Kevin Durant may have been out of commission, but his team still has a whole lot of power in one Russell Westbrook, among other players on this gripping-the-final-playoff-spot-with-their-bare-hands OKC team. The Lakers tried to hang on to this game, going on quick encouraging scoring runs, only to be thwarted by an even quicker run by the Thunder.

After leading by as much as 20 points, OKC finished the purple and gold off, 127-117.


What Went Right

  • Jordan Clarkson – A few hours after Steve Nash officially announced his retirement, his young ingénue, who he fondly calls “JC,” went off for a new career-high 30 points on 12-19 from the field, adding on seven assists, a steal and three blocks. All the private practice sessions that Nash has provided for Clarkson is obvious in the rookie’s continual growth on the court. Splitting the defense and heading to the rim to score? Looked a lot like Nash, who young JC has referred to as his big brother. With more work, this apple may not stray far from the tree.

  • Guard Play – With a small tweak in the rotation, Jeremy Lin joined Clarkson in the starting line-up and it worked. Along with Clarkson’s production, Lin added in 19 points on 6-11, hit 2-2 from downtown, and handed out seven assists. Their combined 49 points and 14 assists couldn’t win the game for the Lakers, but it proved a solid challenge against 50 points and 15 assists from Dion Waiters and Westbrook. On a side note, Lin and Clarkson made NBA history tonight, by being the first Asian-American starting backcourt in the history of the league. Lin is Chinese and Clarkson is half-Filipino.
  • Fair Game – A glance at the box score shows that the Lakers played a relatively good game. They shot 52% from the field, 47% from behind the arc, only committed 10 turnovers and had five players in double figures. Against a team like the Thunder, however, even in their struggles this season, they’re still a formidable team and to take a victory from them, their game can’t just be good enough. It needs to be near perfect.

 What Went Wrong

  • Missing Big Men – With five games in seven days, the coaching staff has decided to rest Carlos Boozer and Jordan Hill. While there still remains some size and skill beyond them, they weren’t enough against the production of Enes Kanter, who went off for 25 points and 16 rebounds; not to mention Steven Adams’ 16 points on 5-6 from the field and 10 rebounds.
  • Outrebounded – Speaking of rebounds, OKC grabbed a lot of it, and the Lakers barely so. After the first half, the Thunder grabbed double the boards that the Lakers did, 28-14. Overall, the Lakers’ failed on the glass, getting outhustled 49-28.
  • Defense – OKC didn’t have single sub-50% shooting quarter, and in the third, they shot a blistering 71%, trumping the 61% that the Lakers shot from the field.

 

Next on the road trip – Minnesota!

Box Score

GAME HIGHLIGHTS:

About The Author

Leave a Reply