The last game with the Lakers this year — oh, come on, there’s no chance they’ll make the playoffs, even if they’re not mathematically eliminated just yet — was widely seen among Loud City residents as mandatory payback for that debacle this past Sunday at the Staples Center. Certainly the Thunder acted like they wanted it: ten steals and eleven blocks — Serge Ibaka had seven swats — demonstrate some serious desire. Once garbage time ensued and everybody got some minutes (new hire Reggie Williams made his OKC debut, knocking down five points in five minutes), attention, mine anyway, turned to the box score. Would the Lakers get six players into double figures? (They would.) Would the Thunder reach 60 rebounds? (They would.) Can OKC possibly break 130 points in 48 minutes? Yep. 131-102 was the actual final.
If ever you wondered whether Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook were spiritually joined at the hip, consider tonight’s lines: KD, 8-17 for 29 points; Westbrook, 9-17 for 29 points. (Russ also served up nine dimes.) Ibaka came up with a double-double (15 points, 13 rebounds) to go with those seven blocks; the bench contributed 46 points, led by birthday boy Caron Butler with 11. (Is it just me, or is Butler gradually displacing Jeremy Lamb in the rotation?)
Still: six Lakers in double figures, topped off once again by Jodie Meeks. I think I speak for everyone here in town when I say that I’d much rather Meeks got 19 than the 42 he got on Sunday. And L. A. got 13 treys in three fewer attempts than OKC did. But their three-point prowess was to some extent undercut by their futility at single points: the Lakers missed 10 of 25 free throws. (OKC put up 30 and missed only two.)
For the rest of the season, “L. A.” denotes the Clippers, whom the Thunder face once more. (The Clips are up 2-1.) But that’s not until April. In the meantime, the Mavs will be here Sunday, and after that it’s a week out East, against Chicago, Cleveland and Toronto.