Hawks Thunder Basketball

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous- Alexander, middle, pushes past Atlanta Hawks defenders during Wednesday’s game in Oklahoma City. AP Photo

OKLAHOMA CITY — Down by three points with 14.1 seconds left, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had a chance to tie a high-scoring affair with the Atlanta Hawks.

On a drive to the basket, Gilgeous-Alexander was denied by Dejounte Murray on the first attempt. After grabbing the offensive rebound, Gilgeous-Alexander had another chance but missed the second shot.

On a night when buckets came easy, Gilgeous-Alexander came up with a pair of rare misses and the Hawks escaped with a 137-132 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

"I thought what lost us the game was controllable fundamentals on defense,” Thunder head coach Mark Daigneault said.

The Thunder scored 132 points on 53-of-102 (52 percent) shooting and 15-of-34 (44 percent) 3-point shooting. The Hawks scored 137 points in regulation on 50-of-84 (59 percent) shooting and 11-of-29 (37 percent) 3-point shooting.

The 137 points are the most allowed by the Thunder this season.

The loss drops the Thunder to 23-25 on the season. The Thunder continue to fight an uphill battle as they squandered another chance to reach a .500 record for the first time since being 4-4.

Here are three other thoughts from the Thunder’s five-point loss to the Hawks.

1. Gilgeous-Alezander, Trae Young face off

Wednesday’s game was headlined by the battle of fellow star guards from the 2018 NBA draft class.

Trae Young and Gilgeous-Alexander were both drafted the same year, as Young went No. 5 and Gilgeous-Alexander went No. 11.

Despite not being able to tie the game late and overcome a 15-point fourth-quarter deficit, Gilgeous-Alexander led the way for the Thunder with 36 points on 13-of-22 shooting and 9-of-10 shooting from the free-throw line. Gilgeous-Alexander also added seven assists and five rebounds.

26 of those points came in the first half, where Gilgeous-Alexander recorded a career-high for most points scored in the first half.

Young also had a good performance.

The former Sooner returned home and gave the crowd a show, finishing with 33 points on 10-of-20 shooting and went 10-of-11 from the free-throw line. Young also finished with 11 assists and three rebounds.

"He was on the gas. I thought he played really well,” Daigneault said about Young. “...I have a lot of respect for the way he played tonight.”

2. Both teams struggle defensively

The Thunder opened the game in a furry, scoring 43 first-quarter points. By halftime, the game was tied at 77 apiece.

By the end of the third quarter, both teams passed the 100-point mark with ease.

While it made for an entertaining basketball game, it’s likely not a recipe for long-term success to allow 137 points in regulation for the Thunder.

3. Ousmane Dieng returns

After missing the last six weeks with a wrist fracture, Thunder lottery-pick rookie forward Ousmane Dieng made his return to the NBA court on Wednesday.

It was ironic that Dieng made his return against the Hawks, the same team he played against on Dec. 5 before breaking his wrist.

In 11 minutes, Dieng finished with five points and two rebounds.

Up next: The Thunder play the second game of a three-game home stand against the Cleveland Cavaliers at 7 p.m Friday.

Clemente Almanza is a sports reporter intern for The Transcript. You can reach him via email at calmanza@normantranscript.com or on Twitter @CAlmanza1007

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