A shorthanded Oklahoma City Thunder squad hung tough for a half in Atlanta.
Without their talismanic point guard, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, the Thunder finished the first half down just six points to the Atlanta Hawks.
But a third quarter onslaught buried OKC, as the Hawks blasted OKC 27-11 after the break to coast to a 113-101 victory at the State Farm Arena on Monday night.
In the face of the poor third quarter showing, Thunder rookie Jeremiah Robinson-Earl said the team is going to use it as a learning moment.
"We're just going to continue to get better and communicate," Robinson-Earl said after the game. "... We're just going to get back to work and worry about the next game."
In the absence of Gilgeous-Alexander, Josh Giddey slid back to his natural position of point guard, and he had a nice night pulling the strings for the Thunder offense.
"Josh did a really good job of kind of controlling the game," OKC interim head coach David Bliss said after the game. "... It's easy to look at the numbers and evaluate that, but learning game management, where to attack, how to attack and stuff, that takes time. But he's really picking that up well."
Though he fell short of a triple-double, Giddey finished with 15 points, seven rebounds and eight assists, and was a massive part of why the Oklahoma City offense was so free-flowing in the first half.
"It was fun," Giddey said after the game. "I enjoyed it.
"... It's a learning experience... Still learning and still trying to grow."
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Where the Thunder offense really failed them was their 3-point sharpshooting.
OKC shot a measly 26.3 percent from deep, converting just 10-of-38attempts from deep.
Oklahoma City’s ice-cold shooting from deep paired with the Hawks drilling 41.2 percent of their 3’s proved to be too much for the young Thunder squad without their best player.
The Thunder were unable to pick up the slack on the other end of the floor, as they allowed six different Hawks to score in double figures, including a massive 30 point performance from Atlanta superstar Trae Young.
Despite the poor third quarter performance, OKC never quit.
The loss was all but confirmed heading into the fourth quarter, but the Thunder still outscored the Hawks 30-20 over the final 12 minutes, battling until the end on the road against a resurgent Atlanta team.
In support of Giddey, Ty Jerome, Aleksej Pokusevski and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl all got into double figures themselves.
Jerome and Pokusevski both added 15 points, while Robinson-Earl finished with 13 points after knocking down 2-of-5 from deep.
"It was a fun night," Giddey said. "We didn't win, but as a team I still think we're growing and we're headed in the right direction."
The Thunder will return home on Wednesday night to host the Utah Jazz. Tip-off from the Paycom Center is scheduled for 7 p.m.