NBA, Lakers vs Thunders: Lebron James give Los Angeles Lakers their first win against Thunders, 116-95. Leading with 33 points, Lebron came out hot.
With the absence of their key player, Anthony Davis (Knee Soreness), the Lakers improve 14-13 this season. OKC being in a rebuilding mode still manage to still two games against the Lakers this season.
Leading the way with 33 points, 13-20 shooting, 6 assists, and 5 rebounds, Lebron James showed his vintage look. The aid came from Avery Bradley, who was the key in the Lakers title last to last season, with 22 points and four steals. His key performance came when guarding Shai-Alexander who could take the game away as he has done in the past.
On the other end, the Lakers’ ball movement seemed much crisper than it did in last night’s loss to the Grizzlies, and the stat sheet bore that out as the Lakers had 23 assists compared to just 14 turnovers as a team.
Lakers came out all guns blazing and managed to outscore their opponents 32-18. Los Angeles Lakers shot around 45% from behind the arc while Thunder could only manage 22%. However, on the defensive end, a lack of offense was seen.
With Davis out, the Lakers relied heavily on a small-ball approach as Dwight Howard and DeAndre Jordan only played a combined 28 minutes. That stylistic decision to go small more often seemed to both help the Lakers play at a faster pace, and clear the lane for some of James’ trademark drives to the rim, as the Thunder simply had no answer for him in the paint.
The most beloved player these days, Austin Reaves, also got his chance after some matches and finished with 13 points, five boards, and 2 assists. He was +17 on the night, the highest on the team besides of course James and Westbrook.
If the Lakers continue to lean on smaller lineups depending on how long Davis and Trevor Ariza remain out, Reaves could have made a case tonight for more time in the rotation as an off-ball cutter alongside James and Westbrook.
Speaking of Westbrook, he came close to a triple-double on his old home court but finished with 8 points, 9 rebounds, and 7 assists.
After a 1-1 road trip, the Lakers return home to host the Orlando Magic on Sunday.