4 min read

Thunder crush the Lakers, again, 120-85


LOS ANGELES — For a minute there, this one started looking a lot different than the obliteration that happened in Oklahoma City four days ago. The Lakers led 42-39 with 4:54 left in the second quarter.

Then the Thunder went on a 40-4 run, which included a 22-0 run to open the third quarter, to put this one away.

Now, yes, the Thunder won again by 35, but it’s impossible to ignore what happened in that second quarter where a solid Thunder lead evaporated with the all-bench lineup on the floor. The second unit has major issues. They aren’t utilizing Kanter in the way it was designed this offseason. Augustin is a liability everywhere, unless he’s taking a wide open spot-up 3. Nobody can get Morrow shots.

And Waiters, while the most effective creator, is the most effective creator, and that’s not good. Either it’s time for a significant shake-up by throwing on Cameron Payne and Mitch McGary, or Presti needs to get on the phone. Because Donovan has given that group enough time to try and figure itself out. It ain’t getting better.

Still, put Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook back on the floor and things get fixed, and fixed in a hurry. Which is nice, and good, but as I’ve said before, the Thunder’s last three losses all could be placed on the bench’s head. Whether it was a bad stretch in the second, or a rough patch to open the fourth, that group is holding the Thunder back to a large degree.

To their credit, they did close out the fourth fine, preserving a solid margin to pump the stats. Enes  Kanter is the king of the garbage time stat-padding. He went from like two points and one rebound to 16 and 11 real quick.

Anyway,  the Thunder beat the Lakers by 35, meaning they beat them by a combined 75 in the last two meetings. Watching Kobe get it going in the second quarter was pretty fun, and Durant clearly enjoyed going toe-to-toe with him for a while, but the Lakers flat out stink, and the Thunder do not.

On to Christmas.


  • Hey, how about Andre Roberson. Besides Lawrence Tanter calling him “Adam Roberson” once, it was a pretty perfect night for him. Probably his best game in the NBA yet. Roberson finished with a career-high 15 points, plus seven rebounds, three assists, two steals and four blocks. And a +43.
  • Durant on Kobe: “I was looking forward to it, because when he didn’t play last time I was a little upset because I want to go out there and guard him and be physical with him and just play the game with him. I knew it was going to make me a better player for my team tonight and I was able from the beginning just be physical and play the game and just enjoy both ends of the floor.”
  • Durant and Kobe exchanged shoes after the game, with Kobe writing on the pair he gave Durant, “To KD: Be the greatest!” Asked about the exchange, Durant joked, “Don’t tell nobody though, man. I don’t want to be looked at as a softie.”
  • I would’ve liked to see Donovan play Cameron Payne the entire fourth. He had Augustin in for the first few minutes, but here’s the thing: Augustin is what he is. It’s not like those couple minutes were going to get him in some rhythm or improve his game to the degree where he’s making a difference. Payne could be a real solution to the second unit’s problems. Why not give him an actual, extended look?
  • In the 8:34 Payne did play, he once again looked very solid running the offense and even creating for himself. Smooth, smooth, smooth. This guy needs to play.
  • I watched D’Angelo Russell go through his pregame workout. Granted, this is the only time I’ve seen him do it, but the contrast in his, versus even a guy like Payne, is night and day. Russell played around in the post with an assistant coach for a good 15 minutes, going about 20 percent speed. I don’t know why it matters — it probably doesn’t — but he still had both earrings in as he warmed up. He was laughing, talking, joking. He did not look like a guy that was getting warmed up and mentally prepared to be guarding Russell Westbrook.
  • Here’s a Russell moment, too: Late third, 15 on the game clock, shot clock off, and he takes a midrange contested jumper. The Thunder turned it into a bucket on the other end.
  • It’s amazing how little Lakers fans care about anyone scoring unless it’s Kobe.
  • My favorite part of the night was a fan behind me yelling, “MAMBA!!” as Kobe elevated for a jumper. He airballed.
  • It annoys me way more than it should that Dion Waiters wears white shoes with the road unis. It’s hashtag, So Dion.
  • Man, Waiters. One of those bad ones. Just two points on 1-8 shooting.
  • Durant and Kobe exchanged shoes after the game.
  • Donovan on one-armed Florida walk-on Zach Hodskins scoring last night: “It was great. Zach is a great kid, got a great family. Certainly for himself, he’s been through a lot, overcome a lot. I think he’s been an inspiration for a lot of different people with what he’s had to overcome. Being around him for the year I was last year, it’s really amazing what he can do considering he’s missing an arm. But he wants to be treated like everyone else and he goes out there and works hard, loves the game, loves playing. He’s got a lot of confidence in himself. And I think for anyone that’s dealing with a disability, in a lot of ways he can be an inspiration for people overcoming those things. He’s one of those guys you admire watching him seeing what he’s able to do, and I was happy for him that he got a chance to score.”
  • Gotta give Lakers fans credit. The place was still full right up until two minutes left.

Next up: Home against the Bulls on Christmas