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Thunder vs. Lakers Preview: Thunder Look to Beat LA Three Times in a Week

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A Thunder win may not be a good gift for Kobe's farewell tour.

"I'd like to impart some words I've always lived by. Mo' Money, Mo' Money, Mo' Money." - Uncle Phil
"I'd like to impart some words I've always lived by. Mo' Money, Mo' Money, Mo' Money." - Uncle Phil
W. Bennett Berry

Where They At: Oklahoma City Thunder

The Thunder have won eight of their last nine battles that include beating Los Angeles teams twice in a row. Coming off their biggest margin over the Los Angeles Lakers and their biggest road victory against the Los Angeles Clippers, The Thunder now look to Beat LA the third time in a span of five days.

Staying at Los Angeles and having one day off after a last-minute win should help the Thunder get rid of the fatigue physically and mentally, if they ever know what fatigue is. (I can still feel the adrenaline thinking back the Clippers contest in which the lead shifted five times in the last 60 ticks.)

Where They At: Los Angeles Lakers

Kobe Bryant started last game at the Denver Nuggets, after a sore shoulder benched him at OKC. The veteran has gradually found his rhythm with the season going and helped the Lakers pull away with a win with a season-high 31 points.

Still, the Lakers have lost eight of their last ten matches. They are trying to figure out the chemistry while having a farewell tour for Bryant at the same time. The multitasking does not work out well basketball-wise on the court. Despite Lakers rookies D'Angelo Russell and Larry Nance Jr. have both flashed out some vine-worthy moments, the team can hardly contest for 48 minutes.

The Matchup

Last time the two teams met, Russell Westbrook yawned on the bench en route to Thunder’s blowout. Wednesday’s rematch will not likely to have the same overwhelming script for the Thunder, but Westbrook and Kevin Durant will undoubtedly bully whoever the Lakers put on them.

Despite Bryant's latest feat, the Lakers' offense is still iffy. Their defense allow 107.2 points per game, second only to the New Orleans Pelicans. The Thunder, on the other hand, average second most points(107.4) in the league. The Lakers have a relatively better shot at the second unit with the assist of Russell's thread. If Nick Young does not make poor shot selections, he can get the Lakers some momentum against Thunder’s less athletic reserves.

Bryant has labeled Durant one of the top 5 contenders he has ever encountered. Durant validated Bryant’s statement at Staples Center on Monday with his two-way skills: a go-ahead jumper and a block shot. He surely would not mind backing Bryant one more time in the same arena face-to-face.

Prediction: Thunder 113, Lakers 92

2015-16 NBA Season Game

@

19-9

5-23

December 23rd, 2015

Los Angeles, LA

9:30PM Central Standard Time

TV: NBA TV

Injury Report: None

This Season's Matchups: Thunder Leads, 1-0 (118-78)

Probable Starters

Russell Westbrook

PG

Jordan Clarkson

Andre Roberson

SG

Louis Williams

Kevin Durant

SF

Kobe Bryant

Serge Ibaka

PF

Larry Nance Jr.

Steven Adams

C

Roy Hibbert