The Oklahoma City Thunder were not able to overcome their offensive shortcomings against one of the best defenses in the league in the New York Knicks, which resulted in a 119-97 loss for OKC.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s absence grew more noticeable as the game progressed as the Thunder struggled on offense, which included a 16-point fourth quarter. OKC started off hot, scoring 31 first-quarter points, but that hot streak did not last long.
OKC was able to keep the game close through three quarters but played very sloppily in the final 12 minutes, which the Knicks took full advantage of that, extending their score. It did not do the game justice as OKC was in it for the majority of the game.
The Thunder specifically struggled from outside and ball security, shooting 8-of-32 (25.8%) from three and turning the ball over 18 times, which resulted in the Knicks taking 15 more shots than them.
OKC’s best players today were Lu Dort and Al Horford.
Dort scored 14 points and was able to draw plenty of shooting fouls as he went a perfect 10-of-10 from the free-throw line. Dort also took more of a playmaker responsibility with SGA out and finished with five assists.
“(Dort) made the right passes, he made the right reads,” said head coach Mark Daigneault after the game. “I thought he had a really good game.”
Horford scored 16 points with five rebounds. The Knicks are currently starting Nerlens Noel at the center, but if they want to make a push for the playoffs, they should definitely be interested in acquiring Horford during the deadline. Mitchell Robinson has been out with a broken hand since February.
The other starters were Theo Maledon, Aleksej Pokusevski, and Isaiah Roby.
Maledon scored 10 points but turned the ball over five times. Poku struggled shooting as he finished with four points on 2-of-11 shooting. Roby finished with 10 points and three assists but was a nonfactor this game as Moses Brown started the second half in his place, who finished with nine points and nine rebounds but fouled four times.
Off the bench, Ty Jerome, Kenrich Williams, and Justin Jackson scored double-digit points.
Jerome was great as he scored 11 points and had five assists; Jerome has been a nice piece off the bench since debuting for the season. Williams scored 13 points with three assists. Jackson scored 10 points.
It is noteworthy to point out that this is the second straight game that Mike Muscala has a DNP. Muscala is one of several veterans that the Thunder could potentially trade before the March 25 deadline. Perhaps this is the Thunder making sure Muscala stays healthy as he is having a great season off the bench.
Next Game: The Thunder play again Sunday at 1 p.m. against the Memphis Grizzlies.