(Photo By: Ty Nowell/Lakers.com)
Lakers vs. Thunder: 3 Things to Know (2/8/18)
Here is what you need to know before the Lakers’ rematch with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
1) Julius has been a steamroller
In his last two games, Julius Randle has simply overpowered whomever the opposing team has put on him.
Against the Thunder four days ago, Randle dominated future Hall of Famer Carmelo Anthony, who was not ready for Randle’s bruising post-ups.
Then Randle feasted in the next game, when he was guarded by 20-year-old Dragan Bender.
Randle bulldozed Bender over and over again, scoring eight points in the opening four minutes and forcing the Suns to put in their subs.
Anthony is questionable for tonight’s game, but keep an eye on Randle either way. He will surely be ready to battle with Anthony or whichever backup the Thunder throw at him.
Julius Randle: Dragan Slayer— Joey Ramirez (@JoeyARamirez) February 7, 2018
Randle has straight up bullied Dragan Bender for 4 buckets in the opening minutes. pic.twitter.com/16ivc8Je5w
2) B.I. is finding his playmaking groove
For the first time in his infant career, Brandon Ingram looks comfortable filling in as the Lakers’ point guard.
A natural small forward, Ingram has averaged 19.3 points, 6.7 assists and 53.8 percent shooting in three straight starts at the point — all of which ended in wins for the Lakers.
Ingram has benefitted from a simplified playbook and a mandate to push the pace.
Instead of asking the 20-year-old to execute a laundry list of plays, coach Luke Walton wants him to keep the game at a high speed and take advantage of unsettled defenses.
Brandon Ingram was out there making plays in transition.— Joey Ramirez (@JoeyARamirez) January 27, 2018
Uses that 7'3" wingspan to tap the rebound to himself and immediately fires the outlet assist. pic.twitter.com/UX9owTPZWm
3) This should get physical
The Lakers and Thunder met up in OKC just four days ago, and it was the most bruising game of L.A.’s season.
Randle set the tone physically in his matchup against Anthony, while Brook Lopez and Josh Hart did their parts as well.
Lopez frustrated Steven Adams — the league’s top offensive rebounder — all night long, boxing him out of plays to give his teammates easy boards. And Hart dominated the glass in a 14-point, 11-rebound night.
The 6-foot-5 rookie has been on a tear during the Lakers’ three-game winning streak, Averaging 14.7 points and 12.0 boards while shooting 15-of-21 from the field and 8-of-13 on 3-pointers.
Lakers: Lonzo Ball (sore left knee) is out.
Thunder: Russell Westbrook (ankle sprain) and Carmelo Anthony (ankle sprain) are questionable. Andre Roberson (ruptured left patellar tendon) is out.
Tip-Off: 7:30 p.m. PT
Radio: 710 ESPN and 1330 KWKW
Unis: Black City
Location: STAPLES Center — Los Angeles, California