The Los Angeles Lakers finished up their road trip against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday night, looking to snap their four-game losing streak.
The Lakers have struggled against the young Thunder the last couple of seasons, but they were able to come out on top in this one with a 129-120 victory to end their losing streak.
Given the team’s recent struggles, Darvin Ham opted to make a starting lineup change, putting in Jarred Vanderbilt for D’Angelo Russell. That gave the Lakers more length defensively but also put more pressure on LeBron James as the sole ball-handler without much shooting around him.
This lineup actually got off to a quality start as Anthony Davis had a trio of buckets early and Taurean Prince drained a triple to take an early 11-9 lead.
While the Thunder were making some tough looks early, the Laker defense was strong, which allowed them to get out in transition for some easy looks for James.
Naturally though, Thunder star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander got going offensively, drawing a couple fouls on drives to the basket and then knocking one in from deep. For L.A., Rui Hachimura was red-hot early off the bench with a pair of triples, a midrange jumper and two buckets inside. After an entertaining first quarter, the Thunder led 39-36.
After being demoted to the bench, D’Angelo Russell was still making an impact as he began the second with eight straight points for the Lakers. Prince then hit another triple to put the Lakers up seven, forcing a Thunder timeout.
Chet Holmgren helped bring some energy back to his team with a bug dunk out of the timeout and then Jalen Williams hit a 3.
Overall though, the Lakers did a nice job of maintaining their lead in the second quarter and went into the halftime locker room with a 71-59 lead.
James came out hot in the third quarter, making some free throws and then burying a triple to extend the lead to 14.
Things got rolling from there for the Lakers with Hachimura and James both hitting more shots from deep and then Davis finishing a dunk to make it 90-70.
Reaves got involved in the action from there, making back-to-back 3s including a four-point play. The Thunder closed the quarter strong though, staying in the game by cutting their deficit to 107-91 going into the fourth.
The Thunder run continued into the fourth quarter with Holmgren connecting from deep. He then had a putback to get his team back within singe digits before Davis made a huge midrange shot for L.A.
From there, it was all LeBron as he made a bunch of shots to close out the Thunder and finish with his first 40-ball of the season.
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