The NBA’s play-in match continued on Wednesday, with the 10-seedOklahoma City Thunderknocking off the nine-seedNew Orleans Pelicans on the highway.(SGA Thunder glimpse of future in play win over Pelicans) OKC will now faceMinnesotaon Friday with the eighth seed within the West on the road.
Listed here are FOX Sports activities authorJohn Fanta’stakeaways from Thunder-Pelicans:
The second-youngest roster in NBA historical past had already made sufficient strides within the 2022-23 marketing campaign to name it successful, with a window broad open for development transferring ahead. On Wednesday evening, combating for his or her season, the youngsters confirmed that the wait in Oklahoma Metropolis for a contender within the West won’t must be so long as initially anticipated presently a 12 months in the past.
The Tenth-seeded Thunder made a press release in New Orleans, turning the tables with a commanding third quarter and hanging on to get rid of the Pelicans within the NBA play-in match, 123-118. With the win, OKC advances to a Friday evening win-or-go matchup with the Timberwolves in Minnesota at 9:30 p.m. ET. The winner nabs the eight-seed within the West and a sequence with the top-seededDenver Nuggets.
The takeaway: The Thunder confirmed the NBA world, in an remoted TV window, that there’s a boatload of potential and upside with this group, and if this group is an element within the years to come back, Wednesday may very well be seen as a launching level.
Within the greatest spot of his NBA profession up to now,Shai Gilgeous-Alexanderwas unbelievable in closing time, posting a game-high 32 factors, eight of which got here within the closing 1:40. The 24-year-old, who’s in his fourth season in Oklahoma Metropolis, seemed predictably easy with the rock in a recreation that noticed the Thunder get to the rim at will, incomes 58 factors within the paint. SGA’s massive evening wasn’t a shock as a result of he’s posted over 31 factors per recreation on the season.
First off, it’s wild to suppose Giddey is 20 years of age after watching Wednesday evening’s recreation. The No. 6 total choose within the 2021 draft was an upside choice on the time, and all of us noticed why with the present he placed on in New Orleans, matching a career-high with 31 factors, to go together with 10 assists and 9 rebounds. Going an ideal 5-for-5 with 5 assists within the third, Giddey performed an enormous function alongside Gilgeous-Alexander’s 17 factors for the Thunder to outscore the Pelicans 39-24 within the body and open up a nine-point lead.
As for Dort, Wednesday evening got here off as a reward for all of these nights he’s put in for the group within the final 4 years. The 23-year-old posted a season-high 27 factors, developing with two clutch free throws to increase the lead again to 3 with six seconds left. SGA Thunder glimpse of future in play win over Pelicans
These play-in match video games imply various things for various groups and in getting eradicated, New Orleans helps its draft inventory following an underwhelming season. That’s for a distinct day.
Wednesday evening for the Thunder was about embracing the second, their core posting a collective most interesting hour and Oklahoma Metropolis arriving on the radar and lengthening its season 48 extra minutes. The poise of this Thunder group down the stretch was actually spectacular in a highway environment, with Ingram (30 factors, 7 assists) prepared his group and looking out like he couldn’t be stopped. However OKC simply stored on discovering methods to punch again, doing a fantastic job defensively within the closing minute and irritating McCollum all evening to the tune of 5-for-15 capturing.
Simply suppose: This leap of a season has come following the gut-punch piece of reports final August, when No. 2 total draft choose and proclaimed unicornChet Holmgrenwas dominated out for the whole thing of his rookie season with a Lisfranc harm to his proper foot.
Sam Presti needs to be smiling, as a result of his plan is taking form and he’s bought a core that’s solely scratched the floor. Oh, and Holmgren? The destiny of the group doesn’t hinge on him. He can actually speed up the construct even additional, however Presti owns 15 first-round picks over the subsequent 5 NBA Drafts. He’s sitting fairly, and the Thunder are nonetheless standing.
Two massive notes:
The No. 10 seeds entered Wednesday evening at 0-4 within the two earlier years of the NBA play-in match. That winless file isn’t any extra, as each theBullsand Thunder got here away with wins over theRaptorsand Pelicans, respectively.
Of curiosity: Street groups are 3-1 within the play-in match, and that determine may very well be simply be 4-0 had the Timberwolves not unraveled in Los Angeles. An indication of issues to come back as soon as the playoffs rev up in earnest? We’ll see.
John Fanta is a nationwide school basketball broadcaster and author for FOX Sports activities. He covers the game in a wide range of capacities, from calling video games on FS1 to serving as lead host on the BIG EAST Digital Community to offering commentary on The Discipline of 68 Media Community. Comply with him on Twitter @John_Fanta.