The Oklahoma City Thunder fell to the Los Angeles Lakers 112-105 on Monday. This was the first night of a back-to-back in LaLa Land with the Clippers on deck Tuesday.
With the porous Lakers defense holding the OKC Thunder to an uncharacteristic 105 points, many are wondering if the Purple and Gold exposed the Thunder's weaknesses.
The season series now sits 2-1, the Thunder grabbed the first matchup 133-110, dropped the second meeting by nine, and now fall by seven in this tilt.
Did the Los Angeles Lakers expose the OKC Thunder in recent Thunder loss?
The Thunder did not get exposed by the Lakers in general. The Lakers just have the perfect strengths to pray on. This is a good old-fashioned "bad matchup," with the Lakers' ability to play effective zone against Oklahoma City, come up with timely turnovers, and have the athletic big men to defend in space.
Ultimately, the difference in this game was that the sluggish Thunder was not able to get downhill and were missing open triples. Oklahoma City shot just 30 percent from beyond the arc, only 46 percent from the floor, and was dominated inside, losing the points in the paint battle 64-44.
Typically, the Thunder have the edge in points in the paint, fast break points, and are on the wrong end of the second chance points battle; in this game, all of those categories flipped.
Mix this uncharacteristic game on a team level with a slowed Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, likely due to his knee injury, Isaiah Joe's rare 0-for-6 night from behind the three-point tape, and a rare 1-for-4 night from distance from Chet Holmgren.
This is just the 12th loss of the season, two of them coming to the Lakers, and while many races to reinvent the wheel, check if the sky is falling, or condemn the Thunder's roster construction, it is just one game of an 82-game season.
With OKC in their toughest month of the season, littered with back-to-backs that have forced five games in seven nights stretch, they were bound to drop games.
Assuredly, the Lakers are a bad matchup for Oklahoma City, but they did not reveal a magical blueprint. They are just really good at executing areas we already knew the Thunder struggled with.