Time: 1:00 PM CT
Radio: WWLS (98.1 FM OKC / 97.1 FM Tulsa)
The Oklahoma City Thunder (30-23) has lost three straight ahead of today’s match-up with the Los Angles Lakers (20-31). Life without Andre Roberson has proven difficult, as January’s eight-game winning streak fades into the rearview. Luckily for OKC, recent history suggests today’s game is quite winnable.
The Thunder is 2-0 against the Lakers this season, with wins by 37 and 24 points. Los Angeles will again be without Lonzo Ball — his third absence in as many opportunities against Oklahoma City.
Tip-off is at 1:00 PM CT at Chesapeake Energy Arena and will be nationally-televised on ABC. The Thunder is a 10.5-point favorite according to OddsShark.
- Andre Roberson: Out — Knee
- Lonzo Ball: Out — Knee
- Brandon Ingram: Questionable — Groin
Lakers: Josh Hart, Kentavius Caldwell-Pope, Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle, Brook Lopez
|Team||EFG%||FTA Rate||TOV%||OREB%||OPP EFG%||OPP FTA||OPP TOV%||OPP OREB%|
1/3: OKC 133, LAL 96 [BOX SCORE]
1/17: OKC 114, LAL 90 [BOX SCORE]
Do it the Same. If the Thunder is looking for a blueprint to victory, the first two games against the Lakers this season are a good place to start. The Andre Roberson-less Thunder waxed the Lakers by 37 points on January 3 behind monster scoring efforts from the starting lineup: George (24), Ferguson (24), Melo (21) Westbrook (20), and Adams (12).
Different Approach. The Lakers scored a 102-99 victory in Brooklyn on Friday night, using a different approach to the point guard position in the absence of Lonzo Ball. Brandon Ingram (questionable) took over the LA offense, turning in 16 points, 10 assists and 8 rebounds. Something to keep an eye on.
Brook Lopez. One name that keeps popping up in buyout chatter is Brook Lopez. His playing time has been inconsistent lately and he’ll likely hit the market in the not-so-distant future. In the meantime, look for the 7-footer along the perimeter in today’s game. It helps pull Steven Adams out of the paint — and Lopez is taking more than four deep balls per game this season, hitting 32.2 percent.
OK3. Russell Westbrook, Paul George, and Carmelo Anthony were terrible on Friday night versus New Orleans, combining for 44 points on 17/54 (31.5 percent) shooting. A solid effort against a subpar opponent would be a good thing for the Thunder’s star trio, particularly Melo. He’s averaging 15.8 PPG over the last five games but hitting just 37.2 percent of his field goals and 24.2 percent of three-pointers.
Abrines & Grant. Alex Abrines and Jerami Grant have come alive off the Thunder bench in the last two games. The two men have scored in double-figures in each, setting themselves up for another day of heavy minutes today against the Lakers. Abrines scored 14 points on 4/8 shooting from downtown on Friday against the Pelicans. Grant had 12 points and 12 rebounds on a 6/7 shooting clip.
In Their Words. In David Brandon’s “Fraternizing with the Enemy” piece from this week, Cranjis McBasketball of Forum Blue & Gold said the following is the key to the game for LA:
“For the Lakers to win, they’ll need to be sound defensively. LA had their worst defensive performance of the year the first game against the Thunder. The defense was much improved for the second game, but LA conceded 21 offensive rebounds. A complete effort will be needed to keep LA in the game, and the Thunder hasn’t been a good offensive team overall this season, so this is an attainable goal.”