The Oklahoma City Thunder opened up the second half of the season by taking on the short-handed Dallas Mavericks, the Mavs were without Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis in this one. The OKC Thunder were down George Hill, Darius Bazley, Hamidou Diallo, and Josh Hall in this game.
The Thunder once grew a 21-point lead in this game, before Dallas made a few runs to get back in it, even being down three possessions as recently as the two-minute mark in the 4th quarter. The Mavericks and Thunder exchanged leads four times in this one, all coming in the early stages of the first frame before the Thunder dominated the rest of the way.
Aleksej Pokusevski earned the first start in his career, and Poku did not disappoint. In his 29-minutes, Poku posted 14 points including four points from the free-throw line! His first four free throw attempts of his NBA career found the bottom of the net. The 2020 First Round Pick, hauled in eight rebounds, dished out three assists, and not only had what felt like a game-sealing block, but hit the dagger 3 to officially put this game to bed. Poku was 2-for-6 from beyond the arc.
The 19-year-old looked a lot more comfortable and under control, in his first game back from the G-League Bubble.
Along with being a starter in this game, another thing that helped Poku and other young players earn valuable minutes tonight was Mark Daigneault’s decision to not play Mike Muscala, Darius Miller, and Justin Jackson. Watching how Mark Daigneault balances the rotation the rest of the way will be huge. The Thunder have a ton of players who desperately need minutes, especially if they are fully healthy.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander once again was the story in this game, the 22-year-old All-Star snub went for 32-points, six assists, two rebounds, and a steal. SGA went 9-for-9 from the line and shot 50-percent from the floor. SGA was being doubled and tripled team this entire game, especially at the end.
Even as opposing teams are game-planning for him, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is still not only able to make his imprint on games, but absolutely dominate them. Once again, SGA was the best player on the floor.
Al Horford poured in a solid 21-points going 4-for-5 from beyond the arc, hauling in nine rebounds, handing out two assists, and swatting a pair of shots.
Moses Brown, in his return from the G-League Bubble, posted eight points in nearly 20-minutes while collecting 12 rebounds and swatting a shot.
The Thunder will now play a pair of 1 p.m. games starting Saturday against the New York Knicks in Oklahoma City. We will have the game preview, recaps, and coverage for you at Bricktown Buckets!