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Thunder vs Lakers preview and gamethread: OKC’s sliding prospects welcome LeBron-less LA to the ‘Peake

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Five games to go.

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Oklahoma City Thunder Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

Game: Oklahoma City Thunder vs Los Angeles Lakers

Time: 7PM CST

Location: Chesapeake Arena, OKC

Broadcast: TNT

Counterpart: Silver Screen and Roll

***

The Thunder take on the Los Angeles Lakers tonight looking to halt a 2-game home skid. Most recently, the Thunder have dropped two in a row to the Nuggets and Mavericks and find themselves in the playoff cellar at this point. While climbing out to avoid the Warriors or Nuggets is near-impossible at this point, OKC should be solely focused on simply playing 48 minutes of competent basketball.

What does “competent basketball” look like? Well, I don’t know...let’s just randomly grab the fact that OKC has trailed by double-digits in 18 of their past 21 games, often in the first half. It’s sort of a running joke at this point — basically every team, no matter how sub-mediocre, can start hot against the Thunder, and a 1st quarter, 70% shooting effort, has become en vogue. If you’re a bad team, OKC’s 1st quarter defense, combined with a complete inability to produce offense (witness the 16-2 deficit vs the Grizzlies), will make you look like Golden State for 18 minutes.

Seeding is an irrelevant discussion at this point. The Thunder simply need to demonstrate to themselves that they’re not worse than the worst, especially in the first half of games. LeBron James, shut down for the rest of the season, is a side note. All that matters now, if OKC hopes to avoid embarrassing themselves (again) in the 1st round, is to find some functional offense (I see you Steven) where OKC doesn’t fall behind early and has to play catchup for 40 minutes.

Until that happens, I have no choice but to assume OKC is playing the underdog from here on out. Even against lottery teams.

Give me something, Thunder. Don’t end the season this way.

Poll

Who do you think will win tonight?

This poll is closed

  • 75%
    Thunder
    (22 votes)
  • 24%
    Lakers
    (7 votes)
29 votes total Vote Now