The Lakers are not at all accustomed to being the Other Team in Los Angeles, and their injured list is as lengthy as any team’s, which hasn’t helped their cause. But heck, why can’t Kobe Bryant play point guard? Bryant admittedly hasn’t been himself lately, but he’s been somebody, and without the Gang of Steves — both Blake and Nash are on the DL — well, he turned in a PG-ish line, with only four points but with 13 assists and two steals. Unfortunately, he gave up the ball seven times, and the Lakers, who jumped out to an early lead, couldn’t sustain it beyond the middle of the first quarter. The Thunder claimed a 10-point lead after one quarter, increasing to 15 after two and 20 after three, and somewhere in the midst of all that it ceased to matter anymore: Oklahoma City 122, Los Angeles 97, and as always with Loud City, they love to beat anyone, but they especially love to beat anyone from L.A.
If anyone in purple and gold really shone tonight, it was Nick Young, who led the Lakers with 17 points, including four of seven treys. (Overall, the Lakers were 7-24, which means that apart from Young, they were 3-17 from distance.) Xavier Henry got fouled rather a lot, and earned 16 free throws, but he missed seven of them. On the upside, it was good to see Chris Kaman again, even in limited minutes: he nailed nine points in 12 minutes.
Once again, none of the Thunder starters showed up for the fourth quarter except Andre Roberson, who continued to start in place of the wounded Thabo Sefolosha. Kevin Durant knocked down 31 points in just under 31 minutes; Serge Ibaka, Russell Westbrook and Reggie Jackson each checked in with 19. (Give Serge ten rebounds, and Russell twelve dimes.) Jeremy Lamb contributed 11 to the score. Even Hasheem Thabeet, pretty much #11 in Scott Brooks’ ten-man rotation, got some burn, what with Steven Adams fouling faster than he could score.
The Magic will be coming to town Sunday; after that, it’s off to Denver on Tuesday, followed by a single home game against the Bulls on Thursday.