The Thunder returns home from a successful 2-0 road trip up north to take on a familiar Los Angeles opponent inside of Paycom Center. The matchup marks the third meeting this season between the Thunder and the Lakers as OKC holds the 2-0 series edge thus far.
What to Watch
SGA at the Line In OKC’s win over the Raptors on Wednesday, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led all scorers with 26 points including a perfect 12-for-12 from the free throw line. The performance marked his third consecutive game with 12 or more free throws made making him the first Thunder player since 2015 to accomplish such a feat. Over those three contests, SGA has gone 38-of-43 from the line.
Strong Second Halves In its two games on the road, the Thunder’s second half efforts proved to be decisive in their victories. Over those two contests, the Thunder averaged 60 second-half points while shooting 52 percent from the field and 43 percent from the 3-point line.
The same trend has been true in the Thunder’s last two meetings with the Lakers – both of which were comeback efforts of 19 or more points. In the second halves against LA this season, the Thunder has averaged 63 points while shooting 53 percent from the field and 45 percent from the 3-point line.
Gritty Defensive Effort After logging a season-high 11 blocks against the Pistons on Monday, the Thunder followed up the defensive effort with a season-high 12 steals against the Raptors on Wednesday. In a full-team effort, the Thunder had four players who logged two or more thefts as Kenrich Williams led the way with four of his own.
After sealing an 18-point comeback win on Monday against the Pistons, the Thunder has now logged five wins this season after trailing by 16 or more points. Two of those five wins came against the Lakers, including a Thunder-record-tying 26-point comeback back in October which also still marks the largest come-from-behind victory in the NBA this season.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander on the team’s progression… “I know for a fact we're getting better every day and we're learning. What the future holds, I have no clue. I can’t control it. That’s something we do, just stay in the moment, focus on the day to day and try to get better every day. Wherever that takes us, that takes us but we're heading in the right direction for sure.”
The Lakers will enter Oklahoma City on the second night of a back-to-back after facing the Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday. So far this season, the Lake Show is 1-2 when playing on the second night of a back-to-back. The team’s offense is fueled by the three-pronged attack of LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook who all average over 20 points per game. James missed the first two meetings with the Thunder this season due to injury. In his absence, Davis posted an average of 29.5 points between both games against the Thunder and Westbrook added an average 23.5 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists in both contests.