What looked to be an easy win turned out to be a disaster of a finish as the Los Angeles Lakers lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder, 123-115.
Anthony Davis was cleared to play and he looked good moving on the floor early as he scored six of the Lakers’ first 12 points. Darius Bazley and Oklahoma City started to show signs of life offensively and were able to trim the Los Angeles lead to six.
The Lakers quickly resettled things as Kent Bazemore nailed his second corner three of the night and Malik Monk threw down a vicious dunk in transition to push the lead to 13. Los Angeles had no issues scoring the basketball as they were able to break down the Oklahoma City defense and went into the second up 41-19.
Russell Westbrook, in his return to Oklahoma City, continued to dissect the Thunder defense as he was able to find Dwight Howard and surprisingly Carmelo Anthony for lobs to raise run the score up to 49-24. The Thunder looked like they could make a dent in the deficit, but the Lakers were able to answer each time down the floor.
It was a well-rounded effort from the bench to keep the scoring going for the Lakers, though Davis eventually returned and converted on an and-1 to push the lead to 26. Oklahoma City was able to capitalize on L.A. turnovers and closed the half strong, but the Lakers still went into the locker room comfortably ahead 72-56.
The Laker defense was not sharp to begin the third as they allowed the Thunder to score too easily, and a Lu Dort three brought themselves within 10. Oklahoma City eventually made it a single-digit game but Avery Bradley provided a spark as he nailed consecutive threes to push the lead back to 13.
Rajon Rondo tweaked his ankle and came out, but Davis was able to keep L.A. afloat from the midrange. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander ignited a run in the final minutes of the quarter and hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to inexplicably put the Lakers down 97-95.
Westbrook recorded his first triple-double as a Laker after grabbing his tenth rebound and followed it up with a corner three. However, Los Angeles’ offense stalled at the worst time and Oklahoma City extended their advantage to eight.
Davis tried his best to get the Lakers back in it, but the team’s play on both ends prevented them from making much of a run. Monk was a late-game hero as he found Westbrook on a dump off pass and finished a tough lay-in, but he and Anthony air-balled threes to tie the game and the Purple and Gold would go home with a disappointing loss.
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