The last time the Los Angeles Lakers faced the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Thunder rallied from a 26 point deficit to win the game 123-115. The Oklahoma City Thunder are continuing their rebuild as the first time they beat the Lakers was seen as a fluke. However, in the second meeting, the outcome was essentially the same.
The Lakers Blow a 19-point Lead in Loss Against the Thunder
On Thursday night the Lakers played without their star LeBron James who is dealing with an abdominal injury and is expected to miss the next game when the team travels to Portland to take on the Trail Blazers. Despite losing to the Thunder 107-104, the Thunder had no answer to stopping star Anthony Davis in the first quarter as he scored 14 points in the first quarter on 7-of-8 shooting from the field.
Davis also sprained his right thumb shortly before halftime and finished the game with 29 points, 18 rebounds, and five assists. He led the team in every category except for turnovers and steals for the Lakers. This game was similar to their first encounter against the Thunder as the team seemed to click on all cylinders in the first half of each game.
Carmelo Anthony is making opportunity count as he is making an early case in the Sixth Man of the Year race as he scored 21 points off the bench in the loss. Anthony made two clutch three-pointers late in the fourth quarter to put the team within one with ten seconds left; however, the sudden change in momentum was proven to be too little too late.
On the opposite side of the court, the Oklahoma City Thunder showed that they could come back and beat the Lakers once again. The team is currently 2-0 against the Lakers, while the unit is 0-6 against the rest of the league. The Thunder had six players in double figures as they erased another huge deficit to win the game.
Young promising star Shai Gilegous Alexander showed that he could be a leader in the league as he scored 11 of his 28 points in the final quarter of the game. With just over a minute left in the game with 15 seconds left in the game, hoisted a 34-foot shot dagger from the “L” of the Lakers logo to diminish any chance of a comeback win for the Lakers. Alexander has shown that he can shoot from behind the arc with a 38.9 percent rate but has yet to display that he can hit a shot from that extent
The Portland Trail Blazers have struggled so far this season but without LeBron James, there may be more problems the Lakers may have to deal with.
What Can the Lakers Do to Fix This Issue Before it Gets Worse?
The Lakers have to figure out what they have to do to maintain a lead from start to finish, but that is easier said than done. It is difficult to make a move during the early portion of the season as there are a lot of players who just signed new contracts. On top of that, they don’t have their own first-round draft pick until 2025.
The front office may have to start thinking about signing someone from free agency as the Lakers are ranked 16th in offensive and defensive team efficiency as the team has championship aspirations. When LeBron is reinserted in the starting lineup, coach Frank Vogel may want to make some changes in the starting lineup.
James is the main ball-handler when he is in the starting lineup, hence the questionable decision of rostering three ball-dominant players on one team which includes LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, and Rajon Rondo. Russell may not like the idea but he is just better suited for the bench. The Lakers have the ninth-best scoring second unit in the league largely thanks to Carmelo Anthony; however, the starting lineup has displayed poor floor spacing.
Westbrook is shooting 44.4 percent from the field and 26.3 percent from the three-point range. Off the bench, more players in the second unit would be involved due to his athleticism and passing ability. This could give the team the push they desperately need.
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