The Oklahoma City Thunder (21-17) defeated the Los Angeles Lakers (11-26) 133-96. The Thunder gave an all-star performance in the city that will host the 2018 NBA All-Star game, most notably by their big three. It was the largest margin of victory for the Thunder all season.
Russell Westbrook, playing in his hometown, finished with 20 points on 10-of-17 shooting, six rebounds and 12 assists. Paul George, playing near his hometown scored 24 points on 9-of-14 shooting. Carmelo Anthony registered 21 points on 8-of-14 shooting.
It was a big game for a number of reasons. Oklahoma City was riding a two-game losing streak going back to the controversial ending against the Milwaukee Bucks. It was also the first time that George was playing in Los Angeles since being traded to the Thunder in July.
Needless to say, many people were intrigued about George’s arrival in Los Angeles.
“No, no regrets at all,” George said in regards to his handling of trade rumors while he was with the Indiana Pacers Tuesday at practice. “All that was said was that a destination I would love to go to. There wasn’t, you know, a ‘hey, gunpoint to the head, send me here.’”
Westbrook had a very Westbrook answer the same day when asked about if he was making a sales pitch all season to George.
“Win a championship, beat that pitch,” Westbrook told reporters.
The George-to-LA talk will continue but the Thunder did their part tonight.
After being down 10-0 early, Oklahoma City started catching fire with Anthony and never looked back. The big three combined for 65 points.
Andre Roberson missed his second game with an injury and Billy Donovan had rookie Terrance Ferguson start. That is where the fun began.
Ferguson exploded on to the scene and scored 24 points on 9-of-12 shooting (6-of-9 from three) and stole the show. Amazing dunks, crisp shooting and high energy gave Donovan and Thunder fans hope for the rookie’s future production as he dazzled the court.
While most of it came towards the end of the game, that didn’t stop the Thunder’s big three from enjoying the performance Ferguson had. Players were noticeably encouraged after each Ferguson dunk.
The Thunder’s starting five combined for 102 points — outscoring the Lakers entire team.
Anytime the Thunder’s three main players combine for shooting 60 percent, they are a tough team to handle. To tall a task for the young Lakers who were playing without second overall pick in this year’s NBA draft Lonzo Ball.
It was one of the more dominant performances of the season for Oklahoma City. December was kind to the Thunder which saw them go 12-5 after disappointing for much of the beginning of the year. Tonight’s win is exactly what they wanted going on their west coast road trip.
The Thunder look to keep up this momentum Thursday against the LA Clippers in Staples Center.
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