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LeBron James dominates as Lakers beat Thunder on road

The Lakers ended their four-game losing streak by playing one of their best games of the season against the Thunder. 

Los Angeles Lakers v Oklahoma City Thunder Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images

Anthony Davis called Saturday's matchup against the Oklahoma City Thunder a must-win game and the Lakers responded, beating the Thunder 129-120 on the road.

LeBron James was back after missing the previous game against the Timberwolves, and he looked like his dominant self, scoring a season-high 40 points and grabbing seven rebounds along with seven dimes.

Davis talked the talk and walked the walk playing a game-high 42 minutes and scoring 26 points on 11-21 shooting.

There were a lot of changes in this game, with D'Angelo Russell starting the game on the bench being one of them. He played well, scoring 15 points in 18 minutes of play.

This was one of the best games the Lakers have played all season. They had six players in double figures and maintained the lead throughout the entire game, particularly in the second half.

So, how did the new lineup fare during the opening minutes?

They were fine. Los Angeles stayed with the new unit for the first five minutes and trailed by just one against one of the best teams in the West. Their size seemed to help rebounding, and Jarred Vanderbilt, with his length and speed, could keep up with the Thunder starters.

Hachimura and Austin Reaves were the first two subs for L.A. and made their impact felt. Hachimura immediately knocked down a three and scored 12 points in the first quarter. Reaves did the dirty work, drawing fouls and scoring four points in the opening frame as the Lakers trailed by just three after one.

We got our first look at D'Angelo Russell coming off the bench this year in this game and the early returns were good. Russell worked well with the second-quarter unit of Jaxson Hayes, Vanderbilt, James and Hachimura. He shot 55% from the field on the night, and thanks to his play and Hachimura going nuclear in the first half, the Lakers had control and were up 12 at the break.

In the second half, the Lakers kept their energy up. James was hitting three after three, but his best highlight of the third was an alley-oop to Davis, which gave the Lakers a twenty-point lead.

Reaves hit a three with four minutes left in the quarter and got the rare four-point play and it looked like the Lakers were not going to let go of the rope tonight.

OKC hand other plans.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander helped the Thunder close the third well and kept that energy up in the fourth and got within 12 with under nine minutes left in the game. The lead shrunk to as low as nine, but after James muscled his way to the basket, the lead was back up to double-digits. James continued dominating the quarter and closed the door on the Thunder, cruising to victory.

Key Takeaways

If the recent games indicate what the low can be, this is an example of the high. The Lakers have two superstars and enough length and versatility to match up with anyone. When healthy and engaged in all facets of the game, only a handful of teams can beat them when it matters.

They still have a lot to figure out regarding rotations, the depth chart and potential trades to optimize this team, but if you want to see a blueprint for the Lakers being title contenders, some of it was shown tonight.

There's a good team in here somewhere. Ham needs to find it and use it regularly.

You can follow Edwin on Twitter at @ECreates88.

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