After a rough loss to the Houston Rockets, the Los Angeles Lakers were right back on the road, heading to Oklahoma City to take on Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and the Thunder.
A tough road task was made even tougher with the announcement that Kobe Bryant would miss the game due to a sore shoulder. In his place, rookie Anthony Brown would make his first career start, having the tough distinction of trying to guard Durant.
The Thunder are looked at as a championship contender, starting off this season at 17-9 and coming off their first loss in seven games this past Thursday.
Jordan Clarkson got off to a strong start for the Lakers, hitting his first two shots, but a couple of Laker turnovers allowed the Thunder to take an early 6-4 lead. Kevin Durant started to get going with five straight points of his own, but a three from Lou Williams kept the Lakers within a basket. The Lakers offense struggled midway through the quarter as missed shots and turnovers allowed the Thunder to get momentum. An alley-oop from Westbrook to Adams followed by a dunk for Westbrook gave the Thunder their first double-digit lead at 22-11. Things continued to get worse for the Lakers as a gorgeous move from Durant put OKC up 15. One last three-pointer from Durant gave the Thunder a comfortable 20 point lead at the end of the first, 35-15.
Clarkson continued his solid game with a couple of baskets for the Lakers, but the Thunder’s hot shooting allowed them to continue to push out their lead to 25. Russell got going with a couple of nice baskets, but the lead grew to 29 after another jumper from Westbrook. The Thunder pushed the lead out as high as 34 as the Lakers were no match for Oklahoma City’s ridiculous shooting in the first half. A late run led by Williams allowed the Lakers to make a tiny dent in the lead, but they trailed 67-41 at the half.
Both teams got off to a pretty slow start offensively in the second half, but the Lakers’ rebounding issues reared their head again as multiple chances for the Thunder allowed them to convert on an Ibaka three-pointer. Another Durant three and the lead was back at 30. For their part, the Lakers continued to fight and play hard. Anthony Brown hit a jumper and Williams followed with a three for his 20th points of the night. It didn’t matter, however as the Thunder continued to pour it on the Lakers with Westbrook consistently setting up his teammates for easy baskets. An and-one from Dion Waiters and back-to-back baskets from Enes Kanter put the Thunder ahead by 39. A basket from Russell made it 92-55 after three quarters.
Nick Young started quickly, scoring the Lakers first eight points of the quarter, but the Lakers remained down by 32. The Lakers struggles continued even with Oklahoma City emptying their bench in the fourth. They continued to allow easy baskets, particularly to Enes Kanter who increased the Thunder lead to 40 midway through the quarter. Randle got his first points of the night on an offensive rebound and dunk. Another turnover from Randle allowed for an easy transition layup for Cameron Payne. A three from Anthony Morrow put the Thunder ahead by 46 with less than two minutes remaining. A three from Russell provided the final margin as the Lakers lost 118-78.