Game 40 Recap: Thunder (23-17) def. Timberwolves (15-24) 117-104natashapanchal.com

Game 40 Recap: Thunder (23-17) def. Timberwolves (15-24) 117-104

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First things first: Shai Shucking Gilgeous-Alexander.

Now that I officially did not bury the lede, let’s put a pin in SGA and save the best for last. There are so many fun storylines and stat lines in this one that I want to cover them all before we go cray for Shai*.

Top 5 Crazy Stat Lines of the Game:

Honorable Mention: Terrance Ferguson. 14 points. Anytime TFerg hits double digits, it’s noteworthy.

5. Naz Reid. The Timberwolves undrafted rookie scored a team high 20 points in only 18 minutes, hitting 4 of 8 shots from long distance. The former LSU Tiger (topical!) was a 5 Star recruit in the same class as Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett. I had never heard of him before tonight and everything you just read is hot off the press of my google search.

4. Steven Adams. 13 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 blocks. We should be used to it now, as he’s averaging 3 assists on the year, but seeing Adams stuff the stat sheet with that nice round 5 dimes to go along with his double double and topping it all off with 3 stuffs is so satisfying. All in his season average of just 28 minutes.

3. Danilo Gallinari. 30 points on only 12 field goal attempts. Gallo’s true shooting percentage was a ridiculous 92%.

2. Andrew “Thunder Killer” Wiggins. A mere mortal 10 points. On a poor 4 of 12 shooting. Including 0 for 3 from 3 point range. A single rebound. A team worse -22 in 31 minutes. Most Thunder fans would’ve been happy if Wiggins only scored 40 points and only hit 2 game winners tonight. If Terrance Ferguson outscores Wiggins, who typically morphs into prime Jordan meets healthy Curry when he plays OKC, then I’ll take the Thunder’s chances 10 times out of 10.

1. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. He did it. SGA went full Westbrook. He snagged his first career triple double and did it in style with a boffo 20/20/10 line. How impressive was Shai’s night? Let us count the ways.

Youngest player to ever get a 20 rebound triple double, breaking Shaq’s mark.

Only the third guard in the past 25 years to post a 20-20 triple double, joining Russell Westbook and Ben Simmons.

Fourth second year player to post a 20-20 game, a feat achieved only by Shaq, Charles Barkley and Oscar Robertson.

The only guard to grab 18 defensive rebounds in the past 35 years.  

Notice something about the company he’s keeping? All Hall of Famers. Plus Ben Simmons, a young All Star.

We’ve wondered since the trade whether or not Shai was a star in the making. The more evidence that mounts, the answer becomes more and more clear.

* I googled and Twitter searched the phrase “Cray for Shai” and it has never once been said on the internet in any form. How is that possible? I would hereby like to copyright the phrase “Cray for Shai” and start a line of t-shirts, coming soon to Daily Thunder. You are all my witnesses so John Napier and Cray Allred can’t try to Mark Zuckerberg me.

Notes:

  • 10 bonus Thunder fan points awarded to you if you watched the OKC Thunder vs the Minnesota Wiggins game instead of the college football national championship.
  • Terrance Ferguson was feeling it early. He scored 6 of the Thunder’s first 12. TFerg has always been a confidence and rhythm guy. If he hits early, he’ll start putting up shots and can get hot.
  • And kudos to Ferguson for being the main reason why Wiggins only scored 10 points on 12 shots tonight. Nobody is talking about him in the sea of Shai tonight, but TFerg was excellent on both sides.
  • Small guards switched onto Gallo in the post brought out some impressively bad overacting from the Wolves on the same day the Academy Award nominations were announced. Much like Al Pacino and Joe Pesci were both nominated for The Irishman, I nominate Shabazz Napier and Josh Okogie for Best Supporting Flopper.
  • Shai’s step back 3 point shot is starting to look less like a fluke thing and more like something that’s gonna become a real weapon.
  •  “The Timberwolves need to start making some shots so the game is close enough in the 4th quarter for Shai to get these last 3 assists.” I forgot the ridiculous things I think of while rooting for a triple double.
  • Shai: 21 years old, $4 million a year.
  • Paul George: 29 years old, $35 million a year.
  • Dennis Schroder with an impressive stat line tonight as well: 14 points, 2 post game interview trolls, 2 water bottle showers, and 1 live on-air F Bomb.
  • Chris Paul hasn’t been mentioned once this whole recap. Just seems weird, so here’s a game note about Chris Paul.
  • We are halfway through the season, and the Thunder are only 2 spots behind the Clippers and 3 spots behind the Rockets in the Western Conference. Sam Presti just hit his prime.
  • Up next: Toronto on Wednesday. Pascal Siakam is back for the 4th place Raptors.