Luguentz Dort and the Thunder Crush the Spurs 131-103
The Oklahoma City Thunder couldn't have picked a more appropriate night to break out their Statement Uniforms. After losing to the Spurs during a roller coaster homestand almost two weeks ago the Thunder came out and dominated that same Spurs team with a 131-103 win.
Most nights, you want to pick out at least one player who shines and write a story around their performance. On Sunday, the Thunder, who embodies the word team, had eight players in double digits. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Chris Paul and Steven Adams all had double-doubles, Paul was one rebound away from a triple-double.
If you have to pick one player out to shine a spotlight on its Luguentz Dort, Dort's 15 points (6 for 6 from the field) was just half of his story tonight. Much like Friday's game vs. Denver Dort was all over the floor, making hustle plays. With the Thunder down six in the second quarter, Dort stole the ball from Dejounte Murray and went the other way for a layup making the score 45-41 Spurs and Greg Popovich was forced to take a timeout.
Billy Donovan says, "Credit him for keeping himself ready like that and taking advantage of an opportunity that was presented in front of him."..."I always said the good Lord's gotta lot of great plans for a lot of different people certainly he was the recipient of keeping himself ready and falling into a great situation." Donovan also says that he knew as early as Summer League that Dort was an NBA defender.
Dort is still a two-way player, and it feels like it's only a matter of time before Sam Presti signs him to a full NBA contract. Is Dort concerned about using his 45 days in the association? "Right now, I'm just staying patient."..."It's a great organization, and they know what they are doing." While Dort may not be anxious, Thunder fans are. Two-way players can not participate in the playoffs. Dort's future rest squarely on the shoulders of Presti when the Thunder GM feels the time is right a deal will get done.
Now, back to Paul being one rebound short of a triple-double. Neither he or Donovan say they were aware of what his numbers were when he was taken out of the game with 8:25 left. Paul did jokingly say that's on Billy and "he won't let me be great." Paul also says he and Gilgeous-Alexander talked about how it had been a while since the Thunder had a game where they could rest.
Worth noting. Hamidou Diallo saw his first action in two games, Terrance Ferguson left with back issues after 9:30 seconds. Diallo finished the night with 6 points at 14:43 of playing time. Donovan said Saturday after practice that he has confidence in all his players to keep themselves engaged, even when they are not in the rotation. Diallo showed why Donovan has no issues in putting any of his players on the court.
Thunder Get a night off before heading to Chicago to play the Bulls, tipoff if Tuesday at 7 pm on Fox Sports Oklahoma. If the Thunder can pull off a win against the Bull that would be a team-record ninth straight win on the road.