It was not one of the cleaner wins, but the Los Angeles Lakers managed to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder, 112-107.
The Thunder were playing on the second end of a back-to-back situation, but hung around the entire game thanks to some hot shooting from Dennis Schroder and Danilo Gallinari. Every time it seemed that Los Angeles was going to pull away, Oklahoma City had an answer and kept it close almost down to the wire.
Although LeBron James recorded a historic triple-double and Anthony Davis had arguably his best all-around offensive performance, it was Rajon Rondo who had a noticeable impact on the game. He has been working his way back from a calf injury and had his best outing so far during the 2019-20 NBA season.
When asked about how helpful it is to have Rondo on the team, head coach Frank Vogel had nothing but good things to say.
“It helps just to be able to defer some. We obviously still want the ball in LeBron’s hands as much as possible, but when he runs the second unit when LeBron is out and even with the two of them playing really well together, I think that’s when we’re gonna be at our best,” Vogel explained.
“Rondo had 10 assists, but Rajon’s statistics are not measured on a stat sheet. It’s measured in swag. He just gives us some confidence and an air about us that we know we’re going into a battle with just a heck of a basketball player and he just helps our swag.”
Since returning to the lineup, Rondo has given the Lakers a huge boost in the playmaking department as he has been able to run the offense and move James off the ball more. Against the Thunder, Rondo did a good job of pushing in transition when given the opportunity as well as organizing the Lakers in the halfcourt.
His 10 assists are a good reminder of what he can bring to Los Angeles as one of the knocks on the roster in the offseason was their perceived lack of ball handlers and guard play. When healthy, Rondo has proven he is more than capable of filling that role on any given night.
Now winners of five straight, the purple and gold are beginning to look more and more like a team that is settling in and gelling. They now hit the road for an immediate rematch with the Thunder in Oklahoma City.