Thunder surprises Sixers in shocking 133-114 road win

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If only this game was on national TV.

In their most impressive road win of the season, the Oklahoma City Thunder were able to blowout the Philadelphia 76ers, 133-114.

To provide context, the Sixers were 13-3 in their last 16 games and had the third-best net rating at 8.8 during that stretch. In their last game, the Sixers scored 147 points in regulation in a blowout win against the Detroit Pistons, On the entire season, the Sixers ranked third in defensive rating at 110.2.

Heading into this game, the Sixers had a clean bill of health, not listing any injuries on their injury report.

This should’ve been a Sixers win. Instead, the Thunder continues to pull surprises out of their hat and had an offensive explosion a game after struggling to score.

Despite missing essentially their entire frontcourt, the Thunder were able to outscore the Sixers inside the paint, 52-44. The Thunder also enjoyed a hot shooting game as they went 14-of-32 (43.8%) from 3.

The Thunder also had a busy night from the charity stripe, as they shot 31-of-33 (93.9%) from the free-throw line. An increased improvement from their last game.

Following a quick 13-0 Sixers’ run to start the third quarter, the Thunder’s lead suddenly evaporated and it felt like momentum was heading towards the home team.

Instead, the Thunder — who have the best third-quarter net rating in the league at 13.9 — were able to outscore the Sixers 32-9 to finish the third quarter.

For the Sixers, Joel Embiid and James Harden headlined the loss. Embiid finished with 30 points and 10 rebounds. Harden finished 24 points and 15 assists.

The Thunder also went toe-to-toe against the Sixers in the fourth quarter and were able to win the quarter by three points. The did an excellent job at stomping out any hopes of a Sixers comeback win.

Alas, the Thunder will only get to enjoy this win for less than a day as the Thunder play the second night of a road back-to-back against the Chicago Bulls on Friday, Jan. 13.

Let’s take a look at Thunder player grades.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: A+

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

If only Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had this performance on TNT to improve his All-Star voting.

Gilgeous-Alexander was fantastic against the Sixers and finished with 37 points on efficient 10-of-16 shooting and went a perfect 16-of-16 from the free-throw line.

A slow start did not hurt Gilgeous-Alexander this time around as he scored 13 points in the first quarter. Gilgeous-Alexander was able to tame any shot of a Sixers comeback in the fourth quarter as he scored 10 points with eight points coming from the free-throw line.

After scoring a season-low 14 points in his last meeting against the Sixers on New Year’s Eve, Gilgeous-Alexander cracked the code this time around by spamming drives to the basket and getting to the free-throw line at a frequent level.

Josh Giddey: B+

Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The shot didn’t necessarily fall for Josh Giddey to start the game, as he had nine points on 3-of-8 shooting in the first three quarters.

Giddey struggled to muscle his way into the rim and settled for a lot of floaters and jumpers. Just like most of the league, Giddey wasn’t able to work his way around Joel Embiid.

Inside the paint, Giddey shot 5-of-9 for 10 points.

But a strong fourth quarter helped turn Giddey’s scoring game around as he scored 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting in 11 minutes.

In total, Giddey finished with 20 points on 7-of-14 shooting and went 5-of-5 from the free-throw line to go along with eight assists and four rebounds.

Jalen Williams: B

Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Thunder head coach Mark Daigneault didn’t want to commit to Jalen Williams being a permanent starter, but if he continues to play like he did against the Sixers, it’s hard to see that not happening.

In fact, I kind of feel like it’s already happened. Williams has started the last 16 games for the Thunder and 18 of the last 19 games.

Williams finished with 14 points on 6-of-11 shooting and went 2-of-3 from 3. Williams also had five rebounds and four assists.

Like most nights, Williams did most of his scoring near the rim, as he scored eight points on 4-of-6 shooting inside the paint.

Jaylin Williams: B-

Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

After not playing for eight days, Jaylin Williams was given the starting nod at center.

Williams turned in his best performance of the season as he finished with 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting, five rebounds and two assists.

This included the most impressive made shot of the season for Williams that saw him drive from the baseline and banked in a reverse layup.

The only negative for Williams is being a foul prone. In 18 minutes, Williams picked up five fouls. Considering he played against Embiid and Harden, two of the best foul drawers in the league, it’s hard to assign a ton of blame for Williams.


Story originally appeared on Thunder Wire

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