The Oklahoma City Thunder were able to snap a three-game losing streak on Monday when they traveled to Portland on the second night of a back-to-back to take on the short-handed Blazers. The Thunder were led by their youth as OKC was missing two key veterans in Al Horford and George Hill. 19-year-old rookie Theo Maledon earned the first start of his career on Monday night in Portland.
The Oklahoma City Thunder were able to steal this win on the road behind the teams’ fantastic offensive outburst. The Thunder played their best game offensively of the season, putting on display Mark Daigneault’s long-term vision for this team. Helped by the shots actually falling, the Thunder accomplished everything that Daigneault’s system sets out to do. Not only did the team utilize the modern-day philosophy of a stretch five, but the Thunder also got out in transition, upped the pace, and moved the basketball extremely well within their offense. This generated great looks for the Thunder, especially beyond the arc.
Lu Dort absolutely embarrassed Damian Lillard in this game including a late-game block of Dame to seal the victory for the Thunder. While the star point guard did piece together 26 points, he did so on horrendous shooting numbers thanks to the stellar defense of the second-year guard. Dort adds Dame to his hit-less this year after frustrating and flustering Jamal Murray a week ago, and Donovan Mitchell earlier this season.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was electric in this game, the step-back 3’s, his attacks on the rim, getting to the line, fully put on display the All-Star level season he is having.
The best thing that happened on Monday was not the win, it wasn’t even all the shoe jokes I got to make on Locked on Thunder. The best thing that happened was Darius Bazley getting back on track.
As the Thunder started the seventh youngest night in NBA history their second year building block broke out of his offensive slump. Bazley poured in 19 points, got to his spots exceptionally well, and hauled down some clutch rebounds.
For a full deep-dive on this game including Mike Muscala’s career night, Kenrich Williams taking his game to the next level, and Isaiah Roby’s big game check out Locked on Thunder anywhere you get your podcasts.