Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Damian Lillard had quite a duel Monday night during a game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Portland Trail Blazers, and it was SGA’s squad that took home the 123-121 victory. Gilgeous-Alexander carried the Thunder on his back and even hit the game-winning basket to deliver the W for Oklahoma City.

After the game, Lillard, who scored 28 points on 9-for-17 shooting from the field, including six 3-pointers on 12 attempts, shared his opinion about how he sees Gilgeous-Alexander as a true cornerstone of the Thunder (via Grant Afseth of

Damian Lillard on advice for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: “He’s in a situation where he’s playing free. … He’s got a group of guys that understand he’s the leader, he’s the guy. … His career is in a great position. … I’d say the grass is not always greener on the other side…”

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Gilgeous-Alexander is having quite a season. After dropping a game-high 35 points on 10-for-24 shooting to go with a perfect 14-for-14 line from the charity stripe in the win over the Blazers, Gilgeous-Alexander is now averaging 31.3 points per game this season on a 50.1 field goal shooting percentage. The Thunder have a great one in Gilgeous-Alexander, but they can’t also afford to risk alienating him by letting their rebuilding phase drag much longer.

In any case, Gilgeous-Alexander is under the control of the Thunder for at least the end of the 2026-27 NBA season after he signed a five-year rookie maximum contract extension with Oklahoma City worth $179.3 million back in 2021. Hopefully for Gilgeous-Alexander, the Thunder will become a legitimate NBA title contender sooner than later.