Physical Lakers Overpower Oklahoma City
In their first two matchups with Oklahoma City, the Lakers were outmuscled and it showed on the scoreboard: a combined 61-point margin of defeat.
This time, L.A. was ready for the fight. On Super Bowl Sunday, the Lakers and Thunder went at each other like fullbacks and linebackers. And the purple and gold emerged from the fray with a 108-104 win.
“We got pushed around again today, which is fine as long as we push back,” coach Luke Walton said. “That was the difference. We pushed back tonight. It’s a physical game, and it should be like that. That’s when it’s fun.”
It was especially fun for Julius Randle, who grappled all game long with Carmelo Anthony.
Randle bruised his way to 19 points, constantly posting up the future Hall of Famer and taking him off the dribble.
Lakers have found a lot of success surprising defenses by pushing the pace after made baskets lately.— Joey Ramirez (@JoeyARamirez) February 4, 2018
Randle bolts down the floor, and it's an easy pick-and-roll dunk. pic.twitter.com/47nmQjTakC
Anthony, meanwhile, managed to grab 13 rebounds but scored only 10 points on 3-of-13 shooting.
Randle’s frontcourt partner, Brook Lopez, had an even more impressive offensive showing.
The 7-footer led the Lakers with 20 points and five assists.
Like Randle, he bullied opponents with post-ups and pick-and-rolls, and also showed off his range with four 3-pointers.
And while Lopez didn’t have as much success on the boards, shooting guard Josh Hart had the Lakers (21-31) covered in that department.
The 6-foot-5 rookie led his team with 11 rebounds, constantly pushing the pace off opponent misses.
He was also efficient with his own looks, shooting 5-of-6 toward 14 points.
“He’s always had the heart of a big,” Lopez said. “I’m proud to claim him as a big.”
Josh Hart just plays, man.— Joey Ramirez (@JoeyARamirez) February 4, 2018
Gets blasted by the Adams screen but still flies in for the board. Nice touch pass on the other end. pic.twitter.com/8Xu9j9mYM3
It was a tough matchup due to the presence of Oklahoma City’s two All-Stars: Russell Westbrook (36 points, nine assists) and Paul George (26 points).
While OKC (30-24) leaned heavily on its star power, the Lakers spread their production across the roster.
All five L.A. starters scored double figures, including Brandon Ingram, who had 16 points and five assists in his second straight start at point guard.
Six Lakers score 13+ as LA finishes out the 5-game road trip with a 108-104 win in Oklahoma City pic.twitter.com/JFuPWpsQa2— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) February 4, 2018
The Lakers won in Oklahoma City for the first time since 2011. … L.A. had a 13-7 advantage in made 3-pointers. … Jordan Clarkson scored 13 of his 18 points in the second half. … The Lakers led by 10 with a minute left, but OKC cut its deficit to as little as four before L.A. held on. … A crowd of 18,203 sold out Chesapeake Energy Arena.