After winning four of their last five contests, the Oklahoma City Thunder faced a challenge with six rotational pieces ruled out due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols, including their head coach, Mark Daigneault.
While they competed and exceeded expectations given the available roster, the Mike Wilks-led Thunder fell to the Sacramento Kings 117-111, despite another 30-point game from Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
Through three quarters, the game was a back-and-forth affair, with both teams going on lengthy runs. The Kings went on theirs at the right time, ranging from the last five minutes of the third quarter into the first five minutes of the fourth (10 minutes of total game time). They went on a 22-9 run, which was an insurmountable feat for the Thunder to overcome over the last seven minutes of the game, down by 17 points.
No moral victories, yeah, but this was a positive performance for the Thunder as a whole, considering their situation.
SGA made up for a 9-of-24 shooting night with 14-of-17 shooting from the free-throw line, ending the game with 33 points, five rebounds, and five assists. Lu Dort got off to a quick start in the first quarter, scoring eight points, had a slow second quarter where he didn’t score but finished the game with 19 points and eight rebounds. However, the biggest bright spot for the Thunder and the only plus in the plus/minus column for OKC was Aaron Wiggins. The No. 55 pick of this summer’s NBA Draft, who finished with 14 points, five rebounds, one block, and one steal in 26 minutes.
The Thunder have fallen to (12-21) on the season and currently hold the fourth-best odds in the draft lottery. They’ll get a chance to avenge their loss from last week to the Pheonix Suns tomorrow night in Phoenix, presumably without a significant amount of their team once again.