Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports

OKC Thunder (34-10) vs. Los Angeles Lakers (18-25) Preview

The Oklahoma City Thunder will finish their 6-game road trip this afternoon as they take on the Los Angeles Lakers in Staples Center.

The Thunder are 3-2 on their road trip so far with Kevin Durant averaging 35.6 points per game during the trip.

This is the third time this season that the Thunder will play the Lakers. OKC won the first two meetings, 114-108 in OKC on Dec. 7 then 116-101 in LA on Jan. 11.

Durant had 36 points in the first meeting and then 42 in the second as the Thunder blew out the Lakers in LA and hardly needed Durant in the fourth quarter.

Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol didn’t play in the second meeting leaving Kobe Bryant alone to go for 28 points on 8-of-23 shooting. Kobe was much better in the first meeting scoring 35 points on 11-of-24 shooting.

The real thorn in the Lakers’ side against the Thunder has been Russell Westbrook. Westbrook had 33 points then 27 against the Lakers so far this season as he continues to always play some of his best basketball when returning to his home state.

The Lakers simply cannot match up with Westbrook’s athleticism and he goes and gets any shot he wants.

The Lakers lost four in a row before winning their last game at home against Utah.

Mike D’Antoni is continuing to bring Gasol off the bench and start Earl Clark at power forward, insisting that Gasol and Howard together is not best for this team right now.

To have a chance today, the Lakers will need big games from both of their big men. One area they could have an advantage against the Thunder is dominating the glass. OKC is sometimes susceptible to giving up offense rebounds and then settling for too many jumpers on the other end.

The Thunder and Lakers are on two totally different spectrums right now. OKC has the best record in the league and looks like the best team in the league while the Lakers are a total mess.

There’s too much that needs to go right for LA to win today, especially knowing that Westbrook always plays well against the Lakers and the Thunder barely ever lose when he is going off.

The game will tip at 3:30 p.m. EST and air nationally on ABC.

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Tags: Los Angeles Lakers Oklahoma City Thunder

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