The Oklahoma City Thunder were without Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony in tonight's clash in Los Angeles, and their opponents took full advantage. Five Lakers players scored in double-digits as L.A. pummeled the shorthanded Thunder 106-81 on Thursday night.
Russ and Melo were both inactive due to ankle injuries suffered in the Thunder's win against Golden State. The Thunder's offense was heavily effected without two of their big three, and Paul George was left to carry the offensive load.
George came out firing, hitting six of his first seven shot attempts, and the Thunder opened up a 22-13 lead in the first. After George began to cool down, the Lakers started to get easy layups and second chance points. Julius Randle had his way in the paint and Brandon Ingram had success running point for the Lakers. Despite George's 16 points in the first quarter, the Lakers still led 30-27.
The Thunder's issues defending the three-point line returned as the second quarter began. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Kyle Kuzma hit a hat trick of threes to open a 39-31 lead. George started the quarter on the bench and the Thunder offense struggled as expected. The Lakers continued to pile on threes, hitting a total of six in the quarter. OKC fell behind by double-digits until George came back and pulled them within six before the half. The Thunder trailed 46-52 at halftime.
In the second half, George continued to carry the load offensively but the Thunder just could not get a stop. After an alley-oop from George to Steven Adams, the score was 55-61 in favor of the Lakers. LA then went on a tear from the three-point line, hitting four threes as part of a 18-4 run. Ingram hit two treys, Hart and Kuzma both hit one, and the Lakers broke the game open leading 79-59. The Thunder trailed 83-66 after three quarters.
The game was well out of hand as the fourth quarter began. The Thunder played George and Adams for a brief stint in the period before bringing in Nick Collison, Daniel Hamilton, and P.J. Dozier for the remainder of the game. Dozier was able to get a layup in his first NBA minutes.
The Thunder shot the ball very poorly tonight, shooting 35% from the field and 23% from the beyond the arc. They turned the ball over 14 times and gave up 58 points in the paint. The Lakers were able to dish 28 assists and knock down 10 threes, while shooting 44% from the field and 32% from downtown.
George was a one-man show tonight, scoring 29 points on 11-of-25 shooting. Adams had 13 points and 9 rebounds. No other Thunder player scored in double-digits on the night.
Caldwell-Pope led five Lakers in double figures with 20 points, Ingram scored 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting, Randle had 17 points and 6 rebounds, Kuzma chipped in 16, and Josh Hart had 10.
The Thunder are back in action in Oklahoma City on Sunday evening against the Memphis Grizzlies.