Game 39 Recap: Lakers (32-7) def. Thunder (22-17) 125-110
Official Box Score link
My thought process on this Thunder vs Lakers match-up before the game:
“LeBron James and Anthony Davis on the schedule? Oh no, the Thunder will fight hard, but that’s a probable loss.”
“Ooohhh LeBron is out because he has a cold? First off, Michael Jordan is rolling over in his grave. Secondly, this game will still be tough cause they have Davis, but I think we can get that win.”
“Wait, Davis is out too cause his booty hurts?? Gimme that W!”
“Kyle Kuzma’s hair really does look like Jonah Hill in 21 Jump Street.”
My thought process on this Thunder vs Lakers match-up after the game:
“Sam Amick was right, Kyle Kuzma is a star!”
“LeBron and Davis are holding this team back.”
“Alex Caruso should be higher in the All Star voting.”
“Kyle Kuzma’s hair really does look like the Real Slim Shady.”
So why did the Lakers sans LeBron, Brow and Danny Green whip the Thunder, owners of the best record in the Western Conference since Thanksgiving?
The home team was likely a bit emotionally hungover from the Russell Westbrook homecoming win. OKC could’ve seen the stars were listed as out and overlooked the rest of the Lakers’ squad. The Ewing Theory was certainly in play for the Lakers, as Kuzma & Co went absolutely nuclear. Pick and choose any of these perfectly valid excuses, or go with my personal favorite: all of the above.
Ultimately, the loss doesn’t really hurt the Thunder. They are fairly firmly locked into the 7 seed as is, and truth be told, it’s probably better if they don’t move into the 6 seed and risk losing their 2020 1st round draft pick (top 20 protected).
The only thing you hope to see from this OKC team on a night like this when the opponent can’t miss is the will to continue fighting and another good showing from future franchise player Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
Check and check.
After going down by 32 points in the third quarter, the Thunder clawed back to within 11 with 2:37 left in the game. Instead of being led by Clutch Paul, the comeback this time was spearheaded by SGA. Shai scored 11 points in a 6 minute spurt to make the way too many Lakers fans in attendance at The Peake squirm in their bandwagon Bron jerseys just a bit.
Too little too late, but it was fun to exercise those comeback muscles again after that complete domination of the Rockets.
Speaking of, please excuse me now as I go back and watch the Russell Westbrook tribute video and Thunder vs Rockets highlights to wash the taste of this game out of my mouth.
- The Thunder outscored the Lakers 91-84 after the 1st quarter.
- A little good news for the Thunder tonight: the Nuggets somehow lost to the Cavs at home. Denver falls from the 2 seed into a 3 way tie for the 3-5 seed. OKC owns Denver’s 1st round pick, so the Nuggets potentially ending at #5 instead of #2 is a big boon to the Thunder’s pick.
- Not that it would’ve made the difference in the game and of course the Lakers were missing LeBron, Brow and Green so this seems silly to say BUT… The Thunder sorely missed Noel tonight. Howard completely wrecked the Thunder’s backup bigs when Adams was out.
- Hot take: this score would’ve been a lot closer if LeBron and Davis had played.
- The Lakers may have scored a lot more points than the Thunder tonight, but none of theirs looked nearly as cool as Shai’s show and tell layup.
- You know this Thunder team has been doing some special things when they’re down 22 at the end of the 1st quarter and we’re all like, eh, they’ll be fine.
- The above line was a tweet I sent out. It did not age well.
- The Thunder scored an NBA season high 37 points in the 1st quarter of the Rockets game two nights ago. The Lakers broke that mark by scoring 45 points in the 1st quarter against the Mavs last night. The Lakers scored 41 points in the 1st quarter tonight.
- Of course Dwight Howard swishes back to back free throws late in the game on the Lakers’ ridiculous 3 point shooting night. Those are the equivalent of 3 pointers for him.
- No LeBron, AD or Danny Green? No problem. The Lakers subbed them out for Steph Curry, Ray Allen and Larry Bird.
- LA shot an absurd 10-13 from distance in the first half.
- At halftime, I made a guarantee: If the Lakers shoot 10-13 from 3 again in the second half, I will cut and color my hair like Kyle Kuzma’s. The Lakers proceeded to nail their first two 3’s of the third quarter and I starting getting horrific mental images of myself rapping “Stan” in front of a mirror. Thankfully, Rondo did me a solid and started throwing up brick after brick to save me from public humiliation.
- I love the fight of this Thunder team. No matter the deficit, they’re gonna compete and claw for 48 minutes. Just needed a 5th quarter to come back this time.
- Up next: at the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday night. Forget KAT. The only Wolf we fear is Andrew Wiggins. He missed the last game against OKC and not coincidentally, the Thunder pulled out an OT win. Well, bad news: heeeee’s baaaaaacccck. Be afraid. Be very afraid.