Rajon Rondo shoots against the Thunder
Rajon Rondo shoots against the Thunder
Zach Beeker

Lakers Stunned by Thunder

by Taylor Geas

Tonight’s Lake Show showdown was perplexing. The Purple and Gold took the stage against the 0-4 Oklahoma City Thunder for part two of their back-to-back, game two of their road trip. What appeared to be a Los Angeles blowout became a fourth-quarter battle.

After their OT win against the Spurs last night, Los Angeles was defeated 123-115 by the Thunder this Wednesday evening.

LeBron James was out again with a right ankle injury, so Russell Westbrook (20 pts, 13 ast, 14 reb) returned to his first professional home floor and took the lead. And while dribbling down memory lane, Brodie notched his first triple-double in a Lakers uniform, number 185 of the NBA’s all-time leader in triple-double's career. And he was three points and one rebound away from notching the third first half triple-double of his career. Russ was responsible for the Lakers' hot start. He was moving the ball — whether it was a lob to a big man or a bounce-pass through the lane.

Anthony Davis (30 pts, 8 reb) was one of the big men cashing in on Russ’ dimes. But Davis was knocking them down from the mid-range as well. At 12-for-22 from the field, the Brow brought the business offensively.

So, why’d the game slip away? Why were the Lakers outscored 67-43 in the second half? How did this become the first loss in 25 seasons when the Lakers are leading by 25?

The Lakers' defensive deficiencies allowed the youngest team in the NBA to fight their way back from a 26-point lead, hit their season-high in points, and then steal the win. Los Angeles couldn’t control the Thunder on the perimeter, especially Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (27 pts, 9 reb) and Darius Bazley (20 pts, 6 reb). OKC shot just about 10% better than LA from three.

Postgame, Carmelo Anthony (13 pts) explained that “the momentum switched quick and it was a downhill spiral for us.” Simply, the Lakers got comfortable, lost their focus, and as the game slipped from their grasp they got wound up and their game got messy.

Coach Frank Vogel called this game a “lesson learned.” The Lakers are flying back to Los Angeles and hopefully will figure out how to put the finishing touches on their game in time for Friday night’s matchup against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

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