NBA Basketball

Final 1 2 3 4 Tot
Atlanta 33 22 25 29 109
Oklahoma City 31 32 33 22 118
5:00 PM PT6:00 PM MT7:00 PM CT8:00 PM ET1:00 GMT9:00 6:00 PM MST8:00 PM EST5:00 UAE (+1)02:0020:00 ET7:00 PM CT0:00 , February 26, 2021
Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander leads guard battle as Thunder host Hawks

According to STATS
According to STATS

Atlanta Hawks at Oklahoma City Thunder

  1. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had a career-high 42 points on Wednesday. In his last three games, he has 100 points (33.3 ppg) and is shooting 64.0 percent from the field -- he and Jamal Murray are the only players to meet those marks over any three-game span this season.
  2. Danilo Gallinari had 38 points off the bench on Wednesday, second most by any player off the bench this season (Jordan Clarkson, 40), and most by any Hawks player off the bench in at least 30 years. He's the first player to make 10 threes off the bench since J.R. Smith in December 2009.
  3. Oklahoma City has gone 6-14 against Western Conference teams this season, 27th in the NBA, but has gone 7-5 against teams in the East. The Hawks are scoring just 109.3 ppg against teams in the West, compared to 116.3 ppg against Eastern Conference teams, the third-largest differential in the NBA.
  4. Oklahoma City has won four of its last five against Atlanta, and since the 2009-10 season, the Thunder have gone 14-6 against the Hawks. The Thunder won the last meeting between these teams, 140-111, in January 2020 -- the Thunder have not scored more in any game since.
  5. Trae Young had 33 points last time out, and Atlanta is 9-0 this season when Young has had 33+ points. The next-closest team with an undefeated record when a player has 33+ points is the Lakers, who are 3-0 when Anthony Davis has 33+ points.
  6. The Thunder have gone 4-3 in their last seven home games, allowing 106.0 ppg in those games, after starting the season 1-7 in their first eight home games, allowing 123.6 ppg over those eight.

Luguentz Dort might've hit the game-winning shot for the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday in its win over San Antonio, but Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was the story of the game.

Danilo Gallinari had the monster game for Atlanta in its win over Boston, and Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce spent plenty of time raving about Gallinari after the game but also heaped praise on Trae Young.

The Oklahoma City point guard and the point guard from Oklahoma -- both in their third NBA seasons -- are two of the major focuses entering Friday's game between the Thunder and Hawks in Oklahoma City.

Gilgeous-Alexander is not only coming off a career game -- 42 points, eight rebounds and four assists in the win over the Spurs -- but has put together his best stretch of basketball in his career.

Over the last three games, Gilgeous-Alexander is averaging 33.3 points and six assists per game while shooting 64 percent from the floor and 64.7 percent from behind the 3-point line.

Thunder coach Mark Daigneault said that while Gilgeous-Alexander's 21-point third-quarter performance Wednesday was impressive, he was maybe even more impressed with the fourth quarter, during which Gilgeous-Alexander took just three shots and had one assist.

"He was spreading the ball all over the place. He was getting guys shots," Daigneault said, noting that several of those shots had been missed.

"The thing that's been most impressive is how he's matured as a game manager and how he's finding a balance between his own offense and helping the team function. ... He didn't get seduced by the points on the board. He just continued to make the right play."

While Gilgeous-Alexander's scoring is at a career high, Young's is down a bit from last season, when he was an NBA All-Star and averaged 29.6 points per game.

But Pierce said Young was making necessary adjustments to his game to continue to be successful.

"Trae's played unbelievable basketball," Pierce said. "It's simple. He's making some great reads. Teams are converging on our picks and rolls. He's making the skips; he's making some of the throwbacks; he's making some of the simple passes in front of him, and when he starts doing that ... he's going to soften the defense."

Young is averaging a career-high 9.5 assists per game and is averaging 11.3 over the last four games.

"The quicker he can punish people with the pass, they're going to have to soften their defense," Pierce said.

Young assisted on two of Gallinari's Hawks-record 10 3-pointers on Wednesday.

Young is still looking for his first pro win in his home state. The Hawks haven't won in Oklahoma City since 2016.

The Hawks continue to battle injuries, with Bogdan Bogdanovic, Kris Dunn and De'Andre Hunter out with long-term injuries. Dunn has yet to play this season, Bogdanovic hasn't played since Jan. 9 and Hunter since Jan. 29.

Lately, Atlanta has also been without Cam Reddish, who has missed the last two games with a sore right Achilles.

--Field Level Media

Updated February 25, 2021

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