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'Find ways to win': The Thunder hits the road without Danilo Gallinari

Even when Danilo Gallinari isn’t shooting the ball well, the threat of his shot heating up spaces the floor.

The combination of that effect and Gallinari's 18 points per game are reflected in the Thunder power forward's on/off statistics.

The Thunder has an offensive rating of 114.5 points per 100 possessions with Gallinari on the court, according to basketballreference.com. But heading into the Thunder’s game Friday at Charlotte, OKC’s offensive rating dropped to 102.7 with Gallinari off the court.

Due to left ankle soreness, Gallinari won’t play again until after the Thunder returns from a two-game road trip to Charlotte and Toronto this weekend.

“Gallo is just a mismatch on every possession,” Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander said after the Thunder’s 110-97 loss to the Grizzlies on Thursday. “And obviously with spacing, the way he can shoot it, he helps us guards get into the lane. … But we’ve still got to find ways to win. We did that the past couple nights. But not tonight. Shots weren’t falling.”

As Gilgeous-Alexander said, the Thunder did win the first two games Gallinari missed for left ankle injuries. First, OKC beat Utah 104-90 on the road in early December. Then, the Thunder upset the Clippers 118-112 last Sunday.

“We still move the ball,” Thunder veteran Chris Paul said of the Thunder’s offense without Gallinari. “We try to get open looks, open shots, and play. The good thing about our team is – unfortunately we have different people out of the lineup and stuff – but we’ve been pretty consistent in how we play.”

But the Thunder has to make up for the loss of Gallinari, who is shooting 39.5 percent from 3-point range this season, in other areas. The Thunder defense held the Jazz to under 100 points. The Thunder offense out-scored the Clippers in the paint, 60-40.

Against Memphis, however, OKC created neither of those advantages.

The Thunder plays at Charlotte at 6 p.m. Friday, again without Gallinari.

Related Photos
Oklahoma City's Danilo Gallinari (8) reacts after a 3-point basket during the NBA game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Milwaukee Bucks at Chesapeake Energy Arena,   Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019.  [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma City's Danilo Gallinari (8) reacts after a 3-point basket during the NBA game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Milwaukee Bucks at Chesapeake Energy Arena, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman]

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-629917c8f5e2ff89a2ddc1ae26eb491a.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City's Danilo Gallinari (8) reacts after a 3-point basket during the NBA game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Milwaukee Bucks at Chesapeake Energy Arena, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman] " title="Oklahoma City's Danilo Gallinari (8) reacts after a 3-point basket during the NBA game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Milwaukee Bucks at Chesapeake Energy Arena, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption>Oklahoma City's Danilo Gallinari (8) reacts after a 3-point basket during the NBA game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Milwaukee Bucks at Chesapeake Energy Arena, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure>
Maddie Lee

Maddie Lee followed an NBA team from Seattle to Oklahoma City, she just took a 10-year detour in between. Lee joined the Oklahoman in October 2018 as a Thunder beat writer, fresh off a stint in Oxford, Miss., where she covered Ole Miss for the... Read more ›

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