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Mark Daigneault explains decision to bench Josh Giddey in Game 5 loss to Mavericks

The Oklahoma City Thunder made the surprising move of benching Josh Giddey in favor of Isaiah Joe ahead of their Game 5 matchup against the Dallas Mavericks.

This marked the first time in Giddey’s career he’d come off the bench. It’s been a heavily-discussed possibility all series as the Mavericks have elected to ignore the 21-year-old from the perimeter, daring him to shoot shots.

Alas, the change in starters didn’t change much. The Thunder had another slow start and offensive woes continue to plague them. Joe had six points on 2-of-9 shooting.

Giddey actually had a decent game off the bench, racking up 11 points and three rebounds. In a comedic twist of irony, he was arguably OKC’s second-best player in their Game 5 loss.

Thunder head coach Mark Daigneault talked about the decision to bench Giddey, saying it was to give the rest of the starters more space to work with as the Mavericks would respect Joe’s outside shot.

“It gave us a chance to get back into some normal attacks on offense,” Daigneault said on the decision to bench Giddey. “Shake the game up a little bit with the opponent and try to generate some flow to start… It also gives Josh second-unit minutes to playmaker a little bit.”

So what changed between the first four games of this series and Game 5 to force Daigneault’s hand to make the lineup adjustment? He didn’t reveal the exact details but explained the timing of the choice.

“Considering all the information before every single game and treating every game as its own life, I just wasn’t comfortable doing it up until now,” Daigneault said. “At the end of the day I’m making a lot of different decisions. They’re not all gonna be right or wrong.”

The Thunder will try to strive off elimination as they head down to Dallas in a 3-2 series deficit. How OKC handles its starting lineup in that contest will be an interesting storyline to see unfold.

Story originally appeared on Thunder Wire