Starting one of their most pivotal stretches of the season, the Lakers picked up another impressive win against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday, 112-105.
LeBron James and Anthony Davis led the way on a night when they had a balanced attack, the former scoring 25 points with seven rebounds and six assists while the latter had 27 points, 15 rebounds, five assists, two steals and a block.
D’Angelo Russell stepped up again in the starting lineup with 14 points and seven assists while Austin Reaves chipped in 15 points and seven assists as well. In total, the Lakers had 31 assists.
Rui Hachimura chipped in 12 points off the bench in 20 minutes and Christian Wood had 11 points and seven rebounds in 14 minutes.
Turnovers nearly proved costly as the Lakers had 17 of them but countered that with 21 fastbreak points. As has happened against OKC this season, the Lakers dominated the paint with 64 points on the interior to the Thunder’s 44.
They did not clean up the second-chance points issue that’s plagued them all year, giving up 21 of them with numerous of those being 3-pointers after a series of offensive boards. Fortunately, OKC shot just 15-49 from the 3-point line, a far cry from the 39.2% they have shot from range this season.
The Lakers started the game off well, a pleasant development on the night. As has been commonplace against the Thunder this season, AD was at the center of that as he imposed himself against OKC on the interior with shots early and often.
Even despite a bizarre early challenge from Darvin Ham, the Lakers had momentum early and built a lead as large as eight points in the opening frame. But the Thunder rank as one of the top teams in the league for a reason and pulled their way back into the contest at the end of the first and into the second.
The teams began trading leads in the middle stages of the second quarter with neither side able to get firm control of the game. The Lakers were stringing together defensive stops but pairing them with empty offensive possessions.
As a result, despite having a better shooting percentage for much of the half, those empty possessions and offensive rebounds kept OKC not just in the game but in the lead. A pair of very narrow misses in the final minute of the quarter from Reaves and Russell kept the score at 50-50 heading into the break
The two sides traded baskets to open the second half then runs, first with OKC scoring eight unanswered to lead 60-54 before the Lakers responded with a 7-0 run to take back a 63-62 advantage and force a Thunder timeout.
Again, it was more back-and-forth action and while the Lakers took control with the lead, they couldn’t extend it by more than five points. At last, the Lakers built the lead to eight points after an AD poster of Chet and a fastbreak dunk after a beautiful find from Jarred Vanderbilt.
A rare strong finish to the quarter meant the Lakers ended the third period up 84-76. The Lakers kept that momentum rolling with a Christian Wood fastbreak dunk to lead 91-82 and force an OKC timeout less than three minutes into the fourth.
The Thunder made a brief run to cut an 11-point lead down to five points with SGA on the bench, but the Lakers steadied the ship to keep it at a two-possession game and extended the lead back to 99-91 with another fastbreak basket.
The lead reached its biggest at 13 points after a Rui Hachimura 3-pointer and LeBron layup to put the hosts ahead 104-91. However, just as it looked like the Lakers could cruise to a win, the Thunder cut the lead to six points at 106-100.
Some...questionable officiating down the stretch made the game interesting but an AD dunk effectively sealed the win.
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.