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Shai Gilgeous-Alexander Shines in Canada's Win

Oklahoma City's star showed no signs of rust in his return to the court.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s first national team appearance in six years didn’t disappoint.

The Thunder star exploded for a game-high 32 points in Canada’s commanding 95-75 win over the Dominican Republic. SGA’s first game of the summer was an encouraging sign for the young star ready to prove he belongs with the NBA’s best.

His last game in a Thunder uniform was a 31-point effort against the Celtics all the way back in March. Before the Canadian went down with an injury, he had scored over 30 points in seven-out-of-nine games. Questions about his injury lingering or having any long term effects were put to rest quickly. He picked up right where he left off, scoring points in bunches and heating up from downtown.

Gilgeous-Alexander drilled five 3-pointers, displaying noticeable improvement in an area he struggled in last season. If he can find his shooting stroke, it’s going to make Oklahoma City a lot more dangerous next season. He dipped to just 30% from long range last season, with some of that due to difficulty of shots taken. SGA drew double-teams at an impressive rate, and continued to find ways to score.

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His improvement in the catch-and-shoot department is crucial for the Thunder. The backcourt struggled from downtown at times with Josh Giddey and Lu Dort in the mix too, making Gilgeous-Alexander’s leap as a shooter even more important.

The 24-year old was also active on the defensive end, recording three steals and two blocks. He was in passing lanes and many of his disruptions led to points on the other end. Gilgeous-Alexander also added five points and five assists, while recording a plus-29 on the night.

With the FIBA World Qualifiers and NBA Summer League kicking off, it’s an exciting time to be a Thunder fan. There seems to be talent all over the world to follow along with this off season. Gilgeous-Alexander is locked into Oklahoma City’s core long-term, and has improved every year he’s been in the league. His year-five improvement will determine the direction of the Thunder’s season.

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