Well, how did you all think this game was going to end? Despite fantasies of the Lakers beating OKC for a second time in a row, there was no way one of the best teams in the West was going to be humiliated by a bottom-dweller again.
The game started out relatively even, with the Thunder and Lakers trading baskets. That’s how good teams bait bad teams, though. They start out slow, commit a few mistakes, then suddenly it’s 33-19 at the end of one quarter. The Lakers made a run in the second quarter, answering every OKC point with one of their own, but giving up 41 points in the third quarter did them in for the rest of the game where they got behind by as much as 31 points, and eventually lost by another huge margin, 102-131.
Jodie Meeks – It wasn’t even half what he produced in the last game, but Meeks led the team with his 19 points. He only shot 6-15 overall, but was 3-4 from behind the arc and a perfect 4-4 from the free throw line. Methinks OKC didn’t want a repeat performance from the last game and paid more attention to Meeks this time around.
Kent Bazemore and Ryan Kelly – Despite this dismal season, the highlight has been watching young players, such as Bazemore and Kelly, take advantage of their playing time to not only develop their game, but gain confidence with each possession. Bazemore scored 16 points on 7-17 off the bench, 2-5 from downtown, and added in seven rebounds. Kelly, who probably didn’t expect to be a regular rotation player coming in as a rookie, has really shown off his capabilities on the floor. He finished with 12 points on 4-8, hit both three pointers and both free throws he attempted, handed out six assists, grabbed four rebounds and blocked two shots. He even scored on a reverse dunk.
Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook – The leaders of the Thunder combined for 58 points on 17-34 from the field, 6-12 from beyond the arc, 18-20 from the free throw line and +37 under the +/- column. Honorable mention for Serge Ibaka, who grabbed 13 rebounds and blocked seven shots.
Kendall Marshall – What happened to Marshall’s offense? His own offense? He’s racked up 47 assists in the last five games, yes, but he’s only scored 23 points and is 1-6 from the free throw line. It’s a far cry from his 20-point, 17-assist game half a month ago.
Pau Gasol – Against such a great team, Gasol scored just 14 points and was only 5-12 from the field. He also only grabbed six rebounds. Is Steven Adams that great of a defender? 4.2 rpg, 0.8 bpg?
Free Throws – 15-25 from the free throw line – 10 missed free throws. It would have only brought the final deficit down to 19, but 60% shooting from the charity stripe against any team is unacceptable. It’s 10 missed points.
Rebounds – 60-37. Any explanation here would be like beating a dead horse, so let’s just leave it at that.
22-43 – oh how the mighty have fallen. A few years ago it was the Lakers eliminating the young, inexperienced Thunder in the playoffs. How seasons have changed! Next up are the top of the West, San Antonio Spurs.