Josh Giddey’s Historic Triple Double Not Enough To Lift The #ThunderUp Past The Mavericks; Here Are The 3 Reasons They Weren’t Able To Win – BlackSportsOnline
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Josh Giddey’s Historic Triple Double Not Enough To Lift The #ThunderUp Past The Mavericks; Here Are The 3 Reasons They Weren’t Able To Win

Oklahoma City – The Thunder hosted the Mavericks in their first game of 2022 and looked to start the new year the same way they ended 2021, with a W.

The last time the Thunder saw this team they were missing their best player Allstar Luka Doncic and he returned to the court tonight for the first time in about three weeks. It was going to be a little tough for the Thunder though because they were missing Shai Gilgeous-Alexander due to being in covid protocols along with Tre Mann, Jeremiah Robinson Earl, and Darius Bazley and were also missing Lu Dort due to injury.

Thankfully, they got back Rookie of the Year candidate Josh Giddey from covid protocols after he missed the last three games.

Coming into the game, it was given the offense was going to look a little sluggish given they were missing five of their top seven scorers. Surprisingly though, it didn’t look as bad as anyone would think. The player and ball movement was good for most of the night minus a few minutes in the second quarter and they didn’t shoot the ball horribly. Really just didn’t have enough scoring to match the Mavericks because their defense was spectacular. Especially on Luka. Aaron Wiggins got that assignment and he did a fantastic job on him making his night extremely harder. There aren’t many guys who have defended him better than what Aaron did tonight.

That’s not the story of the night though. It’s all about Josh Giddey. The rookie became the youngest player in NBA history to record a triple double. At the age of 19 years and 84 days, he passes LaMelo Ball to become the youngest with the stat line of 17 points, 14 assists, and 13 rebounds. Giddey only cares about getting a win and that has been consistent all year, but it is a really remarkable accomplishment.

You think about all the great NBA players that have came through the league and none have done it at a younger age than him. He, the Thunder organization, and Thunder fans should be extremely proud about the accomplishment. It’s a great sign of how special he can be with more time in the league.

They did lose the game though despite a 4th quarter rally.

Here are the 3 reasons they lost:

1) Was There A Lid On The Rim?

The Thunder aren’t that good of a three point shooting team so they have to live in the paint. Teams are going to try and take that away though and that’s exactly what the Mavs tried to do all night. It wasn’t a horrible night in the paint for the Thunder because they still had 46 points there and they shot 46.9% in the paint but it should have been way more. The shots they missed were easy layups and could have really turned the game. I mean, Poku had a wide open dunk that he missed. It was just that kind of night. Had they been able to convert more shots at the rim particularly, they could have very well came out on top.

2) Where Was The Aggressiveness?

The Thunder only took 9 free throws tonight. That’s not that surprising given they were missing most of their top scorers and particularly Shai but they have to be more aggressive at getting to the line. It’s the second least amount of free throws they’ve taken in a game and only the second time they’ve taken less than 10 in a game. Neither team got to the line much and it was somewhat of a physical game but those little things like that can win a team the game. Especially in a game where they were -12 from the three point line and lost by 9. Getting to the line could have offset that number enough to win them the game.

3) Not Nearly Enough Scoring

This is a little of a copout but the Thunder truly didn’t have enough scoring tonight. As mentioned above, they were without five of their top 7 scorers. If one is in the lineup the Thunder could have won this game because their defense was there. Held the Mavs to only 95 points which is for sure good enough to win the game. The scoring just wasn’t there. Mainly at times when no one could get a shot to go in. They could have for sure used Shai but Tre Mann or Lu Dort would have also helped because both of those guys are sparks to the offense. They just needed a little more than what they had. When you think about it, pretty much everyone did what they were supposed to do but needed someone to step up just a little more.

The Thunder were led by Josh Giddey who, as stated above, became the youngest player in NBA history with a triple double with 17 points, 14 assists (which is a new career high), 13 rebounds, and 4 steals (which tied his career high). What a night from him despite the loss. Aaron Wiggins pushed his 10+ points streak to 5 with 10 points and 5 rebounds and played some great defense on Luka. Isaiah Roby added 12 points and 4 rebounds in his expanded opportunity while Ty Jerome also added 12 points. Aleksej Pokusevski got the start and put in 9 points and 5 rebounds while Theo Maledon had 8 points and 3 steals off the bench while Kenrich Williams also off the bench had 9 points.

The Thunder will look to get their first win of 2022 on Wednesday night on the road against the Wolves.

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