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Surprise! The Thunder played way over their heads in another close game. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was the only starter available for Oklahoma City this afternoon, as the team has begun prioritizing development and health on the court as much as they have on the roster.
Still, Memphis let OKC hang around all day, and a 12-point Grizzlies early in the fourth quarter became an 11-point Thunder lead as Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (30 points, 4-6 3P) and the Breakfast Club reserves buried Ja Morant and company with threes, layups, and free throws. Coach Mark Daigneault’s floor-raising style (competent defense and an efficient shot profile) once again bridged the gap between his team’s talent and their opponent’s: OKC was 16 for 31 from distance and 28 for 34 from the line as a team.
The threes rained down across the third-stringy roster from the likes of Darius Miller, Mike Muscala, and breakout darling Aleksej Pokusevski (23 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists on 7-13 FG, 5-8 3P).
The chess match between the Thunder front office hunting picks and players barely old enough to celebrate wins with alcoholic beverages rages on Tuesday in Chicago.