The Oklahoma City Thunder pulled off a stunning comeback against the Golden State Warriors, thanks in large part to rookie Chet Holmgren. Down by three points with only 1.6 seconds left in the fourth quarter, the Thunder were in dire need of a miracle to push the game into overtime.
That miracle came in the form of a perfectly executed play. Josh Giddey inbounded the ball to Holmgren, who was closely guarded by Andrew Wiggins near the right corner of the 3-point line. With the pressure mounting, Holmgren turned, faced the basket, and launched what would become a game-changing shot.
Holmgren's Breakout Performance
Thunder coach Mark Daigneault couldn't help but joke about the play's design, particularly "the part of the ball going in." This shot was a pivotal moment in just the 13th game of Holmgren's career, showcasing his potential and poise under pressure.
Holmgren didn't just send the game into overtime; he finished the night with a career-high 36 points on 14-of-22 shooting, adding 10 rebounds and five assists. His performance made him the first rookie since Luka Doncic in 2019 to achieve a 35-10-5 game, cementing his place as a rising star in the NBA.
Daigneault emphasized that this wasn't a sudden revelation of Holmgren's talent but rather the culmination of his hard work since being picked No. 2 in the 2022 draft. "We have a young team that will grow over time," Daigneault said, highlighting the team's potential for growth.
Thunder star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander expressed his amazement at Holmgren's shot, likening it to a scene from a movie. Despite the night's success, Holmgren himself admitted it wasn't flawless, recalling a sloppy stretch leading up to his crucial three-pointer.
His humility and acknowledgment of the team's confidence in him, even after a few missteps, demonstrate the mindset of a player destined for great things. "Credit to Coach for still having the confidence in me," Holmgren said of his clutch 3.
"There were a few different options to play, depending on what ended up being open. I was kind of the end of it, and at that point, it's just 'go make a play.' ... It was a good shot. It felt good coming out of my hands and it went in."