The Thunder falter in the fourth to lose 80-65 to the Pelicans.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Then, it was just downright unwatchable.
With Josh Giddey being ruled out for the game with a sprained left ankle, the Thunder were going to need some guys to step up to have a chance tonight. Many thought that 2nd year player Theo Maledon was the likely candidate, but he came crashing back down to Earth. Theo finished with 5 points (2-11 shooting), 4 rebounds, 3 assists (5 turnovers).
The next guy many would have expect was Jeremiah Robinson-Earl. While he didn’t necessarily struggle, he also didn’t necessarily pop. JRE finished to the tune of 8 points (3-6 shooting, 2-4 from deep), 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals and a block to boot.
Tre Mann? While he had some moves that would leave the Professor scratching his head, and flashed his athleticism by hanging in the air to absorb contact, the man just couldn’t get the lid off the basket. He stuffed the stat sheet with 12 points, 7 assists, 6 rebounds, 1 steal and 1 block, but on his trip to the bucket store he was told “Sorry bud, we’re all sold out.” He finished the game with 4-15 shooting, 0-2 from deep and all was pretty much off of an open look or massive separation. When he can finally hit his shots, he is going to be a real problem.
No, it was none of those guys. It was the best darn A. Wiggins in the NBA; Aaron Wiggins. While his stats left a bit to be desired, not showing the efficiency he had in game 1 (16 points on 7-16 shooting, 1-7 from deep), he was able to carry the teams scoring load in the 2nd and 3rd quarters. Particularly in the 2nd, where he rattled off 9 straight points by himself. Given he is a 2 way player, it will be interesting to see how he can hone his game, because like the Thunder likely see; there is clearly something there.
OKC plays the Warriors on Friday, so prepare for your timeline to be filled with Thunder fans shaking their fists angrily saying “We should have drafted Kuminga/Moody instead of Giddey!”.
Just a fair warning.