Despite missing three starters, the Los Angeles Lakers still defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder to complete a successful road trip.
With Anthony Davis, LeBron James, and Danny Green all sitting out the game, Rajon Rondo looked to be aggressive with the ball and scored 12 of the team’s first 19 points. Meanwhile, Kyle Kuzma also continued his hot shooting from the previous night, knocking down jumpers and helping the Lakers push their lead into double digits.
Los Angeles continued to push the envelope, playing with energy and pace on both ends and extending their lead in the process. The Thunder went cold from the field to end the quarter and the Lakers bench helped the team go into the second quarter up 41-19.
Oklahoma City seemed to find some rhythm scoring the basketball to start the quarter, but Los Angeles bench was able to answer from the perimeter to help maintain their advantage. Quinn Cook and Troy Daniels, who have been out of the rotation, each knocked down shots from the outside and kept the pressure on the Thunder.
Rondo and the rest of the starters returned to close out the period and they picked off right where they left off, pushing the ball in semi-transition and limiting Oklahoma City to one shot. As a result, they went into halftime up 73-49.
Much like the beginning of the game, Rondo had complete control of the offense as he was able to score five quick points and assisted on an Avery Bradley three that extended the Lakers lead. Oklahoma City responded by hitting four consecutive threes, going on a 16-4 run and capturing the momentum midway through the third quarter.
Despite the Thunder surging on offense, the Lakers weathered the storm well as Daniels and Alex Caruso knocked down timely shots to help them stay well in front. After regaining their composure, the purple and gold still found themselves up 102-82 heading into the final frame.
Although down 20, the Thunder continued to fight back as Chris Paul got going offensively, knocking down a patented midrange jumper and drawing an and-one opportunity off Dwight Howard. However, Jared Dudley provided a defensive spark after walling off two consecutive Oklahoma City drives which eventually led to a Cook layup on the other end.
A pair of dunks from Howard seemed to deflate the Thunder but Shai Gilgeous-Alexander went on a personal 9-0 run that brought them back within striking distance. Despite that, Kuzma iced the game after hitting a deep three within the final two minutes.