After getting crushed by the Thunder 2 times last month, the Lakers responded very well Friday night. Coming off a 3- point loss to the Kings in Sacramento on Thursday, this game seemed like a sure fire blowout. However, the Lakers played a tough game before ending in a losing effort, 117-113.
The Thunder won a nail biter, thanks in big part to Russell Westbrook. Westbrook had 36 points, 12 rebounds and 7 assists on a 11-24 clip from the field, while Kevin Durant had 24 points and 7 rebounds on 10-15 shooting.
Lou Williams had a game-high and career-high 44 points in a ridiculous second half. The reigning Sixth Man of the Year scored 30 of his 44 in the second half and led the Lakers in a vicious 4th quarter run. Williams also hit 15-15 from the charity stripe, drawing numerous found on Thunder defenders by doing the patented Kobe Bryant Pump Fake. He finished 12-25 from the field.
Kobe Bryant added 19 points on 8-20 from the field with six assists. Jordan Clarkson chipped in 17 points on 6-12 shooting. The Lakers as a team shot 96 percent from the free throw line, just missing one all night.
Kobe back to back threes!!! https://t.co/qdg0lqHnAK
— Trevor Lane (@Trevor_Lane) January 9, 2016
Oklahoma City finished 50 percent from the field, and Kanter and rookie Cameron Payne had solid games off the bench.
This game was back and forth from start to finish. For Byron Scott’s bunch, this game was a microcosm of their season thus far. A solid game against a top team in the West, just to lose at the end. The fact the Lakers were even in this game is simply amazing. After a massive comeback against the Kings last night, just to fall short at the end, the Lakers fought from tip to finish, just to lose at the end.
Rookie D’Angelo Russell gave it a go after suffering a sprained ankle in his career performance last night. However, Russell only played 7 minutes before being taken out for precautionary measures. Julius Randle struggled from the field again, finishing with just 1 field goal and 8 boards before fouling out late in the fourth.
The fact that this young Lakers squad can hang around with a team like the Thunder is quite encouraging. With all three rookies getting playing time, and the two sophomores on the team getting extended run as well, this is a glimpse of the bear future for L.A. After Kobe Bryant shuts it down in mid-April, the new era of Purple and Gold will begin.
D’Angelo Russell, Larry Nance Jr., Anthony Brown, Jordan Clarkson, and Julius Randle will be a force to reckon with sooner rather then later. Throw in Lou Williams, who should be around to finish his three-year deal, and the Lakers draft pick, or picks, in 2016, and you have a scary future for this squad.
Maybe Byron Scott isn’t such a terrible coach as most might think. Ever since changing the lineup, this Lakers team has shown tons of improvement. With the season half over, and Kobe’s career unfortunately coming to an end, the future is bright for this historic franchise
Next up for the Lakers is a home tilt against the Jazz on Sunday nights and the Thunder head up north to Portland to face the Trailblazers on Sunday.