Much was made about Aleksej Pokucevski’s “slendermamba” routine in the Thunder’s season finale and how it doomed the team’s lottery odds. This was true, the 7’1” rookie lit up a Clipper team that was attempting to lose (for some convoluted reason that involved avoiding the Lakers until the Western Conference Finals, maybe?) for 29 points and gave OKC the lead for good with a dagger three. Forgotten, though, is that Shai Gilgeous-Alexander got the Thunder tanking project off to a horrific start.
In the team’s first game of the season against a Charlotte Hornets team that went into the season with high hopes of being an Eastern Conference contender, the Thunder seemed destined to start the season off with an L. When OKC coughed up a 13-point lead over the final two minutes, many fans were pleased. Then, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander stopped the bleeding and drained a game-winning jump shot with 1.4 seconds remaining.