SGA game-winner steals spotlight from Damian Lillard in 123-121 win over Trail Blazers

With the 2022 All-Star voting opening up on Thursday, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander might benefit from recency bias.

In a tight, back-and-forth contest between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Portland Trail Blazers, Gilgeous-Alexander was able to hit the game-winning shot of a game that featured 13 lead changes and 13 ties.

Neither team had a lead larger than 10 points and the final minute saw four lead changes.

With three seconds left in the game, Gilgeous-Alexander was able to work his way with a single dribble to a 14-foot pullup jumper he swished in as the final buzzer sounded.

Despite the Thunder only having 10 players available, Gilgeous-Alexander was able to carry the team to their second consecutive win against a Western Conference playoff opponent.

In a night that saw Damian Lillard become the leading scorer in Trail Blazers history, Gilgeous-Alexander had all the attention to him as he once again hits another game-winner.

For the Trail Blazers, Lillard led the way with 28 points on 9-of-17 shooting and 6-of-12 from 3. Dame Time was fully activated as he scored six points in the fourth quarter. After receiving a warm welcome, Jerami Grant also contributed with 26 points on 10-of-18 shooting and eight rebounds.

Anfernee Simons finished with 19 points and Josh Hart had 13 points.

Let’s take a look at Thunder player grades.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: A+

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Shai Gilgeous-Alexander makes 30-point games look as effortless as tying your shoes.

After a slow start that saw him go a cold 2-of-12 from the field, Gilgeous-Alexander was able to turn it up and finish the game with 35 points on 10-of-24 shooting and went a perfect 14-of- 14 from the free throw line.

In the fourth quarter, Gilgeous-Alexander out-dueled Lillard as he scored 12 points on 4-of-7 shooting. This included his game-winning 19-foot jumper as he faded away from a contesting Brandon Williams.

It was Gilgeous-Alexander’s fourth game-winner of his career. The shot made the rounds on Twitter and that could help Gilgeous-Alexander gain momentum for a potential All-Star bid.

Jalen Williams: B+

Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

The unsung hero on Gilgeous-Alexander’s inbound pass was the person who had to pass him the ball — which was Jalen Williams in this case.

Josh Giddey is usually the inbound passer in those situations as his elite vision and passing skills give the Thunder an advantage. But with Giddey out, Williams was handed the important responsibility and was credited with the game-winning assist.

In 33 minutes, Williams finished with 13 points, seven rebounds and four assists. A solid night for the rookie wing making his second consecutive start out of necessity with the amount of players out.

Isaiah Joe: B

(Photo by Ian Maule/Getty Images)

The Thunder needed scoring and Isaiah Joe once again was able to provide some with his outside shooting.

In 23 minutes off the bench, Joe finished with 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting and 3-of-6 from 3. The Thunder outscored the Trail Blazers by 17 points when Joe was on the floor.

Mike Muscala: B+

(Photo by Ian Maule/Getty Images)

Everything that was said about Joe can be copied-and-pasted onto here with Mike Muscala.

The Thunder bench stepped up big time as Muscala scored 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting from 3. In 16 minutes, the Thunder were a plus-12 with Muscala on the floor.

Kenrich WilliamsA

Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

While he came off the bench, Kenrich Williams played starter minutes as he finished with 29 minutes — the fourth-most on the team.

Williams finished with 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting and grabbed four rebounds. The Thunder outscored the Trail Blazers by 18 points when Williams was on the floor.

The Thunder’s three-headed bench monster in Williams, Joe and Muscala were massive plus-minus darlings.


Story originally appeared on Thunder Wire

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