Word came out before the game started that Lou Williams, mindful of all those stories about the Skirvin being haunted, stayed elsewhere last night. And maybe he was wise: Williams delivered a substantial percentage of the Lakers’ offense, such as it was. Meanwhile, Kobe Bryant turned up with a sore shoulder, which probably had nothing to do with his having had dinner with Kevin Durant the night before. Which of these events had a greater impact on the game, I don’t know; perhaps nothing would have helped the woeful Lakers today, who earnestly lost their 23rd of 28 games to a Thunder squad that might have been thinking two nights ahead, toward a matchup with the, um, other Los Angeles team. Or maybe OKC just wanted to run up some numbers. Anyway, it was Thunder 118, Lakers 78.
And truth be told, I wondered why Larry Nance and Anthony Brown were starting for L.A. while Nick Young and Brandon Bass came off the bench. My best guess is that Byron Scott figured this effort was dead in the water, and decided to give the veterans a rest. Williams led with 20 points, fellow wingman Jordan Clarkson added 15, and Young headed the bench with 14. Still, the Lakers shot below 35 percent most of the night. (Which, I note in passing, is about Kobe’s current season average.) With the Thunder starters retiring early, seven of 12 OKC players hit double figures, with Durant picking up 22 in just under 30 minutes and Russell Westbrook 13 to go with 11 assists. This left bench honors to Enes Kanter, who had 19 points, 14 rebounds, and one inexplicable technical.
Next two outings are on the road, in the same building: against the Clippers on Monday night, and the Lakers again on Wednesday. The year finishes with a four-game home stand, every other day, starting with the Chicago Bulls on Christmas Day. The Bulls have had enough power this year to threaten the Thunder stockings with buckets full of coal, but you never really know what will happen in a Christmas game, especially one in the late afternoon.