Shai Gilgeous-Alexander leads OKC Thunder past Cleveland CavaliersShai Gilgeous-Alexander kept the Thunder afloat in quarters one through three. Then in the fourth, it was effort from the likes of Josh Giddey, Kenrich Williams, Aaron Wiggins and Jalen Williams that carried the Thunder to a 112-100 win Friday against the Cavaliers. The Thunder shot 53% against the league’s No.
Not gonna be overly judgmental of his play until he gets to that point. ” - It’s up to the NBA’s 30 coaches to vote for the All-Star reserves. Daigneault was asked about his process. “You’re putting me in one of those situations where I have to choose between lying and telling the truth, and I’m gonna tell the truth. (Thunder PR chief) Matt Tumbleson, who has way more of a pulse on the NBA globally, makes a suggestion, and then we talk about it and I’ll chime in and disagree or agree, and then we submit it. ” - Jalen Williams and Jaylin Williams combined to shoot 5-of-5 from 3-point range.
3 points on 48% shooting in his first season with the Cavs. More:Why Thunder's Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has NBA All-Star starter case over Stephen CurryThunder tip-ins- Daigneault on Ousmane Dieng, who was a minus-11 in his 10 minutes: “He was on such a good track prior to getting hurt, and now we’ve gotta work with him and he’s gotta work to get his rhythm back and kinda get himself back to zero.
- Jaylin Williams howled after both of his makes. He doesn’t lack for emotion. - It was aerospace night at the arena. That explained why Rumble the Bison wore a space suit. - Cleveland center Robin Lopez, always up for some mascot shenanigans, had a stare off with Rumble. When Rumble tried to make peace with a handshake, Lopez draped a towel on Rumble’s head. - Daigneault was whistled for a technical in the first quarter.
” The Thunder didn’t reach that point Friday. Cleveland’s Donovan Mitchell, OKC’s Lu Dort outLu Dort’s defense vs. Donovan Mitchell’s offense always makes for a fun matchup, but both were out Friday. Dort was sidelined with a right hamstring strain and Mitchell with a left groin strain. Kevin Love (lower back spasms), Ricky Rubio (ACL recovery) and Dylan Windler (right ankle sprain) were also out for the Cavs, who were playing on the second night of a back-to-back after winning in Houston on Thursday. Before Friday, Dort had played in 47 of the Thunder’s 48 games. He leads the Thunder in games played and is second to Gilgeous-Alexander in total minutes. “We’re certainly gonna miss him and the two illegal screens he would’ve drawn, ” Daigneault said before the game. Mitchell, who was named an All-Star starter on Thursday, is averaging 28.
” The evidence does point to an 82-win pace when Wiggins starts. Wiggins had 10 points, seven rebounds, two assists and two steals, but forget the box score stats. You only have to watch Wiggins play to see his impact. He gave Mobley fits in the fourth quarter despite giving up seven inches on the Cavs power forward. Wiggins doesn’t carry himself with the same bravado as Kenrich Williams, but Wiggins is like Williams in a lot of ways. Williams, by the way, was excellent in the fourth quarter. Through three quarters, Williams had zero points and two rebounds in eight minutes. Then in the fourth, Williams played all 12 minutes.
He had seven points and five rebounds in the quarter, with all kinds of Kenrich Williams hustle plays mixed in. “He’s a warrior, ” Daigneault said. “Regardless of how he’s playing or what he’s doing, you know you can count on K-Rich for energy, ” Giddey said. Both Kenrich Williams and Aaron Wiggins were a plus-eight in their minutes. OKC battles Cleveland's bigsThe Thunder and Cavs are opposites in some ways.
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” Rookie Jalen Williams hit a pair of back-breaking 3-pointers in the fourth quarter. Those shots elicited roars from Thunder fans. It might have been the best crowd of the season. The Thunder (24-25) has already matched its win total from last season. More:How Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Josh Giddey are meshing in OKC Thunder backcourtThe Aaron Wiggins and Kenrich Williams effectWhen should a trivial stat start to be taken seriously? Aaron Wiggins started Friday, and the Thunder won. OKC is 8-0 when Wiggins starts, yet he has more DNPs (11) than starts. “I’m just gonna keep doing it forever, ” Daigneault said sarcastically. “I’m predicting an undefeated run.
OKC plays at the third-fastest pace in the NBA. Cleveland plays at the slowest. The Thunder lacks size in the frontcourt. The Cavaliers have a pair of skyscrapers in Mobley and Allen. Jeremiah Robinson-Earl and Aleksej Pokusevski started in the Thunder’s frontcourt in the first meeting with the Cavaliers, but both of those guys are injured. Friday, Jalen Williams and Jaylin Williams started in the Thunder’s frontcourt. That’s Jalen from Santa Clara at power forward, guarding Mobley. And Jaylin from Arkansas at center against Allen.
1 ranked defense, but the game was a slog early on against the slow-it-down Cavs. Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen are defensive monsters down low, and it looked like all but Gilgeous-Alexander was struggling with Cleveland’s length. “I just try to make the best basketball play, ” Gilgeous-Alexander. Easy enough. SGA scored 16 of the Thunder’s 27 points in the first quarter. He finished with a game-high 35 points on 12-of-21 shooting. He was 10-of-11 from the foul line. There were moments when the Cavaliers, Isaac Okoro specifically, could not have defended him better. Gilgeous-Alexander would get into the teeth of the defense with seemingly nowhere to go, but then he’d hit a fallaway jumper or bait somebody into a foul.
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