Amidst technical fouls, Thunder outscore KAT-less Timberwolves in 135-128 win

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In the midst of technical fouls, referee stoppages and high-octane offense, the Oklahoma City Thunder were able to defeat the Minnesota Timberwolves, 135-128, in a game whose length rivals the weekly SEC football game on CBS.

Defense was optional for both teams in this game as a huge scoring third quarter for both squads put them near the 100-point territory with a full quarter to go.

For the Thunder, they scored efficiently in a variety of ways. The Thunder shot 48-of-93 (51.6 percent) from the field and went 11-of-26 (42.3 percent) from outside. They were also frequent visitors to the charity stripe as they went 28-of-35 (80 percent) from the line.

A big reason why the Thunder took so many trips is because of the absurd five technical fouls handed to the Timberwolves. The normally-quiet Thunder also received three technical fouls of their own.

Tempers flared up after Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert intentionally tripped Thunder veteran Kenrich Williams in the second quarter. Williams, who is usually reserved, was rightfully upset at the cheap shot by Gobert and both needed to be separated.

In the end, Gobert received a flagrant two and was ejected while Williams received his second T of the season.

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Despite the absence of Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns, the Timberwolves offense had no trouble putting up points. The Timberwolves shot 47-of-89 (52.8 percent) from the field and 24-of-30 (80 percent) from the free-throw line.

The Timberwolves were led by their starting backcourt duo. Anthony Edwards scored 26 points while D’Angelo Russell scored 27 points. Off the bench, Jaylen Nowell scored 21 points and Naz Reid scored 13 points.

Let’s take a look at Thunder player grades from this seven-point win.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: A+


Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

After Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic tied with him for the league lead in 30-point performances earlier in the afternoon, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander retook the league a few hours later.

Gilgeous-Alexander finished with 33 points on 10-of-17 shooting and added six assists and three steals. Gilgeous-Alexander continues to get to the free-throw line with ease as he went a perfect 12-of-12 from the line.

The only complaint I have is that nine of his 12 trips came in the first quarter. It would be nice to see Gilgeous-Alexander get whistles more often in the final three quarters, but that’s not really his fault and is entirely up to the officiating crew, who were more busy handing out technicals tonight.

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Josh Giddey: A+


Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

This was probably Josh Giddey’s most well-rounded game of the season. Giddey finished with 21 points on 8-of-16 shooting, 12 rebounds, seven assists, two blocks and two steals. Giddey did most of his scoring damage in the second half as he scored 14 points on 5-of-11 shooting.

Giddey joins Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook as the only Thunder players in history to reach these marks.

Giddey also had his best outside shooting game of the season as he went 3-of-7 (42.9 percent) from three. For context, Giddey was 3-of-23 (13 percent) from three in his previous nine games.

Kenrich Williams: A


Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Kenrich Williams was the poster child of this game due to his incident with Rudy Gobert, but that shouldn’t take away from the fantastic performance he had off the bench.

Williams scored a season-high 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting and was a plus-12 in 21 minutes off the bench.

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Williams was huge for the Thunder in the fourth quarter as he scored seven points on a perfect three-of-three shooting and grabbed three rebounds in 11 minutes.

Jalen Williams: A


Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Trailing by four points entering the fourth quarter, Jalen Williams showed why he earned Rookie of the Month honors.

Williams led an all-bench lineup to a 10-6 run in the first three minutes of the quarter. All 11 of Williams’ points came in the fourth quarter as he went 4-of-4 from the field and dished out three assists.

Williams was a game-high plus-18 in his 27 minutes.

Jeremiah Robinson-Earl: A


Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

While it won’t be talked about as much as the previous four Thunder players mentioned, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl’s night was quietly solid — an encouraging sign for the second-year forward.

Robinson-Earl finished with 14 points on 5-of-11 shooting, seven rebounds, two assists and two steals. Robinson-Earl grabbed a career-high five offensive rebounds.

Robinson-Earl also had the best plus-minus among Thunder starters at plus-13 in his 29 minutes.


Story originally appeared on Thunder Wire

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