On Friday, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 38 points to lead the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 138-136 overtime win over the visiting Golden State Warriors. The Thunder have won three of their last four and nine of their last 12, while the Warriors have dropped 10 of their last 14.
Golden State led by seven midway through the third quarter before the Thunder roared back with a 22-8 run to take a five-point lead late in regulation. The Warriors then took the lead on a 3-pointer by Stephen Curry and looked poised to pull out a dramatic victory, but a controversial call in the final seconds forced overtime. The Warriors attempted to seal the game when Draymond Green fouled Thunder center Chet Holmgren while shooting a 3-pointer. Holmgren hit all three free throws to tie the game and force overtime.
In the extra period, the young Thunder players seized the game with some excellent defense and unselfish offense. Lu Dort and Josh Giddey helped Oklahoma City open up a significant lead with some nice passes. At the same time, Brandin Podziemski and Jonathan Kuminga offered some much-needed energy off the bench. Despite some late 3-pointers from Curry, it was too little, too late, and the younger Thunder held on to their fifth straight victory.
The win marked a milestone for the young Thunder, who entered the game with a 4-1 record and were tied with the Spurs at the top of the Western Conference standings. The Thunder have also won four of their last six road games, averaging 12.7 points, 6.3 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 2.5 blocks, and 1.5 steals per game over the stretch.
SGA, named the Western Conference Rookie of the Week for the second time this season, continues to impress with his playmaking and passing skills. He had 12 assists and six rebounds in the win over Golden State, his most productive outing of the year. His four 3-pointers in the first quarter tied his season high and were the most he had drilled in one quarter since January 2016.
SGA finished the night with 28 points on 12-of-15 shooting and added eight rebounds, two assists, and three steals. He was especially effective on the defensive end, where he helped contain the Warriors’ attack and made it difficult for them to run their sets. His two blocked shots were the most he’d had in a game this year, giving him 13 blocks in the last ten outings. The playmaker’s maturity is a significant reason he’s already been voted the league’s 2022-23 NBA Rookie of the Year. For now, he’s just trying to keep his momentum rolling. He was even cool under pressure during his post-game presser when an audience member emptied a cup of water on him. He wasn’t fazed and answered the fan’s question with a laugh.