“When your leader is not flustered and under control out there, it’s a spiral effect,” Josh Giddey said, via Andrew Lopez of ESPN. “Guys see that and feed off it.”
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 32 points in the game, with 25 of those coming in the second half, propelling the Thunder to the win. Josh Giddey had 31 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds in the game. Giddey praised Gilgeous-Alexander’s mindset after a rough first half.
“It would have been easy for him to come out of halftime pressing, trying to get his game going, but he let it come to him naturally,” Giddey said, via Lopez. “He finished with  after a tough first half. That just speaks to how good of a player he is.”
The Pelicans were trying to deny Gilgeous-Alexander as much as possible, but Giddey said the Thunder was prepared to deal with that.
“I think you guys could tell we were ready to play out the double-teams and try to make them pay every time,” Giddey said.
Gilgeous-Alexander has experience playing in the NBA Playoffs with the Los Angeles Clippers, before he was traded to the Thunder. He spoke about using that experience to lead his team.
“I try to lead by example for sure,” Gilgeous-Alexander said. “I have played in some playoff series before. I got a little bit more experience than the rest of the guys on the team. I just wanted to come in here and show them that, no matter what, it’s still basketball at the end of the day. You still gotta do certain things to win the game throughout. They picked up on it really good to me.”
The Thunder are seeing benefits of the Paul George trade with the Clippers now, they will play the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday to try to earn the eight seed for the Western Conference in the NBA Playoffs, and are doing this without first-round pick Chet Holmgren.
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