Despite a 33-point first quarter and a 53.1 percent field goal percentage in the first half, the Oklahoma City Thunder held a slim a six-point advantage at halftime of Wednesday night’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers. As has been the case too often this season, it appeared to be another instance of the Thunder allowing a bad team to stick around.
That changed after halftime.
The Thunder outscored Los Angeles 33-18 in the third quarter and surrendered just 36 points in the second half, using a heaping dose of Carmelo Anthony and Steven Adams to pave the way toward a resounding 114-90 victory at Chesapeake Energy Arena. It was the third-straight game in which the Thunder defense allowed fewer than 40 points after the halftime break.
Anthony led the way for OKC with 27 points on 10/15 shooting, while Adams contributed his third-consecutive double-double, finishing with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Russell Westbrook chipped in 19 points, 7 assists and 6 rebounds, but shot just 8/22 from the floor. Paul George was again quiet, wrapping up with 13 points on a 5/14 clip.
The Thunder moves to 25-20 on the season and builds a three-game winning streak ahead of Saturday’s showdown with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Let’s dive into some notes on the win.
54-36: The Thunder outscored the Lakers 54-36 after halftime — coming alive and finally putting away a bad team.
54: The Thunder took a 54-30 advantage on the glass — the largest difference of the season.
21 & 26: Another monster night on the offensive boards, as OKC grabbed 21 of them. This resulted in 26 second-chance points, compared to just four second-chance points for LA.
83.3: A better night at the stripe, as the Thunder hit 10/12 for an 83.3 percent conversion rate. Oddly enough, OKC didn’t take its first free throw until there was just 1:22 remaining in the first half.
10 & 18 & 24: The Thunder had 10 steals and forced 18 Lakers turnovers — resulting in 24 points for OKC.
6 & 2: Six lead changes and two ties in this one. Although the Lakers took a brief two-point lead, the Thunder led for most of the night.
Vintage Melo & Big Kiwi
In what could be the beginnings of the most interesting buddy cop movie of all time, Carmelo Anthony and Steven Adams combined to do a number on the Lakers tonight in OKC. Their final stat lines:
Melo: 27 pts, 10/15 FG, 4/6 3P, 27 MP, +27
Adams: 21 pts, 1o reb, 10/12 FG, 26 MP, +24
The two men combined to shoot 7/10 in the third quarter — a monster part of the 33-18 advantage in the frame that helped put the game on ice. With the Thunder up 21 headed into the final quarter, both sat the remainder of the way and got some much-deserved rest over the final 12 minutes.
Melo’s full highlights:
Great stuff from number seven.
Russ & PG13
Fairly sub-par evenings for Russell Westbrook and Paul George. Their final numbers:
Westbrook: 19 pts, 7 ast, 6 reb, 8/22 FG, +20
Westbrook shot just 4/14 in the first half and missed a number of open looks near the basket. He recovered to shoot 4/8 in the third quarter before checking-out for good and sitting for the entirety of the fourth. Not his best effort but he did only turn the ball over three times after 10 on Monday night.
George: 13 pts, 5 reb, 5/14 FG, +17
George had just two points on 1/4 shooting in the first half — perhaps the most quiet he’s been all season. With the game out of reach at the end of the third quarter, he had 8 points on 3/10 shooting — but returned for a little more than three minutes in the fourth to score five points and push his final tally to 13 total. Either way you cut it, it was another odd disappearing act for the team’s second-best player. He’s now failed to reach the 20-point plateau in each of the Thunder’s last four games.
Terrance Ferguson uses a nice hustle play to create an easy dunk for Paul George:
Russell Westbrook does a little dancing en route to a third quarter lay-in:
Dre Back. Andre Roberson returned after missing eight games with tendinitis in his knee, notching 4 points, 4 rebounds, 3 steals and a block. He wrapped up the night as a +21 in 17 minutes — a very welcomed/necessary return for the Thunder. He’ll likely be eased back into a decent workload in the coming games. Terrance Ferguson got 27 minutes of action tonight in relief duty — scoring 3 points on 1/5 shooting.
The Other Guys. Just two Lakers reached double-figures in scoring: Julius Randle (16) and Kentavius Caldwell-Pope (10). Randle was 8/10 from the floor in the first half — going 0/1 after halftime. Caldwell-Pope left in the second quarter with an achilles injury and did not return. LA is now 0-8 when Lonzo Ball doesn’t play. Rough life.
Alex Caruso Revenge Game. Former Thunder G-Leaguer, Alex Caruso, logged 17 minutes for the Lakers tonight. He scored 5 points on 2/3 shooting, which is actually not very interesting but perhaps worth noting.
Money Mayweather. Floyd Mayweather sat courtside with Ray Westbrook. He received a jumbotron welcome and a nice ovation from the Thunder crowd. To be honest, I didn’t really get it.
Back in action on Saturday in Cleveland, as the Thunder has a matinee with the Cavaliers. Tip-off is at 2:30 PM CT on ABC.