The Los Angeles Lakers were given the perfect opportunity to drop a game on Saturday as they traveled to face the Oklahoma City Thunder on the second night of a back-to-back without LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Danny Green. Instead, the team played one of its best games of the year with contributions from the whole roster, beating OKC 125 to 110.
The Lakers raced out to a scorching hot start, led by a rejuvenated Rajon Rondo who made his first five shots in the first six minutes of the match. Rondo’s dominance while being guarded by Chris Paul set the tone offensively as the Lakers were clicking on all cylinders.
Rondo, who finished with a season-high 21 points to go with 12 rebounds and eight assists, was joined by Kyle Kuzma as a hub for the offense in the absence of James and Davis and the young forward delivered for the second straight night, scoring 23 of his 36 points in the first half. Kuzma added some necessary rebounding in Davis’ absence, grabbing six boards.
As a whole, the Lakers shot lights out (15-32) from behind the arc while the Thunder (9-31) struggled. The team also did a great job of reducing second-chance points for Steven Adams and limiting the damage their turnovers could do on the fast break.
Despite some furious attempts at a comeback, the Lakers managed to hang on to win the game, responding to several runs by the seventh-seed Thunder. Seldom-used guards Quinn Cook and Troy Daniels hit timely shots while Dwight Howard cleaned up inside. For the second straight game, Jared Dudley contributed with some great interior defense.
The Lakers will take the court again on Monday to host the Cleveland Cavaliers.