The Lakers had three days off. All it changed was roster notes. Kobe and Steve Nash are done for the season. Kobe, as defiant as ever, challenged the front office to get their act together. Steve Nash was defiant too. He said he is going to take next year’s money regardless of the fallout. Without their two biggest stars- and frankly what else is new- the Lakers ventured into Oklahoma City to face the team they surprisingly beat on Sunday. The memory of the loss motivated the Thunder into a desperate effort. Once the ball tipped the Lakers were on the other side of their wrath. Russell Westbrook played angry, as if the Lakers stole something. He scored 9 of his team’s first 11 points. The Lakers could not absorb his energy. They struggled making open shots. Jodie Meeks was 1-5. Wes Johnson missed two open looks. Pau Gasol was 2 for 6. The Lakers were down by 9 with four minutes left. They had 15 points on 30% shooting and OKC was well on their way to posting a 30 point quarter. A Kevin Durant three put the Thunder up by 12. At the end of the quarter the Lakers had 19 points. The Thunder had 33.
In the second quarter not much changed. The Lakers are a terrible two point shooting team and the Thunder made sure they did not get open looks from three, forcing them to confront their weakness. It did not take long for the lead to mushroom to 18. But a quick run by the Lakers with Xavier Henry finishing at the rim and Kent Bazemore hitting a three had the lead at 11. Durant and Westbrook were forced back into the game. And that was that. The Thunder went on a 13-1 run. The lead blossomed to 23. When people say Jordan Farmar can be a starting point guard in this league you remind them of the stats in the second quarter: 10 minutes, 0 points. The rest of the Lakers were just as dismal and not athletic and the disparity between their lack of talent and the Thunder’s quickness to the rim was the difference between water and rock. And of course the Lakers did not compete defensively. But they took the three point shots D’antoni so loves. At the end of the quarter they were down by 14. Note: Pau was a no show, not competing, not interested, repeatedly getting his shot blocked, not rebonding. Ryan Kelly played the hardest out of everybody and he made stupid plays on defense, like trying to block a Westbrook jumper.
In the third Durant got into foul trouble and had to sit. Instead of that being a hindrance it was a benefit to OKC. They played faster and a guard oriented game. But a Wes jam and a Kelly three cut the lead to 11. Consecutive baskets by Ibaka and Westbrook had the lead back at 17. Jodie Meeks fouled Westbrook on a three and the lead was 20. A crazy bank by Westbrook had the lead at 23. He had 26 points. Message received; you bad. So are the Thunder. They scored 41 points in the quarter. They had 101 points. And a 24 point lead. Both Durant and Westbrook took the same amount of shots, 17. They both had 29 points. Ibaka had 13 rebounds while no one on the Lakers had 8 rebounds.
The Lakers for their part did pretty much did what they were expected to do. They played zero defense. They took a lot of three point shots. They did not play as hard as the other team. They were uninspired and selfish at times. They again lost by more than 20+ points, tying a franchise record. Therefore it was another ordinary day at the office for Mike D’antoni and his crew, another wasted game on the calendar. 17 more to go. The lottery is 68 days away.
Tags: Los Angeles Lakers