Closeout at Staples

This game, or at least the first three quarters of it, was rather easily summed up: the Lakers outshot the Thunder, and not by a little either. Los Angeles put a 29-16 hurt on Oklahoma City in the first quarter; OKC fought back to within one at the half, but the Lakers kept on putting up good shots and the Thunder kept on failing to defend at the periphery, with the result that L.A. opened the fourth quarter with a 17-9 run. The futility of it all seemed to come sharply into focus when the Thunder hit four treys in a row and somehow didn’t manage to gain any ground; with three minutes left OKC was still down six. Russell Westbrook bore down. Stops appeared as the Lakers missed six shots in a row. With 43 seconds left, Westbrook delivered to Steven Adams at the net, and suddenly it was a one-point game. One stop later, Adams came up with a stickback — this was his first 20-point game ever — and Oklahoma City was up 109-108. The Lakers got the ball back with 14 seconds left; Nick Young took nine of those seconds to knock down a 27-footer, and L.A. was back up two. Westbrook went for the win, the Thunder couldn’t retrieve the loose ball, and the Lakers won it, 111-109.

By the end of the game, the shooting percentages had converged: 51-49 Lakers. OKC, as usual, had the edge in rebounding (40-35). Of interest: the five L.A. reserves scored 55, leaving 56 for the starters. (OKC bench scored only 33, and Anthony Morrow has yet to hit a trey all season.) There was only one double-double to be seen, and yes, Westbrook’s name is on it: 34 points, 17 in the fourth quarter, and 13 assists.

Tomorrow things resume in Sacramento and will likely run past midnight Central, which matters only to early risers and the Oklahoman.







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