Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony sat on Thursday night in Los Angeles, both missing the contest due to a sprained ankle. The Lakers took advantage of Oklahoma City’s misfortune, embarrassing the Thunder by a final score of 106-81.
Paul George opened the game on fire, scoring 15 points in the first seven minutes. He and the Thunder held an 11-point lead at the 6:44 mark of the first quarter, but that’s exactly where the good times ended. OKC was outscored 98-62 from that point forward — looking entirely incapable of doing offense and many other important basketball functions.
The Thunder shot just 35.6 percent on the evening and went 8/34 (23.5 percent) from downtown. OKC also hit just 9/19 from the free throw line — good for 47.4 percent. On the other side, the Lakers had five players score in double-figures and hit 44 percent from the field. They took care of business in basically every facet of the game.
George led the Thunder in scoring, posting 29 points on 11/25 shooting. He started 5/5 but went 6/20 the rest of the way. Steven Adams pitched in 13 points and 9 rebounds on a 4/11 clip.
The loss drops the Thunder to 31-25 on the season after losing five of the last six games. Back in action on Sunday against Memphis.
35.6: The Thunder shot 35.6 percent from the floor. That’s your recap.
51-50: The Lakers won 51-50 on the boards.
28-16: The Lakers had 28 assists, compared to 16 for OKC.
14: The Thunder turned it over 14 times, resulting in 12 points for LA. The OKC defense only forced eight turnovers all night.
58-42: The Lakers outscored OKC 58-42 in the paint.
47.4: Again — 47.4 percent from the free throw line.
While the game likely doesn’t go this way if Westbrook (and Melo, to a lesser extent) was healthy, it’s tough to justify a 25-point loss to the Lakers. Yes, the Thunder was without its best player. However, the Lakers were without Lonzo Ball and, because of today’s trade activity, Larry Nance Jr. and Jordan Clarkson. They’re acclimating to February in Cleveland as we speak.
Does the Thunder win at full strength? Probably, yes. But the Lakers were short-handed, too. It was a very poor effort from OKC, regardless of who was available.
Starting Five. The Thunder used a starting lineup of Raymond Felton, Josh Huestis, Paul George, Patrick Patterson, and Steven Adams. The group was +4 in the 11 minutes they were on the court together, but collectively shot just 18/53 from the floor.
The Other Guys. Five Lakers in double-figures: Kentavius Caldwell-Pope (20), Brandon Ingram (19), Julius Randle (17), Kyle Kuzma (16), and Josh Hart (10).
Bad Alex. Alex Abrines logged 24 minutes, shot 3/10 from the field, and wrapped up his evening as a minus-28. He was on the floor for some of the Thunder’s worst stretches, which wasn’t all that cool.
2Pat. Patterson continues to be a mystery — he finished with 0 points on 0/6 shooting, going 0/5 from downtown. I maintain my belief in him but acknowledge I’m prepared to be irrationally stubborn about the matter.
We Want George. PG13 was received very warmly by the Staples Center faithful tonight. He said after the game that he hopes it’s mostly because he was playing in front of his hometown crowd — which totally explains it. I kept searching for their ulterior motive so I’m glad he cleared it up.
Number 35. PJ Dozier grabbed some garbage minutes, officially ushering number 35 back onto the court. He had a nice drive to the rim for a bucket and finished 1/2 in two minutes. I’m still a bit weirded out seeing that jersey on someone else.
Moving on. No reason to discuss this one any further.