Player grades: Thunder complete 16-point comeback win over Nets, 121-107

OKLAHOMA CITY — After a slow start saw them trail by as many as 16 points against the Brooklyn Nets, the Oklahoma City Thunder weaponized the 3-ball in the third quarter to take control of the game in a 121-107 win.

Led by Lu Dort, the Thunder shot 8-of-15 from 3 and went on to outscore the Nets 38-20 during the third quarter and flipped a 10-point halftime deficit into an 8-point fourth-quarter lead.

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“I thought the group did a great job at halftime just regrouping and taking a deep breath,” Thunder head coach Mark Daigneault said.

The Thunder solidified their comeback win with a 31-25 fourth-quarter advantage.

“We just kinda hung in there long enough for the game to turn and then did a good job at the end of the first half kinda cutting into it,” Daigneault said. “… I thought the most underrated period of that game is when you’re taking body shots and hanging in there and not getting knocked out.”

Outside of their third-quarter barrage from 3, the Thunder shot 3-of-18 from outside in the other three quarters of the game. Overall, the Thunder shot 11-of-33 (33.3%) from 3 in the win.


“They guarded us. That’s a good team,” Daigneault said about the Nets. “… That’s a tough team to beat.”

With the win, the Thunder have won three consecutive games and six of their last seven games. Led by their young quartet, the Thunder continue to declare themselves as a serious playoff contender.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Jalen Williams, Josh Giddey and Lu Dort combined to score 97 of OKC’s 121 points.

“Those guys did a great job,” Daigneault said.

The new-look Nets were led by the duo of Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson — who were both acquired from the Phoenix Suns in the Kevin Durant trade. Bridges finished with 34 points on 11-of-23 shooting while Johnson finished with 23 points on 7-of-13 shooting.


Let’s take a look at Thunder player grades.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: A+

Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

Aligning with the Thunder’s night, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander overcame a slow start to turn in another immaculate performance.

Gilgeous-Alexander finished with 35 points on 12-of-24 shooting and went 10-of-12 from the free-throw line. Gilgeous-Alexander also had four assists and seven rebounds in the win.

Getting smothered whenever he got near the paint, Gilgeous-Alexander was held to five points on 2-of-7 shooting in the first quarter. That quickly turned around though as he went on to score 30 points on 10-of-17 shooting for the remainder of the game.

Lu Dort: A

Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports


The catalyst for OKC’s game-changing third quarter, Lu Dort erupted for a season-high 24 points on an efficient 9-of-16 shooting and went 6-of-11 from 3. Dort also grabbed nine rebounds in the win.

Being white hot from outside, Dort scored most of his points in the third quarter as he added 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting from 3. With the Thunder trailing by double digits to start the second half, Dort provided the spark to ignite OKC’s run.

“Guys like that deserve nights like this,” Giddey said about Dort. “He brings it every game. He gets the job of guarding (the other team’s) best player… He got hot in that third quarter and really sparked that comeback for us.”

Josh Giddey: A-

Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports


Speaking of Josh Giddey, he also played a vital role in the Thunder’s 14-point win.

Giddey finished with 15 points on 7-of-19 shooting, 13 rebounds and 10 assists — his eighth career triple double and fourth of the season.

While the shot didn’t fall for him tonight, Giddey contributed in other ways to help the Thunder get the win. And although the scoring numbers don’t stand out, Giddey was timely with his buckets as seven of his 15 points came in the fourth quarter when the Thunder were closing out the win.

Jalen Williams: A

Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports


At this point, Jalen Williams has normalized these type of performances.

Against the Nets, Williams finished with 23 points on an efficient 8-of-10 shooting and went a perfect 6-of-6 from the free-throw line. Williams also grabbed down 10 rebounds and dished out three assists.

Williams did most of his scoring in the second half, where he scored 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting.

This included the dagger in the fourth quarter, where Williams poked the ball away from Mikal Bridges and sprinted for the and-one transition layup. After Williams completed the 3-point play, the Thunder’s lead grew to 15 points with 1:37 remaining.


Story originally appeared on Thunder Wire