Player grades: Thunder swat Hornets in 126-106 win

OKLAHOMA CITY — Sidestepping for the 3-pointer, Aaron Wiggins knocked down the outside shot in the waning seconds of the third quarter to give OKC a 33-point lead.

No funny business was involved in the Oklahoma City Thunder’s 126-106 blowout win over the Charlotte Hornets.

Entering the contest, the Thunder were heavy favorites as the Hornets were on the complete opposite side of the competitive spectrum — OKC is a contender while Charlotte eyes lottery odds.

In the Thunder’s wire-to-wire win, they quickly built a 39-19 lead following the first quarter. A 34-point second frame saw OKC enter halftime with a comfortable 73-42 lead.

The second half was much of the same story as a 32-point third quarter saw OKC enter the final frame with a decisive 33-point lead. None of the starters played in the fourth quarter as the result of the contest was well-known by then.

In one of their best offensive outings of the season, the Thunder shot 59% from the field and went 17-of-36 (47.2%) from 3. OKC dished out 31 assists on 44 baskets.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander tallied 31 points in three quarters. Chet Holmgren had 16 points and six rebounds. Five players scored double-digit points.

Meanwhile, the Hornets — who were without LaMelo Ball — were limited to 45% shooting from the field and 14-of-31 (45.2%) from 3

Rookie standout Brandon Miller led the way for the Hornets as he had 28 points on 11-of-19 shooting and went 5-of-8 from 3. Miles Bridges was limited to nine points on 3-of-16 shooting.

After an awful loss to the Detroit Pistons less than a week ago, the Thunder rebounded and handled business against a basement dweller. OKC showing out the first three quarters afforded them the luxury to sit out the starters in the final frame.

Let’s look at Thunder player grades.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: A-plus

Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports
Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

It was another 30-point outing for Gilgeous-Alexander as he only needed three quarters to reach that mark.

In 30 minutes, Gilgeous-Alexander had 31 points on 11-of-15 shooting, nine assists, three rebounds, five steals and three blocks. He shot 8-of-10 from the free-throw line and was a game-high plus-34.

The Hornets had no answer for Gilgeous-Alexander, who toyed with Charlotte’s backcourt all game long with easy drives to the basket. With such a massive lead for most of the game, he didn’t need to take over.

The 25-year-old almost collected the rare five-by-five stat line but sat out the final frame as OKC collected a lopsided win. The extra rest is always beneficial for the All-Star starter.

Chet Holmgren: B-plus

Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports
Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

Considering the lack of center talent with Mark Williams out, Holmgren made easy work of the Hornets to turn in another impressive performance.

In 23 minutes, Holmgren had 16 points on 5-of-9 shooting, six rebounds, three assists and two blocks. He shot 3-of-6 from 3 and 3-of-4 from the free-throw line.

The 21-year-old played within the flow of the offense and was on the receiving end of plenty of quality looks throughout the game. On defense, Charlotte never discovered a rhythm or threatened to come back.

He sat out the final quarter and received much-needed rest after a hectic January.

Cason Wallace: B-plus

Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports
Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

Starting in place of Williams, Wallace continues to show his worth as someone who can seamlessly fit in with the starters when needed.

In 25 minutes, Wallace had 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting and two rebounds. He shot 2-of-4 from 3. Like the rest of the starters, he sat out the final frame.

The 20-year-old helped limit Charlotte’s biggest scoring threat as Bridges had nine points on 16 shots. It was a good showing for Wallace who continues to be the Thunder’s unofficial sixth starter.

Ousmane Dieng: B

Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports
Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

Playing a healthy amount of minutes, Dieng took advantage of his chances against the lowly Hornets.

In 20 minutes, Dieng had 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting, four assists and two rebounds.

The second-year wing showed out early with a dunk and 3-pointer in the first quarter. In the fourth quarter, he collected additional stats during the inconsequential quarter.


Story originally appeared on Thunder Wire