The Los Angeles Lakers lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday, blowing the largest lead they ever held in a game after a spectacular collapse.
The Lakers’ defense switched off after the first quarter, allowing the Thunder to score 78 points over the following two periods and take the lead for the first time in the game. Oklahoma City came back from being 26 points down, becoming the first team to overcome a 25-point or larger deficit against Los Angeles in more than 25 years.
Russell Westbrook had a rollercoaster of a game, raking in another triple-double of his career while also registering 10 turnovers and getting ejected in the last seconds of the clash. Overall, the Lakers’ offense had an average night as the team shot 50% from the field and just 31.4% from downtown.
But to Anthony Davis, the Lakers need to start by looking at their disastrous defensive performance to figure out what went wrong on Wednesday night.
“I had a shot that could’ve went in, Melo had great looks and missed them, Baze had a good look in the corner and he made two but missed that one,” he said of missed opportunities.
“So there were a lot of looks that we wished that could’ve went in, but that’s not why we lost the game. It was on the defensive end.”
Davis pointed out the urgency in the Lakers’ game changed drastically after the first quarter. L.A. held the Thunder to just 19 points in the opening 12 minutes, chalking up 41 itself. But then its defense caved and the offense soon followed, making what promised to be a rout of the hosts into an embarrassing loss.
“They had a 41-point quarter and we didn’t score in the fourth quarter,” Davis said. “So that’s another reason why, but they put up 19 in the first and 41 in the third, so that’s very unacceptable on defense.
“We have to be better on that end. So we’re not worried about the offense when we’ve been a team that’s been in the middle of the pack or below all year on the defensive end. We have to give better effort.”
Frank Vogel: Lakers can’t take foot off gas for anyone
Head coach Frank Vogel appeared calm after the disastrous outing in Oklahoma City. Vogel took note of the dip in intensity in the Lakers’ basketball after reaching a sizable first-quarter lead. But he said that the humbling circumstances surrounding the game can be a valuable experience for L.A.
“Disappointing loss, but lesson learned,” he said. “NBA season is a long season and a lesson for our group that you can’t ever take your foot off the gas for anyone.”
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!