Kyle Kuzma drives against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Jan. 17, 2018.
(Ty Nowell/Lakers.com)

Lack of Rebounding Leads to Lakers' Loss

by Joey Ramirez
Digital Reporter

Oklahoma City boasts three of the best scorers in the game, but the difference against the Lakers was a bruising center who set the tone of the night.

Steven Adams bulldozed the Lakers down low, leading OKC to a 114-90 with his league-best offensive rebounding.

“The way Adams was doing whatever he wanted out there on the floor, we’re not really giving ourselves a chance to win that game,” coach Luke Walton said.

Adams finished the night with 21 points and 10 rebounds. He hit 10 of his 12 shots and gobbled up seven boards on the offensive glass.

With his trademark blend of strength and craft, Adams constantly sealed off the Lakers’ bigs for extra possessions. Each of his offensive rebounds led to a bucket by the Thunder (25-20), including several that he put in himself.

“They just big-boyed us,” Kyle Kuzma said.

While Adams was the biggest issue, the Lakers (15-29) were also stymied by other players hitting the glass.

OKC finished with a 54-30 rebounding advantage, including 21-6 on the offensive boards. The Thunder scored 26 second-chance points to L.A.’s four.

Those extra opportunities allowed more attempts for players like Carmelo Anthony, who broke out of a recent slump by scoring a game-high 27 points on 10-of-15 shooting.

The Lakers actually held their own on the other end, hitting 46.9 percent of their shots.

Julius Randle led the way with 16 points — all in the first half — on an 8-of-11 clip.

But the Lakers were outscored in the second half, 54-36, and Walton felt that his team simply wasn’t physical enough.

“These guys are big, strong men,” he said. “We’ve got to be ready to fight, and we were not tonight.”

Notes
Lonzo Ball (sore left knee) missed his second straight game. … Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Brandon Ingram all sustained minor injuries and hope to play on Friday. … The Lakers were able to limit Russell Westbrook (19 points) and Paul George (13) to 13-of-36 shooting. … The Lakers attempted and hit only four free throws. … A crowd of 18,203 sold out Chesapeake Energy Arena.

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