Showtime: 5:30pm PT
Plot: The Lakers got completely destroyed last night. Offensively, they couldn't formulate a rhythm against a tidy OKC defense, shooting just 39% on the night. To make matters worse, they went just 15 for 25 at the free throw line, giving away points that eventually led to a 29 point loss on the road. Defensively, same old story. The Thunder shot over 50%, not an uncommon occurrence for the Lakers, which includes 29 points on 17 shots for both Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. To make matters worse, the duo played 53 minutes total, sitting out long stretches in what eventually became just another laugher against the purple and gold.
The bad news? As if that wasn't the bad news? It may be a lot of the same tonight in San Antonio.
LA makes their way to the AT&T Center to play the co-tenant atop the Western Conference, as they tangle with their franchise rival Spurs. San Antonio has won 8 in a row, including routs against the Chicago Bulls, Portland Trail Blazers and Miami Heat. The reigning Conference Champions are playing their best basketball of the season with key pieces coming back from injury (including Kawhi Leonard, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili). In short? They are the Spurs. They are great and they are always great. It never, ever seems to end.
On the second night of a back to back set, putting up a competitive effort against the Spurs isn't going to be easy, at all. The Lakers will be without Nick Young yet again and most likely Jordan Hill, not that he was getting much playing time anyway. LA was surprisingly spry against the Spurs in a loss back in early November, but that team is miles away from their current incarnation. With prime decision-maker Steve Blake gone, the Lakers are at times a discombobulated mess on offense that play far too much isolation basketball and tries to needle passes that even skilled playmakers struggle with. This squad makes a ton of mistakes, completely unsurprising for such a young team.
The Lakers will put in the effort, as always, but finding a narrative for this game is tough. They're going in a tough arena against a tough team on a tough back to back set. This might get ugly, fast.
--Follow this author @TheGreatMambino