The Los Angeles Lakers once again struggled down the stretch without LeBron James, as their offense stalled out completely and allowed the Oklahoma City Thunder to pull away late in the fourth quarter.
Even when the Lakers were able to get out and run, they found some success, but OKC’s defense (which has been fantastic this season to be completely fair) utilized their length and athleticism to make things really difficult on the Lakers.
Want to know what else made things really difficult on the Lakers? The injury bug, which has followed them throughout this season and might send them to a breaking point, as this game saw Kyle Kuzma sit out the second half with a back contusion (which sounds incredibly painful, by the way) while Tyson Chandler continued to deal with back problems of his own.
If Kuzma misses any time and James remains out much longer, the Lakers’ depth at the four is basically whoever is currently reading this article right now, especially while Luke Walton avoids playing Moe Wagner like the plague.
Regardless of health, one area that continues to kill Los Angeles is the free-throw line. They missed another 13 from there, though I guess if you’re looking for silver linings, Lonzo Ball ended a streak of eight missed free throws with a make midway through the fourth quarter.
The story heading into the night was Paul George making his first appearance at Staples Center since re-signing in Oklahoma City this past summer. He remained the story, thoroughly dominating the Lakers after a slow start to the game. Lakers fans gave him hell throughout the game, but he seemed to enjoy shutting them up with another impressive performance to add to an already tremendous season thus far.
The Lakers will try to bounce back from this loss Friday night at home against the New York Knicks.