Entering the night with a modest two-game win streak, the atmosphere at Crpyto.com Arena was electric as the crowd knew what was at stake between the Los Angeles Lakers and Oklahoma City Thunder.
The two teams have been playing some of their basketball as of late and entered the night with an identical 36-37 record. The winner of the matchup would claim the tiebreaker as well as move up in the Western Conference standings. After a hard-fought battle, it was Los Angeles that wound up on top, beating Oklahoma City 116-111 and moving to .500 for the first time in over a year.
This was arguably the most important game so far during the 2022-23 season considering the ramifications, so it was incredibly encouraging and exciting to see Anthony Davis answer the call. Although the Thunder tried almost everything they could, they still had no answer for Davis who dominated the painted area on both ends of the floor.
Davis got going early, scoring 15 points in the first quarter to set the tone for Los Angeles. After a quiet second quarter, Davis picked things up in the second half and especially in the fourth quarter when the team needed him the most. The star big man had a game-high 37 points on an efficient 15-of-21 shooting to go along with 15 rebounds.
Dennis Schroder has drawn flack from fans for some of his questionable decision-making, but he has a knack for making up for it with clutch play in fourth quarters. That trend continued against the Thunder as he had three turnovers, but carried the Laker offense to begin the final period.
Oklahoma City had just brought the game to within one point before Schroder rattled off L.A.’s next seven points to give them some breathing room.
The guard scored 13 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter, but more importantly, gave them an energy lift in the second half when it seemed like they were just going through the motions.
The unsung hero of the night was Lonnie Walker IV, who had been collecting DNPs recently. With D’Angelo Russell out due to a hip injury, Walker stepped in and provided some scoring punch off the bench. Walker poured in 20 points, with most of his production coming in the first half.
What’s next for Lakers
The Lakers finish out their homestand with their first matchup of the season against the Chicago Bulls on Sunday. The two squads then get their rematch a couple of days later before Los Angeles heads out to Minnesota for another pivotal game.
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