Again without Alex Caruso and Anthony Davis, the Los Angeles Lakers endured yet another sluggish start and needed overtime in a 114-113 comeback against the Oklahoma City Thunder to extend their winning streak to six games.
Much like the last game, the Lakers fell behind to start as they allowed the Thunder to dictate the tempo and get to the basket nearly at will. Dennis Schroder was able to cash in on a 3-pointer after an offensive rebound, but Oklahoma City still led 17-10 midway through the first.
Kendrick Williams and Justin Jackson heated up from the field, scoring a quick 11 points between them to push the Thunder lead to 17. Los Angeles had no answers for the Oklahoma City offense and as a result they found themselves down 37-23 after one.
Things did not get much better at the top of the second quarter as back-to-back 3s from the Thunder extended their lead to 20 points. Montrezl Harrell gave the Lakers some life with his scoring and found Kyle Kuzma for a dunk, while a Kentavious Caldwell-Pope transition layup trimmed the deficit to 14.
The Lakers’ offense finally began to pick up as they found success getting into the painted area, but Oklahoma City was able to respond and keep them at arm’s distance. Wesley Matthews triggered an 8-0 run after knocking down a pair of 3s.
But that momentum was offset as a flagrant foul and layup in the final seconds put the Lakers down 67-57 at halftime.
L.A. opened up the third quarter on a high note as they strung together a few stops and got into the paint to get within four points. Marc Gasol the key to their turnaround as he played excellent defense and got himself going offensively.
Harrell once again provided a much-needed spark, blocking Darius Bazley and later finished around the basket on consecutive possessions. Matthews blocked the Thunder on their last possession and Los Angeles walked into the fourth only down 84-80.
LeBron James came out aggressive, looking to score each time down the floor and put pressure on the Thunder defense. Meanwhile, Harrell was able to take advantage of his matchups down low and dominate around the rim.
A fast-break Kuzma layup gave the Lakers their first lead with just under five minutes remaining. Oklahoma City had an empty possession after a timeout, which led to calling another as James drained a 3-pointer to create some breathing room.
The Thunder responded to tie the game and after a pair of free throws from Harrell put the Lakers up, a Luguentz Dort and-1 changed leads yet again. Al Horford’s free throws put the Thunder up by three, but James later tied it and sent the game into overtime.
It marked the first time the Lakers played three consecutive overtime games since Nov. 1-5, 1991.
A Matthews 3-pointer gave the Lakers a lead late the extra period and it wound up holding despite the Thunder getting a chance for a game-winning basket on the final possession.
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