At this point, it’s almost beginning to appear as though the Los Angeles Lakers are playing a game with themselves to see how bad they can perform before roaring back.
The Lakers trailed by as many as 20 points to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first half, but would once again erase the deficit, force overtime, and come away with a 114-113 win over the Thunder. The victory was the Lakers’ sixth straight, and third consecutive in OT, bringing their record up to 20-6.
It marked the first time the Lakers played three overtime games in a row since Nov. 1-5, 1991.
They were without Anthony Davis and Alex Caruso for the second straight game, while the Thunder were didn’t have the services of star point guard Shai Gilgious-Alexander and a slew of others.
LeBron James continued to play at a high level, finishing with 25 points, seven assists and six rebounds while logging more than 40 minutes for the third straight game. James hit a game-tying 3 with just 19.6 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter to send the game to overtime.
Then with the Lakers up one in the extra period, James nearly stole the inbounds pass, helping to seal the win for the Lakers.
While the Lakers did a better job of containing the Thunder on the glass — allowing just seven offensive rebounds as opposed to the 15 in the previous game — they still struggled to keep OKC out of the paint as they allowed 66 points.
Where the Lakers were helped was with their bench which once again came up big. Montrezl Harrell again dominated inside to the tune of 20 points, while Wesley Matthews added another 10 including a big-time clutch 3-pointer late in overtime.
Markieff Morris also had a solid game with nine points and six rebounds.
With Davis out, it was Kyle Kuzma who stepped into the starting lineup and he continued his high energy, all-around play with 15 points and a team-high nine rebounds. Dennis Schroder was again effective with 19 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
The idea of the Lakers being able to flip a switch is something many don’t want to hear about, but it certainly seems to be the case. After allowing 67 first-half points to the Thunder, L.A. clamped down in the second half as OKC scored just 46 points total in the second half and overtime.
Next up for Lakers
The Lakers finish up their homestand with a meeting against Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies before heading to Denver for another Western Conference Finals rematch with the Nuggets.
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