The Los Angeles Lakers will be looking to get back in the win column after a 107-87 loss to the Houston Rockets.
After coming up with a huge win against the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday, the Lakers were unable to keep that momentum in their return home to the Staples Center after an eight-game road trip.
Meanwhile, the Oklahoma City Thunder are coming off a 104-100 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on primetime television. With arguably two of the most talented players in the league on their roster, the Thunder have yet to hit their stride since Kevin Durant’s return from his season-ending foot surgery last year.
Headlining the frontcourt for the Thunder is of course, Kevin Durant. After playing only 27 games last season, Durant has picked up where he left off. He is currently third in the league in scoring with 27 points per game, and perhaps even more impressive is efficient he’s been. He is shooting a career-high 52 percent from the field and 43 percent from three.
Next to Durant is the seventh-year man out of the Republic of Congo, Serge Ibaka. Ibaka is known for his freakish athleticism on both the offensive and defensive end. But he’s consistently improved on his jumper each year including this one, and has shown to be very capable of hitting shots from beyond the arc.
There is no doubt that the alpha dog and floor general for the Thunder is Russell Westbrook out of UCLA. His combination of raw athleticism and sheer tenacity have made the L.A. native one of the premier point guards in the NBA. He is currently sixth in the league in scoring with 25 points a game. He is also second in assist with nine per game and tops in steals with two per game.
Rounding out the starting five for the Thunder is Andre Roberson out of Colorado. In just his third year, he is averaging four points per game. In late-game situations though, Dion Waiters is the man usually at the two spot. Waiters is averaging ten points and three rebounds per game in his second full season with Oklahoma City.
Keys To Victory:
Containing Westbrook and Durant: When a team has not one but two players of elite caliber, there is no way you can expect to try and shut down either of them. All you can do is is at least try to contain them. Despite the huge numbers these two are putting up, teams have found ways to beat them down the stretch. Despite Westbrook and Durant scoring 27 and 25 last game, the Cavs were able to take advantage when they were off the court en route to a win.
Los Angeles Lakers (4-22) vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (17-9)
2:00 P.M. PST, December 19, 2015
Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
TV: TWC SportsNet
Radio: 710 ESPN (English)/ 1330 (Spanish)
Thunder Projected Starting Lineup:
PG: Russell Westbrook
SG: Andre Roberson
SF: Kevin Durant
PF: Serge Ibaka
C: Steven Adams
Key Reserves: SG Dion Waiters, PG DJ Augustin, C Enes Kanter
Lakers Projected Starting Lineup:
PG: Jordan Clarkson
SG: Lou Williams
SF: Anthony Brown
PF: Larry Nance Jr.
C: Roy Hibbert
Key Reserves: PG D’Angelo Russell, PF Julius Randle, SF Nick Young