Lakers survive the Thunder without their two top stars to keep playoff hopes alive

Mar 1, 2023; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Jalen Williams (8) goes up for a basket as Los Angeles Lakers center Mo Bamba (12) defends during the first quarter at Paycom Center. Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 1, 2023; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Jalen Williams (8) goes up for a basket as Los Angeles Lakers center Mo Bamba (12) defends during the first quarter at Paycom Center. Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports /

The hits just keep on coming for the Los Angeles Lakers these days. After riding a 27-point comeback high against the Dallas Mavericks, the injury lows might have the Lake Show experiencing the postseason action on television. First, LeBron James is reported to be out for multiple weeks (Also read: a month) for an injured foot. Then Anthony Davis was held out of the matchup against the Oklahoma City Thunder for his stress injury that kept him out for a while.

The Los Angeles Lakers finished their three-game road trip above .500 with a very gutty 123-117 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. This game was huge for a variety of reasons.

  • They pass the Portland Trail Blazers for 11th (For now!) in the Western Conference standings.
  • They avoid losing the season series to the Thunder. 
  • Now OKC falls back to a game and a half behind Los Angeles.

The Lake Show goes back home for a five-game homestand starting with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Nothing changes, that’s a must-win game too!

The good of the Los Angeles Lakers win:

Troy Brown Jr. understood the assignment!

The Lakers needed all hands on deck to get this win and Troy Brown Jr. was listening to Darvin Ham while he was at the board. Troy came out aggressively looking for his shot and made plays for his teammates as well. Check out this pass to Jarred Vanderbilt after the jumpers started falling!

Troy finished with 19 points (7-10 shooting!), and 4 assists. He was far and away the best player on the floor for the Lakers. He jumpstarted a 3-point barrage for the Lake Show that was really needed with four of his own.

3-point shooting!

One of the best shooting performances of the season from beyond the arc. 16-35 will win a lot of games.

Mo Bamba played well in a starting role!

Bamba packed his 3-point shot for this game knocking down a couple on his way to 12 points and 7 rebounds. He played aggressively and attacked the rim on the smaller Thunder players. Mainly his three shots from the land of the extra point was huge.

Dennis Schroder atoned for that debacle last night!

Yes…Lake Show Life made this statement and still believes it. We were more upset than Anthony Davis…

"Dennis Schroder should be ashamed…When the game was still in reach, Dennis Schroder couldn’t make a simple lob pass to AD. When it was stolen, Schroder stood by while the Memphis players ran by him for an alley-oop dunk.The dude either needs an attitude adjustment or bury him on the bench. Six turnovers is ridiculous and when you don’t run back it’s worse.Now this is why everyone is panicking about LeBron James and his injury."

About 24 hours later, Dennis showed some toughness despite rolling his ankle in the first half. After starting 1-6 from the field, he rebounded for 26 points, 6 assists and 2 steals. It will be interesting to see how that ankle feels for the next game because he was in some real pain when he stepped on a Thunder player’s foot.

Now let’s see what he can do when he doesn’t have free reign to drive the ball every time he gets it when Anthony Davis gets back.

Free throw shooting!

This won the game folks. The Lakers shot 31-39.

Total team offensive effort.

Six players scored in double figures. Cue the narratives of “If the Lakers can get LeBron and AD back with the combination of play like this from the supporting cast…no one wants to play the Lakers in the playoffs!”.

The bad of the Los Angeles Lakers win:

No stars…

Taking LeBron James out of the equation along with D’Angelo Russell with injuries, Anthony Davis and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander sitting out will do nothing to squash the complaints of load management. Nothing against the players that played, but people spend their money and time wanting to see stars play NBA basketball. This game was scrappy and both teams played hard, but the B-word applies here (Boring!).

The Los Angeles Lakers are screwing with Austin Reaves’ minutes!

This dude plays too well and too hard to be playing only 25 minutes. Try this theory. His contract is probably filled with incentive bonuses (Minutes played, points, assists, etc.) and the Lakers are trying to save money.

Just a theory, but if it’s true Austin had better start realizing that this is a business and leave at the end of the season.

There’s no justification for playing Reaves only 25 minutes when he didn’t miss a shot from the field all night and missed a free throw with seconds left in the game. Even that miss was rebounded by the Lakers. All of this efficiency added up to 19 points and 4 assists in those limited minutes!

This is a 30 plus minutes player Darvin Ham! Quit playing!

Too many defensive breakdowns.

Film don’t lie!

Lakers broadcaster Stu Lantz had fits talking about how bad the transition defense was. The Lakers consistently jogged back on defense, got beat backdoor on cuts and left the 3 point shots wide open. This team is not good enough to outscore everyone to get into the play-in tournament. The defense has got to improve immensely.

The story of the Los Angeles Lakers win:

The Los Angeles Lakers are going to have to make up their minds!

The staff of Lake Show Life has had some passionate debates with fans over the years. When a commenter doesn’t like the analysis or criticism, we usually ask this question?

Do you want this team to win or not?

For the first time, this question goes to the entire franchise of the Los Angeles Lakers. The decision to hold Anthony Davis out was just plain stupid whether the Lakers had won this game or not. This team does not have time to try and outsmart the schedule. The season ends in approximately a month and they are on the outside looking in. Wins are the prerequisite to this tired narrative of four game separating seeds 4-13.

It’s starting to look like the Lakers don’t have the hunger or drive needed to make the postseason. Otherwise, as editor Jason Reed stated earlier, AD could have been held out of the Memphis game to make sure he was ready to claim the Thunder game dominating a matchup that OKC had no answer for.

"Of course, hindsight is always 20/20 but it does not take an NBA genius to know that the Memphis Grizzlies are a much tougher team to beat than the Oklahoma City Thunder. After all, the Grizzlies are 9.5 games better than the Thunder this season and have one of the best players in the league, Ja Morant.Sure, as a basketball team you want to go out and think that you can win on any given night against any opponent. But if you are going to schedule rest days for a star player, you probably should give yourself the best chance to actually win the winnable games. Especially when you are not even in the playoff picture right now."

Jason is being kind here, but Ronald Agers rarely uses political correctness in these post-game reports. The Lakers are going to burn themselves again with the entitlement and arrogance that has been going rampant since the bubble championship.

The message is clear from Lake Show Life…

Either Anthony Davis channels some of the heart that LeBron James had in his absence and get out there and lead his teammates…


dark. Next. 50 greatest Lakers of all time

The franchise called the Los Angeles Lakers needs to really look at its mission statement. Did they really want to make it to the postseason or cash in on LeBron taking over the all-time scoring title from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar?