Although the Lakers found themselves in overtime for the second consecutive game, they survived the Oklahoma City Thunder 119-112. Lakers star LeBron James mentioned how the team is up for the challenge of being tested by opponents.
“We don’t mind playing games that go down to the wire,” James said. “I love that, no matter who you’re playing against teams that take you down to the wire and make you execute and that make you have to be perfect defensively and offensively.”
James made his 97th career triple-double by scoring 28 points, 14 rebounds, and 12 assists. Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 29 points and 10 assists. Forward Darius Bazley grabbed 16 rebounds.
“I’m proud of my team and I’m proud of the way we competed,” said Thunder guard Kenrich Williams. “This is the best team in the NBA record-wise and we gave them a run for their money.”
Five Lakers players scored in the double digits, including guard Wesley Matthews who scored 16 points.
“I was able to find the spots,” Matthews said. “[James] and everybody else was finding me and they were doing the hard work, I was just knocking shots.”
Lakers guard Alex Caruso (right hand strain) and forward Anthony Davis (right Achilles tendinosis) did not play in this contest.
The Lakers started slowly and had a ten-point deficit after the OKC went on a seven-point run. After making turnovers, the Lakers scored fast break points.
During the second phase, Matthews and LeBron James made an 8-3 run to tie the game at 42 points. Thunder players used their speed in isolation plays to beat the Lakers to the basket. The Lakers shots refused to fall as guard Hamidou Diallo and Gilgeous-Alexander scored.
“We’re not shooting the ball well, we had a ton of great looks tonight from the perimeter,” said Lakers head coach Frank Vogel. “When you have a tough shooting night, you’ve got to win with your defense.”
James and forward Kyle Kuzma make close-range shots to bring the game within four points. James led all scorers with 14 points at this point, Gilgeous-Alexander was right behind him with 13 points. The Lakers were shooting at a whomping 39.1 percent from the field.
Guard Dennis Schröder spearheaded an offensive surge that gave the Lakers a four-point lead. The OKC had a four-minute scoring hiatus, allowing the Lakers to score eight points. Oklahoma City then made second-chance points to regain the lead.
The Thunder maintained a steady scoring rhythm from behind the arc while forcing turnovers throughout the fourth quarter. Schröder and guard Talen Horton-Tucker made cuts to the hoop to successfully score. When Gilgeous-Alexander rained three-pointers, Matthews and James countered with shots.
The Lakers were up by three points in the final seconds, but Gilgeous hit free throws to put the game into overtime. Oklahoma City went scoreless for over three minutes, allowing the Lakers to gain seven points. The OKC only scored two points in overtime.
The Lakers will battle the OKC again on Wednesday at 7:00P.M.