By: Brandon Rosenthal | Jan 3, 2019
Welcome into Lakers Recap, brought to you by The 30 Minute Lunchbreak! The Lakers opened up the new year by welcoming the Oklahoma City Thunder into town, for an ESPN exclusive. LeBron James continued to his time with his groin injury, as did Rajon Rondo, both missing their fourth straight game. Paul George stepped into Staples Center for the first time since not signing with the Lakers, and the crowd let him hear it at the introductions. When the Lakers are involved, it’s always about them/us, so instead of the story being ‘PG resigned with OKC’ the story was ‘PG didn’t sign with the Lakers, resigns with OKC’. There was a lot of spitefulness in the air tonight and the game proved to be highly entertaining.
To start the game, Paul George was a little cold. It could have been attributed to the relentless booing he was getting from the LA crowd, or it could have been because it was a cold night in LA. Regardless, PG and Westbrook were off to start the evening. The Lakers weren’t exactly on fire either, and after a pair of Westbrook free throws, the Thunder were leading 16-14 with 3:38 left. KCP got hot for LA, hitting some free throws and a three-pointer to give him 9, keeping the score tied after 1 at 25. In the second, Nader got going for OKC, scoring 5 quick points. JaVale McGee was aggressive in the quarter, scoring inside and KCP continued his hot shooting, hitting three to give the Lakers a 42-36 lead with 7:15 left in the half. Westbrook finally hit a three, cutting the lead to 1, and then PG started to get going. The boos started to turn into groans as PG erupted for 13 points in the 2nd, including a crazy back-and-forth sequence with Lance Stephenson, giving OKC a 2 point lead. Kyle Kuzma left with 5 minutes left in the half due to an injury and would not return.
In the second half, it was Brandon Ingram vs Paul George, or at least that’s what it felt like. BI did a little of everything, getting 6 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 assists in the quarter. PG did his part as well, going into takeover mode … scoring 11 points, getting his total up to 28 through three. Zubac and Mykhailiuk came in and provided a nice spark, helping the Lakers take the lead after three, 82-78. In the fourth, Zubac and Mykhailiuk got the scoring going for the Lakers, but Nader scored another quick 5 points for OKC to keep pace. Dennis Schroeder hit a floater to give OKC a 5 point lead, 90-85, with 8:28 remaining, and the score stayed that way until Schroeder hit a free throw with 6:31 left. Josh Hart went coast-to-coast, prompting an OKC time-out, and hit a pair of free throws (thanks to a crazy Terrance Ferguson foul) to cut the lead to 2, but Paul George answered with a step-back and layup, giving him 32 points. Josh Hart continued to step up, hitting a three with 3:36 left, cutting the lead to 3, but Paul George was TOO MUCH. He ran a perfect pick-and-roll with Adams, hit some free throws, and then threw down a massive alley-oop over Brandon Ingram, giving OKC a 103-92 lead with 2:11 left. KCP would score some garbage time buckets, but the game was over. Lakers lose, 100-107. KCP led the Lakers in scoring with 25 points, while Paul George led both teams in scoring with 37.
The Lakers fall to 21-17 and 13-7 at home. The Lakers have lost 6 out of their last 10 games, and are now in 8th in the West. The Thunder improves to 24-13, good enough for 3rd in the West. The Lakers are off today and face the woeful New York Knicks (9-29) tomorrow night at 7:30 PM in Los Angeles.
* = Starter
- LeBron James remains day-to-day, as the Lakers fall to 1-4 without him.
- Josh Hart had a season-high 15 rebounds!
- The Lakers had a poor shooting day:
- 59% from the free throw line (worse than usual)
- 42% from the field (37/89)
- 26% from three (7/27)
- KCP continued his solid play, hitting 13 threes and averaging 21.7 points in the last three games (in 29.6 mins).
- Russell Westbrook shot poorly (3-20) but ended up with a triple-double: 14 pts, 16 rebounds, and 10 assists.
- Steven Adams had a double-double for OKC, with 14 pts and 15 rebounds (8 offensive).