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Lakers vs. Thunder Preview: We’re not in Orlando anymore

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The Lakers will (hopefully) close out their road trip in Oklahoma City.

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Oklahoma City Thunder v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

A lot has changed since the last time the Los Angeles Lakers and the Oklahoma City Thunder played each other. The Thunder had Chris Paul, the Lakers had Dion Waiters and the NBA had a bubble.

Now, Paul is with the Phoenix Suns, Waiters is enjoying life as an NBA champion, and the NBA is postponing games left and right because of positives coronavirus tests throughout the league. But don’t worry: players can’t hug anymore! That will solve everything!

Narrator: it will not solve everything.

Assuming nothing goes awry over the next 20 or so hours, the Lakers and Thunder will still play each other for the first time this season on Wednesday at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.

The Thunder struggled as much as most people thought they would to start the season, going 1-4 through their first five games without Paul or Steven Adams, the latter of whom they traded to the New Orleans Pelicans in November. However, in the six games they’ve played since then, they’ve gone 4-2, and they have their defense to thank for it.

Going into their game against the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday, the Thunder ranked 10th in defensive rating, allowing 107.9 points per 100 possessions. During their three-game winning streak, which ended on Tuesday, they posted the fifth best defensive rating in the league (104.3).

With how many offensive weapons the Lakers have, that shouldn’t be an issue, but in the unlikely even it is, they should still feel good about their chances because as good as the Thunder have been on offense, they’ve been horrid on offense. The only teams with a worse offensive rating than the Thunder are the New York Knicks and Cleveland Cavaliers.

As long as the Lakers look like they give a damn, it should be another relatively easy win for the reigning champions. Tip-off will be at 5:00 p.m. PT on Spectrum SportsNet.

Notes and Updates

  • Wesley Matthews won’t be available for the Lakers again on Wednesday due to swelling in his right Achilles tendon. Matthews has missed the last two games.
  • Anthony Davis is questionable for Wednesday after jamming his left big toe. His X-Rays were negative, but the Lakers are going to wait and see how he feels tomorrow before determining his status.
  • UPDATE:
  • LeBron James is expected to play against the Thunder despite the fact that it will be the second night of a back-to-back. Wednesday will mark the 36-year-old’s third game in four days.

For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow this author on Twitter at @RadRivas.