Once Jeremy Lin figured out who was on his team, he got rolling early with 9 quick points in his return to the starting lineup. Unfortunately, he couldn't (nor should he be expected to) do much to stop the Thunder frontcourt from slaughtering the Lakers on the offensive glass, pulling down 8 of their own misses in the first quarter alone. Enes Kanter was especially impressive early, racking up a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds by the end of the first quarter and powering the Thunder to a 37-27 lead.
The second quarter was a blur of emphatic dunking from Russell Westbrook and Jordan Clarkson, featuring so many fast breaks that the ever hustling Mitch McGary even needed a breather. The Lakers were unable to get back and transition, and the Thunder increased their lead to 68-53. On one hand the Lakers did figure out how to stop the Thunder from getting so many offensive rebounds (Only 2 in the second quarter). The answer was to just let the Thunder score the first time, allowing OKC to shoot 52.1% in the first half, and 40% from 3 point range.
The Thunder built their lead to as much as 20 points in the third quarter, but more strong play from Clarkson cut the Thunder's lead to 100-88 by the end of the third quarter. The rookie showed increasing confidence in both getting to the rim and shooting from the perimeter, with his play made more impressive by the fact that he was being guarded by NBA terminator Westbrook for much of the period. Clarkson tied his career high of 25 points by the end of the third period.
The Lakers never truly challenged the Thunder much in the fourth quarter, cruising to a 127-117 loss. As expounded on before, Clarkson really special, putting up a new career high of 30 points to go with his 7 assists and 3 blocks. The only blemish on the guard's line were his 3 turnovers, but for a second round rookie especially, the kid is pretty good.
As good as Clarkson was, he was not match for Russell Westbrook, destroyer of worlds. The fiery MVP candidate had 27 points in the first 3 quarters, toying with a hapless Lakers defense like a lion savoring it's kill.
In another nice development, Ryan Kelly returned to his natural position of power forward, and showed much of the promise he put on display last year, scoring 16 points as he comfortably took the Thunder's flat footed bigs off of the dribble and calmly drained three-pointers when given airspace. In a probably not unrelated event, the Lakers also shot better than their season average on threes, going 9-19 from deep.
After this beatdown, the Lakers will fly to Minnesota, to take on whoever is still healthy enough to suit up for the Timberwolves tomorrow.