After trailing by 5 at one point in the 4th quarter, the Oklahoma City Thunder came back to knock off the Lakers in Los Angeles 107-100 on Wednesday night.
Both teams looked a little off to start the game, and it took a little while before the points started to roll in. Neither team shot particularly well to start as Oklahoma City finished the first quarter 9-25 (36.0%) from the floor, including 1-8 (12.5%) from three, and Los Angeles was just 6-22 (27.3%) from the field and 1-10 (10.0%) from three.
Jerami Grant and Steven Adams had 7 points apiece in the first period for the Thunder, and Kentavious Cauldwell-Pope led the Lakers in scoring with 9. The Thunder also racked up 9 fouls early, including 3 on Paul George, who was forced to take a seat. At the end of the quarter, it was all tied up at 25-25.
Abdul Nader saw early play time due to George’s 3 fouls, and he went to work quickly in the second quarter as he scored the Thunder’s first 5 points of the period. The Lakers found some momentum, though, and for much of the quarter, they had the lead.
Paul George checked back in, though, and he finally found some rhythm as he scored 13 in the period to put his halftime total at 17. Russell Westbrook struggled from the floor shooting just 2-12 (16.7%) for the first half, but he tallied 8 points, 9 rebounds, and 9 assists at halftime to push the Thunder to a 59-57 lead over the Lakers.
The Thunder started the second half not scoring in the first few minutes, but it didn’t take long for Paul George to pick up right where he left off as he scored OKC’s first 9 points of the third quarter. Unfortunately, the effort was not quite there on the defensive end for the Thunder, and the Lakers were able to outscore OKC 25-19 in the period to take an 82-78 lead into the final frame.
The Thunder bench came to play to start the fourth as they quickly turned the deficit upside down to push OKC to their largest lead of the night at the time at 91-85 midway through the quarter.
The Lakers got to within 2 just a few plays later, but OKC called a timeout and then blew the game wide open as went up by 11 with just a little over 2 minutes left in the game. The Thunder cruised the rest of the way and left Los Angeles with the 107-100 victory.
Thunder Player of the Game
Paul George was booed from start to finish, and after picking up 3 fouls in the first 8 minutes of the game, it looked like it might be a long night for the SoCal native. Unfortunately for Los Angeles, George used the boos as motivation, and he put on quite the performance as he racked up 37 points on 15-29 (51.7%) shooting to go along with 4 rebounds, 4 steals, and 2 assists.
A Couple of Quick Thoughts
- Russ Has To Be Better: Russell Westbrook is in a weird cycle of shooting extremely poorly every night while shooting well on the other nights, and tonight was his bad night as he made just 3-20 (15.0%). He did manage another triple-double with 16 rebounds and 10 assists, but he has to either start hitting his shots or cut down on his attempts.
- Big Night on the Boards: The Thunder grabbed 64 rebounds, just 2 shy of their season-high, and they played a big part in the outcome of the game. Russell Westbrook and Steven Adams combined for 31 boards, and Adams had 8 on the offensive end, and despite the Lakers ability to find a lot of success down low, OKC was able to answer with some success of their own. When jump shots and three-point attempts are not falling, the Thunder relies heavily on the inside game to get things going, and that was definitely the case on a rough shooting night like tonight.
Blazing the Trail to Portland
The Thunder continues their West Coast road trip as they head to Portland where they will play the Trail Blazers on Friday night. This is the first meeting of the season between the two teams, but the Thunder has had a hard time beating the Blazers in Portland in recent years. OKC has lost the last 8 matchups to the Blazers on the road, and the last time they won was at the Moda Center was February 11, 2014.
Tip-off is set for 9:30 PM CT and will be broadcast on ESPN and Fox Sports Oklahoma. It will also be broadcast on the radio at WWLS 98.1 FM.
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