Russell Westbrook’s late surge couldn’t prevent the Oklahoma City Thunder from dropping its fifth game in seven outings. In the contest’s waning moments, the Los Angeles Lakers received a timely Nick Young three to prevail 111-109.
Young finished with 17 points, on 4-of-5 shooting from deep. Other Lakers players to provide standout performances vs. the reeling Thunder include: Jordan Clarkson (18 points), Timofey Mozgov (16), Lou Williams (13), Jose Calderon (12), and rookie Brandon Ingram (11).
Oklahoma City was again paced by the vigorous output of Russell Westbrook (34 points, 13 assists, 8 rebounds). OKC teammates Steven Adams (20, career-high), Victor Oladipo (14), Joffrey Lauvergne (12) and Enes Kanter (10) added double-digit scoring in a tough-luck effort.
After winning two straight, the Thunder (8-7) has now found itself on the wrong end of consecutive competitive endeavors. Meanwhile, the Lakers (8-7) continue to exceed preseason expectations.
Final: Lakers 111, Thunder 109. Westbrook 34 p, 8 r, 13 a. Adams 20 p, 6 r. Lakers hit OKC for 14-of-27 from 3.— Erik Horne (@ErikHorneOK) November 23, 2016
Following a rough first quarter, the Thunder struggled to contain Los Angeles’ efficient outside shooting. Overall, the home-standing Lakers connected on 14-of-29 three-point attempts. The Lakers’ bench also outscored Oklahoma City’s by a sizable 55-33 margin.
While Westbrook’s mammoth 17 point-eruption during a five-minute span in the fourth quarter brought the Thunder close, ultimately Oklahoma City’s defensive ineptitude from the perimeter sealed its fate.
The Thunder’s defensive lapses throughout a harrowing 2-5 stretch has epitomized the team’s competitive struggles. The conspicuous elephant in the room now for OKC is the growing knowledge that even sustained brilliance from Russell Westbrook will only take this grouping so far.
Oklahoma City has a short turnaround before facing the Sacramento Kings tonight at 10:30 EST.