Player grades: SGA scores 31 points, not much else on offense in 105-101 loss to Pelicans

The Oklahoma City Thunder offensive woes continued on the road in a 105-101 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans.

After being one of the best offenses in the league for the beginning of November, ranking fourth in offensive rating from Nov. 9 to Nov. 25, regression has begun to hit the Thunder.

Against the Pelicans, the Thunder shot 34-of-92 (37 percent) from the field and went 12-of-38 (31.6 percent) from outside.

The saving grace for the Thunder offense was their ability to get to the free-throw line frequently. The Thunder went 21-of-23 (91.3 percent) from the charity stripe. 18 of the 23 free-throw attempts came from Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who is making it a knack to draw shooting fouls as the league leader in drives.

In fact, Gilgeous-Alexander was the only Thunder player who had any scoring going. Gilgeous-Alexander finished with 31 points; the rest of the starting lineup combined for 42 points. The next leading scorer for the Thunder was Lu Dort with 14 points.

Thankfully for the Thunder, the Pelicans also struggled to make shots. Zion Williamson led the way with 23 points on 11-of-18 shooting. Trey Murphy III scored 20 points and Jose Alvarado scored 15 points.

To highlight the night the Thunder had, Gilgeous-Alexander had a chance to tie or take the lead with 11 seconds left in a two-point deficit. As he began to move his way around Herb Jones, the defensive-minded wing fell to the ground and Gilgeous-Alexander was called for a controversial charge.

The call iced the game for the Pelicans and the Thunder lost their second-consecutive road game.

Let’s take a look at Thunder player grades.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: A-

Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Despite his shooting coming back to Earth in recent games, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander continues to keep up with his 30-point scoring pace due to his elite ability to get to the free-throw line.

On Monday, he scored 31 points on 7-of-21 shooting but shot 16-of-18 from the free-throw line. When the Thunder needed offense, Gilgeous-Alexander was the only viable option.

To the Pelicans’ credit, I thought they did as good of a job as any other team in limited Gilgeous-Alexander. Whenever he attempted to get in the paint, he was met with a flock of Pelicans that forced him to either kick the ball out or shoot a low-quality shot.

While the loss sucks, Thunder fans are breathing a sigh of relief that Gilgeous-Alexander was able to finish the game after a scary fall from biting for a pump fake in the fourth quarter saw him land awkwardly.

The Thunder aren’t in the clear yet though as Gilgeous-Alexander notably looked in pain the rest of the game. While it appears the Thunder dodged any serious injuries, we’ll have to see how Gilgeous-Alexander feels in the morning to see if they’re any short-term damage.

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Lu Dort: C

Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

It was a tale of two halves for Lu Dort.

In the first half, it was all bad for Dort as he scored just three points on 1-of-5 shooting. The second half was a different story though as he scored 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting.

Overall, Dort finished with 14 points on 6-of-13 shooting, five assists and three rebounds.

From an individual standpoint, this was a good game for Dort. But from a team standpoint, this is a poor offensive performance that the second-leading scorer had just 14 points.

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Jeremiah Robinson-Earl: B

Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Going into the game, it felt like Zion Williamson had a massive matchup advantage as he outweighed Jeremiah Robinson-Earl by 42 pounds and Aleksej Pokusevski by 94 pounds.

Instead, to their credit, Williamson was limited to 23 points on 11-of-18 shooting, eight rebounds and eight assists.

For Robinson-Earl, he finished with 10 points and 13 rebounds. Robinson-Earl continues to have a solid season.

While it came in a loss, Robinson-Earl did hit a big-time right-wing three to give the Thunder the lead with less than a minute to go. It was a big-time shot by Robinson-Earl that will likely get forgotten about due to the result of the game but I feel like he deserves credit for hitting it.

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Josh Giddey: C-

(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

After the first quarter, it felt like Josh Giddey was going to have an awesome scoring game.

In seven minutes, he scored seven points on 3-of-4 shooting. After struggling to finish around the rim, Giddey looked great on his scoring opportunities.

Instead, in his next 21 minutes, Giddey was scoreless and shot 0-of-5 from the field. That also didn’t include his three turnovers and four fouls.

A promising start never materialized to an impressive game for Giddey as his up-and-down sophomore seasons undergoes another dip on Monday.

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HIGHLIGHTS

Story originally appeared on Thunder Wire