had two blocks, one of them on Dewayne Dedmon that saved a dunk.
The two big men, Steven Adams and Nerlens Noel, combined for 20 points, 13 rebounds, 5 steals, and two blocks. They both had fantastic games tonight and did a great job at protecting the rim. Adams even made all 4 of his free throws!
Darius Bazley and Hamidou Diallo both played about 18 minutes. It looks like Bazley is really starting to get it. Despite going 0-4 from three, he has done a great job at getting to the rim, and he still finished with 6 points, 5 rebounds, and one assist. Diallo finished with 2 points and 3 rebounds, but only shot the ball three times.
What decided this game was the Thunder’s big 3rd quarter. The Kings cut it to 13 at one point, and the Thunder turned it up a notch in the last 3 minutes to go up by 20 heading into the 4th quarter. It destroyed all the momentum and hope that the Kings had.
The Thunder tied their season-high for assists (32), shot 50 percent from the field, 44 percent from three, and got a win in Sacramento, 120-100. Oklahoma City has won 10 of their last 11 road games.
Up next: Oklahoma City Thunder at Phoenix Suns on Friday, January 31st. 8:00 p.m.