NBA: SGA hails Thunder’s defence after West s/final Game 1 win over Mavericks

NBA: SGA hails Thunder’s defence after West s/final Game 1 win over Mavericks

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander waxed lyrical about the team’s mean defence in the playoffs following their 117-95 win over the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference semifinals series at Paycom Center on Tuesday night.

The top-seeded Thunder held the Mavericks to below 40% shooting from the field and below 35% from the 3-point line. They forced them to 15 turnovers while also edging the rebound game 52-39 as well as getting a game-tying eight blocks.

Gilgeous-Alexander, who led OKC with 29 points, nine rebounds, nine assists, and two blocks, hailed his teammates for both their individual and team defence that has held opposing teams to below 100 points in all five of their games this postseason.

“It’s where we hang our hat every night,” SGA said. Especially this late in the season, we know that if we want to win basketball games, that it’s going to start on that end.”

“Obviously, we have some really talented players on that end of the floor, but we also like to do it together and not just rely on those guys.”

Gilgeous-Alexander, who is an NBA MVP candidate this season, did not see off the Mavericks alone, as four of his teammates finished in double figures: Chet Holmgren finished with 19 points, seven rebounds, and three blocks; Jalen Williams got 18 points, five rebounds, and five assists; Jaylin Williams poured in eleven points and nine rebounds off the bench; and Aaron Wiggins finished with 16 points and five rebounds.

For Dallas, Luka Doncic, who was hounded all night by the Thunder’s defense, had 19 points, six rebounds, and nine assists; Kyrie Irving added 20 points; P.J. Washington finished with 11 points; and Daniel Gafford got 16 points, 11 rebounds, and five blocks.

The series will return for Game 2 on Thursday night in Oklahoma City, with the Mavericks looking to even the series, while the Thunder will be planning to take a 2-0 lead to Dallas.

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