Thunder (4-game winning streak)
106.4 Offensive Efficiency (2nd)
99.3 Defensive Efficiency (14th)
96.3 Pace (3rd)
57.0 True Shooting % (2nd)
51.4 Rebound Rate (5th)
Lakers (2-game winning streak)
100.9 Offensive Efficiency (14th)
97.8 Defensive Efficiency (10th)
92.3 Pace (23rd)
52.4 True Shooting % (13th)
52.4 Rebound Rate (2nd)
This is the first of three meetings between the Lakers and Thunder and with a sort of reversal of roles between the teams. The Thunder of course took Los Angeles to six games in the first round of the playoffs two years ago when the Lakers won the title.
Oklahoma City now sits atop the standings tied for the best record in the NBA while the Lakers have struggled overall this season.
The game will feature a matchup between the two leading scorers in the NBA in Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant. Durant has been on a tear lately including a career-high 51 points last Sunday while Bryant struggled in the Laker’s 96-91 win last night over Dallas scoring only 15 points on 4-of-15 shooting.
A real weakness for the Lakers this season has been the point guard position. On offense and defense the Lakers have struggled in that area and Russell Westbrook won’t make things any easier for Los Angeles tonight.
The Lakers should have an edge when it comes to the offensive glass led by their two All-Stars Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum. The Thunder have struggled keeping their opponents off the offensive glass this season and that is a specialty for these two especially with knowing Bryant is going to jack up a ton of shots.
The Thunder have been playing as well as anyone this year however and should be able to pull this one out tonight. Durant will be a tough cover as always. Ron Artest used to be the guy that could give Durant the most trouble but two years later we’re now dealing with a completely different player named Metta World Peace.
Los Angeles won’t be able to match up with the second unit of Oklahoma City either. The Lakers are all about their Big Three this year then they drop off quite a bit while James Harden leads a potent bench attack for the Thunder.
Even if the game is close early expect the Thunder to be more consistent throughout and eventually pull away.