Despite some lackluster stretches throughout the game, Anthony Davis and the Los Angeles Lakers still managed to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 112-17 to extend their winning streak to five and improve to an NBA-leading 12-2 record.
Oklahoma City came into the matchup winless on the road, but seemed poised at certain points to steal the game as Los Angeles looked like they were coasting for extended periods of time. The Lakers turned the ball over 16 times and if the Thunder played a cleaner game on their end, then the outcome could have definitely been different.
Anthony Davis looked more like himself against Oklahoma City as he finished the night with 34 points to go along with seven rebounds, four assists, four blocks, and two steals.
Despite the win, Davis admitted the defense was not up to his or the team’s standards.
“Our defense took a night off. We wasn’t as great defensively as we usually are. We were able to stay in the game, but we were able to get some stops down the end of the game and able to come out with the win. But, we have to do a better job defensively, especially when Avery’s out. He kinda just drives the force for us defensively and since he’s been out our defense kinda took a hit but we have to do a better job,” Davis shared.
“Most importantly, everything’s correctable. Anything we do defensively is correctable. Some box outs, some defensive assignments. But ultimately we get the win and we can’t be upset with ourselves but we can get better.”
The Thunder had to be somewhat tired as they played a tough game against the Los Angeles Clippers the night before, so it was disappointing to see them hanging around with the Lakers all the way up until late in the fourth quarter. Los Angeles never truly got a chance to put them away for good even after putting together some nice runs in the second half, a credit to Oklahoma City’s effort and energy.
As Davis mentioned, the purple and gold managed to buckle down defensively during an Oklahoma City 9-0 run that narrowed the lead to two with barely two minutes left in the game. He came up with one of the biggest defensive plays of the night as he switched onto Danilo Gallinari out past the three-point line where he forced him into a traveling violation, helping seal the win.
The Lakers have proven they can play defense at a much higher level than they showed against the Thunder, and they will get a good chance to show that in their upcoming rematch.