Thunder Journal: Shai's Shoulda Shot
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was robbed.
At this very moment, Shai should be having his praises sung by every NBA social media talking head with the captions “All Star” and “superstar” and “All NBA” above a retweeted video of his sick stepback should’ve been game winner vs the Bucks.
Shai should be being paraded through the streets of Bricktown on the shoulders of his Thunder teammates like the end of all those feel-good kids sports movies from the 1990s.
Shai should be eating the finest cut of meat on the house at Mickey Mantle’s Steakhouse, hand delivered on a silver platter by a direct descendant of The Commerce Comet.
SGA and Friends came back after being down double digits once again to force overtime against Milwaukee. With just .6 seconds left on the game clock, Shai juked Wesley Matthews and splashed a beautiful stepback 3 over Matthews’ outstretched hands. The Paycom Center decibel level went to peak Peake as Thunder fans proved Loud City is alive and well. It was a cherry on top shot after yet another SGA master class. Game over.
The likelihood of the Bucks winning with .6 seconds on the clock after Shai nailed that clutch should’ve been game-winning three has gotta be up there with the odds of Devonte’ Graham hitting the longest game winner in NBA history after Shai nailed a clutch should’ve been game-winning 3.
Brook Lopez was fouled (or was he?) by Lu Dort on the desperation lob attempt with .2 seconds left. He missed his first freebie (assist to the rabid, screaming Thunder crowd) and nailed his second. The game went to double overtime and OKC’s exhausted young group ran out of gas after exerting so much energy to fight back in the first place.
Some will place blame on Dort for the foul while others will fault the refs for making the call and yet others will hold Mark Daigneault responsible for not ensuring a big body was on Lopez in the first place. But the one person you can’t blame for this loss or any OKC loss this season is their All Star in training.
Shai deserved that game-winner and all the accompanying accolades. He has built a great amount of momentum in his campaign for a first All Star selection. National media has taken notice. He’s on a star trajectory. And a game-winner vs the 9-1 Bucks in overtime would’ve been another nice feather in his All Star cap. Instead, the box score simply says OKC lost their fourth straight game.
Ultimately, this loss just helps OKC accumulate more ping pong balls for Wemby or Scoot. And as SGA said in the postgame presser, “As much as this sucks, it’s just one game.”
And there were other notable storylines from this instant classic, or as close as an instant classic as you can come in a game between a rebuilding squad and a championship contender without its three best players. Josh Giddey had his best game of the season, punctuated by a flurry of offensive rebounds that led OKC’s furious comeback to send the game to overtime. Poku hit four straight 3 pointers, had a couple blocked shots and played some clutch post defense on Lopez. Tre Mann scored 21 points on the back of 5-9 shooting from downtown. The refs played a fun little game called “Let’s Just Guess The Rules of Basketball.”
But the biggest takeaway was taking away Shai’s game-winner.