The Thunder hosted the Lakers on Saturday night looking to extend their recent success in big games. The Lakers were without LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Danny Green. With Oklahoma City only missing Nerlens Noel, all signs pointed to another win for the Thunder. However, the Lakers had other plans in mind for their weekend in OKC.
The Lakers took control of this one right from the start. The combination of knowing Los Angeles was without their stars and the Thunder dealing with a “Russ hangover” clearly took a toll on this team. Oklahoma City looked sluggish early on, and it was far too late before they decided to get things rolling.
The struggles for OKC were most evident on the defensive side of the ball. The Thunder couldn’t close out on perimeter shooting, but also gave up way too much space in the paint for Rajon Rondo to go to work. He had a quick 12 points in the first quarter on 6-7 shooting. In total, the Lakers scored 41 points in the first quarter compared to the Thunder’s 19.
Digging yourself into a 22 point deficit in the opening quarter is going to be tough to recover from even if your opponent isn’t at full strength. Kyle Kuzma took over for this Lakers squad, scoring 23 points in the first half. As a team, the Lakers shot 77% on 10-13 shooting from beyond the arc. The Thunder was able to score 30 points in the second quarter, yet the Lakers still led 73-49 at halftime.
🔘🔘⚪️⚪️ pic.twitter.com/UUMWSiCYyM— OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) January 12, 2020
The Thunder had a tall task at hand for the second half, but they didn’t go away easily. The Lakers managed to extend their lead up to 32 points during the third quarter, but the Thunder ultimately cut it down to 22 heading into the fourth.
This Thunder squad never gave up, and even cut the lead to 13 points with only a few minutes remaining. That being said, it doesn’t make up for giving up 125 points to a team without a lot of their offense on the court. At the end of the day, LA showed up to play Saturday night, and the Thunder did not. The Lakers shot nearly 50% from deep for the game, and shot 51.5% overall.
The Lakers also dominated the glass. They out rebounded OKC 54-37. Steven Adams played fairly well at times, but he had to take a breather eventually. Without having Nerlens Noel on the floor as a back-up, Dwight Howard dominated the paint with Mike Muscala defending.
If it wasn’t Rondo, or Kuzma, it was Dwight Howard or Quinn Cook. The Lakers always had someone stepping up to score the ball. The Thunder never had an answer until late in the game. When they did, the Lakers were right there to stop it. LA wins this one 125-110.
On to the next. pic.twitter.com/EaQ5OJ4kA4— OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) January 12, 2020
Thunder Player Of The Game
OKC only had one consistency on offense tonight and it was Danilo Gallinari. The fire power of Gallinari has been missed a couple times this season due to injury, but tonight he looked solid. He recorded 24 points on 8-17 from the floor, including 4-9 from three.
Back On The Road
The Thunder will be heading to Minnesota to take on the Timberwolves on Monday night. The game will tip-off at 7:00 PM CST. It will be televised on FSOK, and broadcast on the radio at WWLS 98.1 FM.
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