Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is working on a career year in 2023. In his fifth season, Gilgeous-Alexander is averaging a sterling 31.4 points per game; he ranks in the top 10 in the league in that category, steals per game and free-throw percentage.
For all his spectacular feats this year, however, none can quite compare with one sequence in Oklahoma City’s 121–117 loss to the Pacers on Friday.
With 4:31 left in the first half, Gilgeous-Alexander drove in for a layup to cut Indiana’s lead to 55–48. Falling to the ground, he lost his shoe, giving the Pacers a 5-on-4 opportunity.
Thinking quickly, Gilgeous-Alexander picked up his shoe and ran back on defense. He arrived just in time to rebound a three-point attempt from Pacers guard Andrew Nembhard, shoe still in hand, and quickly offload the ball to guard Luguentz Dort.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander loses a shoe on a layup, grabs it, runs back on defense, and then pulls in the rebound with the shoe in his other hand. pic.twitter.com/suFbyhvBj3— Sam Quinn (@SamQuinnCBS) April 1, 2023
The surreal sequence almost served to mask another brilliant individual effort from Gilgeous-Alexander, who finished the night with 39 points and nine rebounds in a losing effort.