This Anthony Davis quote shows how good Mark Daigneault was in Lakers game

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For the second matchup in a row, the Oklahoma City Thunder overcame a massive deficit to get the win over the Los Angeles Lakers, a team who entered the season as perhaps the favorite in the Western Conference.

The 107-104 win on Thursday had many elements to success, including Shai Gilgeous-Alexander heroics and strong play from role players including Darius Bazley and Derrick Favors, but after the game, Lakers big Anthony Davis pointed out another way the Thunder managed to flummox LA for the second game in a row.

He said it was as though the Thunder were anticipating the Lakers’ coverages.

That sounds like some high praise for Thunder head coach Mark Daigneault.

Over his year-plus as Thunder coach, Daigneault has not been put in position to win. The front office has been very public about the rebuild and need to get young players time on the court, which has resulted in moves such as shutting down Al Horford and waiving Kemba Walker.

But there have been obvious signs over the last year that Daigneault is a very good coach. Prior to Gilgeous-Alexander’s injury last season, the Thunder were 16-19, and Daigneault’s coaching was a big reason why they remained competitive for so long while the league expected them to fold quickly. During the dreadful second-half stretch, the Thunder publicly remained vocally upbeat, and the players’ messaging during press conferences often very closely resembled what Daigneault was saying, meaning his message was not lost on the team and they were not fading out his voice even during losing streaks.

When the full team is on the court, his adjustments have tended to be good. He was creative late last season with allowing Lu Dort and Darius Bazley to run the offense, and the losses seem to be due to talent difference, not coaching.

Because of the roster management and rebuilding, it’s been hard for Daigneault to flex his coaching muscles. But at the G League level he found success, and there have certainly been flashes at the NBA level.

Coming back from the 26-point deficit on Oct. 27 and then the 19-point deficit on Thursday may be the feather in his cap thus far in his NBA coaching career.

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