In the Thunder’s second game of a back-to-back set, they were plundered by the Los Angeles Lakers 128-99. This loss sent the Thunder (5-6) back to eleventh place in the Western Conference, while giving the Lakers (10-3) a better footing as the best team in the league.
The Thunder never led in this one as the Lakers asserted themselves early in this game. The Lakers jumped out to a 16-4 run to begin the game, and with Al Horford out for rest, attacking the paint became their forte to open things up. Anthony Davis scored 12 of his 18 points (8-13) in the opening period and commanded his group of guys to a nine point lead to kick off the second.
The second quarter gave way for Los Angeles to put a bow on this game early. A 16-0 run midway through the second quarter pushed their lead to 24 and the Thunder had no response the rest of the way.
Pressing the issue was the key factor in Wednesday’s win as Isaiah Roby, the 6-foot-8 forward, filled the void at center with Horford’s absence. This lack of an anchor down low led to big nights for bigs Montrezl Harrell and Anthony Davis, who powered their way inside for 21 and 18 points respectively. Once the Thunder began challenging the purple and gold from inside, they busted out the three ball, shooting a blistering hot 17-37 (46%.) LeBron James dropped 27 points (9-20) with 6 boards, and 7 assists in this battle. To everyone’s astonishment however, a majority of his points came from deep, knocking down 5 of his 8 attempts. Fellow members of the squad followed in suit of the Lakers main contributors, with Dennis Schroder, Markieff Morris, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope all etching up double-figures.
For Oklahoma City, this game was used as a stepping stone to develop their young group of guys. None of the Thunder’s players took the lead role in this one, with the team’s leading scorer being Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who put up 17 points (5-12) with just two boards and an assist. Isaiah Roby enervated his way to 11 points (4-7) and 9 rebounds as the starter, while George Hill and Aleksej Pokusevski put in 10 a piece.
For Pokusevski, this was bar none his best game of the year with 4 rebounds, 2 assists, and a team-high 3 blocks to piece nicely with his first double-digit performance of his career. For the 19-year-old big, he kept humble when asked about his performance of defense saying, “That’s my job. Just keep playing defense. Blocks are just coming because I’m a big guy trying to use my tools.”
An even coat of point distribution was laid out, with all but one of the Thunder’s 13 active players putting up numbers in this one. That spread of points was never close enough for the firepower the Lakers stars imposed though.
Oklahoma City will have yet another chance to win on Friday ,as they tango with the Chicago Bulls (4-7.)