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Game Day #51: Thunder at Lakers

Oklahoma City Thunder (38-12, 16-8 road) at Los Angeles Lakers (31-19, 20-4 home)

 vs.  

Where: The Staples Center – Los Angeles, CA
When: 9:30 p.m.
TV:
 TNT (245 DirecTV, 31 Cox, 108 AT&T U-Verse, 138 Dish)
Online StreamHere.
RadioWWLS Sports Animal 98.1 FM/640AM/97.1 Tulsa
View from the EnemyHere.
Projected Lineups:

Thunder Lakers
PG Russell Westbrook Ramon Sessions
SG Thabo Sefolosha Kobe Bryant
SF Kevin Durant Metta World Peace
PF Serge Ibaka Pau Gasol
C Kendrick Perkins Andrew Bynum
6th Man James Harden Matt Barnes

Last time: Oklahoma City ran the Lakers out of town on national television 100-85 during a 5 game winning streak for the Thunder right before the All-Star break.

The Los Angles Lakers are a team that’s really hard to figure out. They have a lot of internal turmoil going on right now. I want to say it started Sunday in the loss to the Grizzlies. Coach Mike Brown benched Kobe Bryant for a stint in the fourth quarter. Kobe was not happy with this, and assaulted a chair near by. Then Tuesday night, Bynum and Brown also had issues. Bynum said he wouldn’t stop shooting threes, and planned to shoot them tonight against the Thunder.

The Lakers acquired point guard Ramon Sessions at the trade deadline, however, the Lake show is just 4-3 since getting him. They are, however, 3-1 in their last four games. Maybe they’re learning to play together.

This is also the first game for the Lakers against Derek Fisher since the Lakers traded him at the deadline. Fisher didn’t field any questions from the LA media. However, he did issue this statement:

“First and foremost, I’m excited to be back in the city, excited to see my friends and brothers that I consider teammates from when I was here. I’m excited to see those guys. I’m excited to see my extended type of friends sitting courtside, ticket holders, people I grew close to over the years when I was here. It’s only been a couple weeks, but it seems like so much longer, so I’m excited to get back and see everyone.

          “Like I said last week, the place that this city and these fans and everyone I grew close to over the years, they and this place will always, always hold a very special place in my heart. That will never change, but due to a number of different circumstances, I’m in Oklahoma City now and I’m extremely happy to be (in OKC). This is a very special situation, just a great group of players, a great group of guys, the staff, the community, just the right fit at the right time coming off what took place and I’m just as happy as I can be in Oklahoma City and everything that’s gone on. I’m just looking forward to getting out there and playing some basketball tonight in front of what used to be the home crowd. Coming in individually, I’m sure it will be a lot of fun. There’s a lot on the line in terms of the two teams, but it’s just exciting.

“I’m thankful to you guys for the support you showed me over the years, even in good words and sometimes critical words. It was always with respect and appreciation for what I brought to my teams as best I could. I will always be thankful for the support in the media as we spend time at the court just like this over the years. So I’ll see you all tonight when I get a chance to speak in a little bit more detail. I’m trying to get back (on the court) and get some shots, and make a few later on tonight.”

The Thunder is riding a four game win streak since Fisher has arrived in OKC. They’re winning by an average 15.5 points per game. So, to say, OKC are blowing teams out since he arrived. This is just another big game in line of a bunch of big games for Oklahoma City. The Thunder are showing why they’re one of the elite teams in the league.

Injuries: None for the Lakers and Cook is out for the Thunder

Keys to the game

Make threes
The Thunder are shooting just 33% on the road from behind the arc. They need to hit some key threes if they’re going to battle against this tough home Laker team. OKC actually struggled from three-point range last time these two met.

Points off turnovers
The Lakers are one of the worst teams in the league at turning the ball over at home. (27 of 30). OKC needs to force turnovers, and turn those turnovers into points.

Second Unit
With Derek Fisher running a lot of the second offense, or supposed to be, I’m curious on how they’ll keep the Laker second team in check. Last time the Thunder dominated the second team battle (26-11). 

 

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