There were basically two questions going into this game. The first: “Is Perk okay?” (Answer: he played seventeen minutes, took a hit, took a detour to the locker room as a precautionary measure, and returned to the bench, though he didn’t play further.) The second: “How will Metta World Douche be greeted?” (Answer: Seven or eight of the 18,203 in attendance did not boo him.) Otherwise, there was no question: the Thunder grabbed the lead late in the first quarter and didn’t come close to giving it up the rest of the night, up 15 at the half, up 30 (!) after three, and the starters watched the reserves finish off the Lakers, 119-90, in spectacular fashion. And I do mean “spectacular”: in the waning seconds, Derek Fisher sank a trey, and then Royal Ivey stole the inbound and dribbled it out. Had they given Mike Brown the finger, the message couldn’t have been clearer.
And here’s a brace of telltale statistics: at 39:26, the beginning of garbage time, OKC had committed three turnovers and the Lakers had zero fast-break points. Add to that this lovely bit of frustration: Devin Ebanks, who had subbed admirably for Metta World Elbow during the dark days of suspension, lasted a whole 4:15 before being thumbed from the premises.
Los Angeles still has no one who can handle Russell Westbrook, who rolled up 27 points on 10-15 shooting, not to mention seven rebounds and nine assists. Kevin Durant tacked on 25 more; James Harden led the bench with 17. And oh, the final turnover count was four.
The Lakers, meanwhile, coughed up the rock 15 times, and while they did enjoy a 43-41 advantage on the boards, they shot less than 44 percent, and Pau Gasol, minus 29 for the night, evidently phoned it in. Andrew Bynum did post a double-double, with 20 points and 14 rebounds, which still left him at minus 24. Kobe Bryant had an uneventful 20, and Metta World Smurf, hot in the first quarter, ended up with 12.
The hostilities resume Wednesday at the funky C Arena. I have no idea how Perk is, and there’s really no reason for anyone to tell me.