The Oklahoma City Thunder played the Los Angeles Lakers for the third time this season yesterday and lost to them for the first time.
The Thunder-Lakers game was hyped as a possible Western Conference Finals preview before the season but now looks like a first round matchup at best.
The Lakers have been a mess all season and have a record of just 19-25 on the year. Just making the playoffs is going to be a real challenge for them. The Lakers have reeled off two wins in a row now and we know they have the talent to start winning more than they’ve done so far this year.
In yesterday’s game, they beat the best team in the NBA 105-96. Kevin Durant scored 35 points but went 10-for-26 from the field. Russell Westbrook had a near triple-double but shot 6-for-22. That’s 16-for-48 combined from KD and Russ.
Should Thunder fans be concerned about losing this game? If the Thunder have to play the Lakers in the first round of the playoffs, could we see a potential upset?
There’s no reason to panic in Oklahoma City yet. Yesterday simply was not an example of the Thunder’s issues as much as it was the Lakers coming out and finally playing a good game.
The Thunder were playing their sixth straight game on the road yesterday and clearly looked a least a little fatigued by that.
Westbrook – who normally torches the Lakers and did so against them last year in the playoffs – was not himself. It wasn’t the Lakers shutting him down as much as it was Westbrook just missing shots. He didn’t look to be elevating as well on his jumper or as decisive in taking it.
Durant is also much better than he was yesterday, which is scary to think because he still dropped 35. Only grabbing two boards was a representation of how poor the Thunder defense was too.
The Lakers didn’t exactly dominate inside either which would have been troubling for the Thunder had that been the case. Dwight Howard scored just eight points and still doesn’t look himself. Pau Gasol played well but it was nothing the Thunder haven’t seen from him before.
The Lakers caught the Thunder at the right time. OKC was ready to end this road trip and the Lakers were in desperation mode.
It’s going to take a lot more losing for the Thunder to start worrying. They still are a team built to beat this Lakers team that is still not even close to reaching the potential we once thought they had.
The Thunder get three days off to rest now before playing the Memphis Grizzlies Thursday night on TNT at the Chesapeake Arena.