The Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Los Angeles Lakers at home, 114-90. Led by the hot hand of Carmelo Anthony, OKC overcame a sloppy start to surge in the 3rd quarter. Melo finished with 27 points on 10-15 shooting, including 4-6 from 3-point range. And it was he, along with Russell Westbrook, who broke the game open in the 3rd after OKC found themselves trailing near the end of the 1st half. Combined, the pair finished with 20 points in the 3rd, ultimately which led to the end of LA’s chances.
Westbrook struggled with his shot for most of the night, at one point shooting 1-12 from the floor and then finishing 8-22 on the night leading to 19 points, 7 assists, and 6 rebounds. Meanwhile, Paul George also struggled from the floor, finishing 5-14 shooting and 3-9 from 3-point range for 13 points. However, Steven Adams took advantage of the soft Laker middle and slow rotations to finish with 21 points and 10 rebounds (7 offensive) on 10-12 shooting.
The bench too struggled for large stretches, both in finishing plays and stopping the Lakers’ drives to the rim, and are still very much an up-and-down group. If the Thunder are looking to make a trade, adding a playmaker to the bench might be a good place to start.
The outcome of the game wasn’t all that surprising, though the early struggles were a bit disappointing. Never the less, the team did what they needed to do, are back to 5 games over .500 and own the 5-spot in the seedings, and have 2 days off before facing LeBron James and the Cavaliers.
- Westbrook, in a game after committing 10 turnovers, oddly struggled with his shot, missing numerous attempts right at the rim.
- The Thunder played some real matador defense in the middle for much of the 1st half, as Julius Randle scored 16 points on 8-10 shooting, many of them uncontested dunks.
- Randle also finished the game with 16 points on 8-11 shooting.
- Steven Adams: in flight.
- Catch-and-shoot Melo still makes so much sense .
- Welcome back, ‘Dre.