The Lakers looked well on their way to a comfortable victory on Wednesday before an ugly, ugly collapse in the second half saw the Lakers fall in Oklahoma City to the Thunder, 123-115.
A winless Oklahoma City team overturned a huge double-digit deficit by completely dominating the second half to shock the Lakers with both teams on the second night of a back-to-back.
Anthony Davis led the Lakers with 30 points on the night while Russell Westbrook secured his first triple-double in purple and gold with 20 points, 14 rebounds, 13 assists. However, he also finished with 10 turnovers and was ejected from the game late after his second technical foul following a late Darius Bazley dunk.
Through the majority of the first half, the Lakers were cruising to a blowout win, leading 41-19 after one quarter and by as many as 26 points midway through the second period at 56-30 after an Avery Bradley 3-pointer. In his return to Oklahoma City, Russell Westbrook controlled every facet of the game and looked well on his way to a triple-double while Anthony Davis looked dominant.
However, the Thunder started to crawl back into the game to close the second quarter, pulling the deficit to 16 points heading into the break. The third quarter is when everything came unraveled for the purple and gold as the Thunder soared back into the game.
In that frame, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander fueled the comeback that saw the hosts win the period 41-23 and capped off the memorable period with a banked-in 3-pointer at the quarter buzzer to give the Thunder their first lead of the game at 97-95.
The fourth quarter only saw the trend continue as the Thunder built up an eight-point lead early in the period and kept control through the early minutes. The Lakers, though, began to tighten the vices defensively and crawled back into the game, forcing Gilgeous-Alexander into misses on his first five shots.
Big plays from Malik Monk in the final minutes — first on an assist to Westbrook and then on a drive to the basket himself — pulled the Lakers to within a point with 50.7 seconds remaining. The Thunder responded with a layup from Derrick Favors to restore a 3-point lead with 31 seconds remaining.
Westbrook missed a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession but the Lakers forced an eight-second call in the backcourt to immediately get the ball back. Malik Monk airballed a 3-pointer on that possession but, yet again, the Thunder turned the ball over on the in-bounds.
Yet again, though, the Lakers squandered the chance as Carmelo Anthony airballed his own 3-pointer. The Thunder iced away the game with a pair of free throws from Luguentz Dort. The Lakers would turn the ball over one last time leading to Bazley’s dunk and Westbrook’s ejection to cap off the abysmal ending.