Russell Westbrook missed his first game of the season with a sprained ankle and Paul George wasn’t enough to do it by himself. The Los Angeles Lakers used an 8-0 run from the first to the second quarter, taking the lead and never looking back as Los Angeles beat the Thunder 106-81 on Thursday night.
Oklahoma City falls to 31-25 on the season and the Thunder are now 1-5 in their last six games.
it’s the first time since the Thunder relocated from Seattle the two teams split the regular season series. The last time the two split before this season was the 2002-03 season.
Westbrook rolled his ankle in the Thunder’s 125-105 win over the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night and it’s pretty understood if this was a must win game, the Thunder could’ve let him roll out there. However in the name of preservation and health, the Thunder held out Westbrook despite him going through some walk through drills in pre-game and in shoot around.
George scored 15 of the first 22 Thunder’s points and it appeared the Thunder were in good spirits. However, a horrible stretch where the Thunder missed 14 consecutive shots, spanning almost five minutes.
Oklahoma City fought back from a double digit deficit to close within 52-46 at halftime.
George couldn’t do it all tonight, he finished with 29 points on 11-of-25 shooting, including 5-of-12 from beyond the three-point line.
Steven Adams struggled from the floor against Brook Lopez. He was only 4-of-11 for 13 points and nine rebounds.
However, the free throw shooting seemed to be the Achilles tonight. Oklahoma City was dreadful once again. The Thunder went 9-of-19 (47.6 percent) from the free throw line. Then, they tried to match that by going 8-of-34 (23.5 percent) from the three-point line.
Oklahoma City would get within 89-71 with 8:27 left in the fourth quarter but the Thunder would get no closer. Los Angeles would push their lead to as many as 27 in the fourth quarter.
Kyle Singler had three points in the second half, second highest total this season.
Oklahoma City only scored 35 second half points.
Oklahoma City will turn their attention to the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday evening. The Thunder and the Grizzlies haven’t met yet and will do so twice in three games. They’ll also play on Thursday night with a meeting with the new look Cleveland Cavaliers in between.
Keys to the Game
Limit Threes: F
The Oklahoma City Thunder struggled to defend the three. The Lakers blitz Oklahoma City from beyond the arc, hitting 10 three-pointers. Los Angeles shot 10-of-31 from three (32.3 percent). It was an absolutely pathetic defensive performance.
Lawler’s Law: F
The Lakers hit 100 first. Oklahoma City didn’t even hit 100. This is a rough performance when one of the NBA’s best players sits with an injury. Oklahoma City really missed Westbrook explosive ability to get to the rim tonight. On the bright side, the Thunder don’t play again until Sunday.
Paul George: B
George turned it over six times but scored 29 points. George really had to do it all and was trying his best. When you’re the only one gaining any momentum, the Thunder were bound to struggle. Outside of the first six minutes of the game, George only scored 14 points the remainder of the game.We invite you to follow Thunder Digest on Twitter and like Thunder Digest on Facebook. Our Podcast is on iTunes. We also have a Thunder Digest Instagram account if you love fun Thunder photography!