Recap: Lakers win tough one in Oklahoma City

Los Angeles Lakers v Oklahoma City Thunder
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – NOVEMBER 22: Anthony Davis #3 of the Los Angeles Lakers handles the ball against Danilo Gallinari #8 of the Oklahoma City Thunder on November 22, 2019 at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Lakers played their second game in a row against the Thunder, this one in Oklahoma City, and came out with their sixth consecutive win. Much like their last meeting, the Thunder didn’t go away until the end, hanging around despite Los Angeles scoring 130 points. On the first night of a back-to-back, the Lakers came out sloppy, but rode their strong offensive showing to get the win 130-127.

Defense takes some load management

Simply put, the Lakers had a poor defensive game. They scored enough points where it didn’t come back to bite them, but from the beginning it wasn’t pretty. Oklahoma City averaged just under 106 points per game coming into this matchup, good for 24th in the league, and they nearly matched that through three quarters alone.

It looked like the Lakers were going to run away with it midway through the third quarter, but the offense slowed down and they couldn’t get a stop and allowed the Thunder back into the game. When the Lakers went up by 15 points, it looked like the starters might get a chance at some valuable rest with a road back-to-back, but Oklahoma City nearly matched the Lakers’ 40 third quarter points with 36 of their own.

Lakers’ Big Two can’t be stopped

AD finished the night as the leading scorer and rebounder for Los Angeles, continuing his stellar first season in purple and gold, while LeBron stayed hot with a cool 23-14-6 line. They combined to finish as a +10 in a game the Lakers needed everything they could get from their stars.

Though they’ve only played 15 games together, their chemistry is undeniable, evidenced especially by this ridiculous tipped pass from Davis to James on the break.

LeBron now leads the league in assists (in Year 17, by the way), and had another monster day in that department, totaling 14 on the night. Late in the fourth quarter with the offense stalling, the Lakers fed AD for some crucial buckets to help them pull away, scoring Los Angeles’ last 8 points of the contest. If there’s a formula to stop the two of them, nobody seems close to figuring it out yet.

The Starters Get It Done

On a night where the bench struggled to get the job done (a combined -17), the starters all contributed to the win tonight, with everybody but JaVale reaching double digits. The bench’s struggles were obviously not ideal to see, but the Thunder hung tough again and used those moments to punish the Lakers’ non-starters. Despite this, tonight was a good reminder that, while LeBron and Davis continue to dominate, the Lakers received reliable contributions from McGee, Green, and KCP–something they’ll need when they face better teams than the 5-10 Thunder.

LeBron did what now?

I mean, come on.

The Lakers are back in action Saturday night, taking on Memphis in the second of a four game road trip.

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