This was a surprising game to say the least. After the biggest loss in franchise history to the Clippers, and another defeat to the Denver Nuggets, the Laker team came out fighting today. The Oklahoma City Thunder started out strong, attacking the paint, and started with a 35-26 point lead after the first quarter.
During the second quarter, the Lakers fought back, narrowing the lead. They flew out in transition more, pushed up the tempo, and took shots early in the shot clock. Small ball was starting to work and they were draining some perimeter shots to narrow the lead at halftime to five points.
Then it happened. Jodie Meeks had the quarter of his life. He scored 20 points in the third quarter, on a foray of backdoor cuts, dribble penetration to the cup, and three-point shots from multiple angles. Jordan Farmar pitched in with his share of three-pointers and the Lakers turned an eighteen point deficit into an eighteen point lead into the early fourth quarter. There was a 36 point turnaround. Oklahoma City look bewildered in the third quarter, and Durant wasn’t hitting his usual shots. Westbrook kept forcing the issue from the perimeter and simply couldn’t hit. Derek Fisher was substituted into the game to stabilize the offense, but he missed a few shots and made some careless turnovers as well. The Lakers won the third quarter alone 36 to 19.
In the fourth quarter, the Oklahoma City Thunder made their run. Durant made a few timely three-pointers, but more importantly, kept facilitating to the rest of his teammates. He had a triple double early in the 4th. The Laker squad, however, slowed the tempo down. This killed their offensive aggression and they weren’t getting clean looks like they were earlier when the game was fast-paced. Russell Westbrook settled down and exploded for a poster dunk on Bazemore. Bazemore returned the favor with timely three-point shots and a made layup late in the 4th. This gave the Lakers just enough cushion to pull out the win.
Jodie Meeks ended with a career high 42 points on 6 of 11 from behind the arc. Pau Gasol had 20 points on 8 of 17 shooting, with 11 rebounds. Kevin Durant finished with 27 points on 8 of 19 from the field, 12 assists, and 10 rebounds. Russell Westbrook finished with 20 points, 8 assists, and 7 rebounds on 7 of 23 shooting.