Malik Monk sizes up the defense

Three Things to Know: Lakers at Thunder - 10/27/21

by Matthew Barrero

The Lakers (2-2) will look for their third consecutive win when they face the Oklahoma City Thunder (0-4) at Paycom Center. Coverage begins with the pregame show at 4 p.m. PT and tipoff at 5 p.m. PT on Spectrum SportsNet.

Here are three things to know ahead of tonight’s game:

Russell Westbrook will return to the city he called home for 11 seasons. He comes back for the third time in three seasons donning a new uniform. In his first return in 2020, Westbrook was a part of the Houston Rockets and in his second homecoming he wore a Washington Wizards jersey.

In those two games, Westbrook totaled 71 points, 13 rebounds and 16 assists.

He lost his first game back with Houston but earned a victory in the second outing with Washington.

During Tuesday’s postgame, Westbrook shared his thoughts about returning once again to the Sooner State.

“I feel great,” Westbrook said. “It’s like home for me just because I was there for so many years. All the people there have been so great to me since day one, like family. But I want to win.”

LeBron James did not suit up in Tuesday’s game due to sore ankle but was very vocal in his street clothes throughout the game and especially when the Lakers would have a timeout.

With about 40 seconds left in the fourth quarter, a sight far too familiar occurred when Anthony Davis hit the ground and immediately grabbed at his knee. A hush went over the AT&T Center, as majority of the crowd was populated by Lakers fans.

In a replay, it appeared Davis collided with Spurs guard Dejounte Murray, as both went up to grab a rebound on a Jakob Poeltl missed free throw. Play was not blown dead, and the Spurs were able to capitalize on the 5-on-4 advantage and tie the game at 114.

Davis would be attended to by the Lakers training staff and was able to get up and resume play. The game went to overtime and Davis made two clutch shots to seal the game for the Lakers first road win of the season.

Davis commented on the play in the postgame presser.

“[Murray] was doing his job flying in and I was still kind of planted on the ground and he ran into my knee,” Davis said. “Like a little stinger and then I started moving and it went away. I kept playing and still felt it a little bit but had to finish the game. We’ll see how it is when I wake up.”

LeBron will miss his second game in a row and Davis is listed as questionable as reported by Mike Trudell this morning.

In three of the first four games this season, the Lakers have either held a halftime lead or been down a point. Despite their first half performances, L.A. has struggled in the third quarter of each game, with opponents outscoring Los Angeles 136-98 in the quarter.

It started in the game against Golden State and head coach Frank Vogel pointed out how, “The Lakers didn’t finish quarters well the whole night,” and how the Warriors were able to, “close the gap at the end of the third.”

The same could be said for Tuesday’s game after the Lakers allowed the Spurs to finish the quarter on a 14-3 run and take a 12-point lead into the final quarter. The resiliency of the Lakers to come back and win the game could be a sign of better days ahead.

Anthony Davis commented on the defensive adjustments made during Tuesday’s win and what needs to be done moving forward.

“When you’re down you have to get stops,” Davis said. “We kind of changed our scheme a little bit to make it easier on all of us. But we have to be that locked in from the start. Which we were and then they took off with some miscues, turnovers that led to fast break points, offensive rebounds, you know. We have to do a better job at handling that, but for the most part I think we’ll be fine.”

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