The Oklahoma City Thunder opened the new year in Los Angeles against the Lakers; their first game of a back-to-back at the Staples Center. The Thunder easily ran through the Lakers by a final score of 133-96 on Wednesday night. The Thunder had five players in double figures and the game was well in hand by the 2nd half.
The Lakers opened the game on a 10-0 spurt and the Thunder seemed to be out of whack on both ends of the floor. In need of offense, the Thunder turned to Carmelo Anthony. Melo took advantage of his matchup with the rookie Kyle Kuzma and hit 5 of 7 shots in the quarter for 12 points. Melo's offensive efficiency combined with the Thunder's defense settling in got the Thunder back into the game. By the end of the first, we were knotted at 26.
In the second quarter, Paul George came alive. George found his shooting stroke and continued to be a pest on the defensive end. He scored 11 straight points for the Thunder at the start of the quarter and was the catalyst for a 24-7 run that broke this game open. George was hot from beyond the arc and used the pick-and-roll to perfection. Melo continued his hot shooting from the first quarter and Westbrook was unstoppable in transition. The big 3 combined for 50 of the Thunder's 63 points in the half. The Thunder led 63-44 at the half.
There was no let up for the Thunder as the third quarter began. George and Ferguson both hit threes and a dunk from Steven Adams gave the Thunder a 23 point lead. Westbrook turned it up a notch, attacking the rim, getting his teammates involved, showing more of why he is the reigning MVP. The Thunder built their lead to as many as 28 in the third quarter. The Thunder led 96-70 after the third quarter.
The second half turned into the Terrance Ferguson show. Ferguson scored 24 points in the half alone, including six 3 point baskets. Ferguson got his first start of his career, in place of the injured Andre Roberson. He scored 10 straight points including two rim-rattling slams and gave the Thunder a 30 point lead.
The Thunder shot 60% from the field and hit 14 threes on the night. They also had 36 assists and forced 17 turnovers. The Thunder scored 66 points in the paint and gave up 44 to the Lakers.
George scored 24 points on 9-of-14 shooting and Ferguson had a career-high 24 points to lead the Thunder. Westbrook scored 20 points with 12 assists. Melo chipped in 21 points on 8-of-14 shooting. Raymond Felton had 10 assists off the bench.
Kyle Kuzma scored 18 points to lead the Lakers. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope chipped in 12.
The Thunder return to action in Los Angeles tomorrow night against the Clippers.