Five takeaways from the Thunder's 112-107 loss at Lakers
The Thunder lost to the Lakers 112-107 Tuesday on the second night of a back-to-back at Staples Center. OKC remains winless on the road this season.
Here are five things to know about the game:
Lakers poke holes through transition defense
Lakers forward Anthony Davis read Dennis Schroder’s pass before it could reach the paint. He jumped in front of Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to intercept it. OKC could barely react to the change of possession before LeBron James was scoring on the other end of the court.
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Then it happened again the next play, this time with Davis and James’ roles reversed.
The Thunder committed eight turnovers in the first quarter, and the Lakers quickly made OKC pay for them. Los Angeles scored 18 of its 33 first-quarter points off turnovers.
In the second quarter, OKC added just three more turnovers, but the Lakers kept getting out in transition.
For the last points of the first half, Los Angeles’ Rajon Rondo corralled the rebound off a miss from deep by Schroder. Rondo tossed an alley-oop to James.
The Lakers scored 23 fast-break points in the first half.
Dennis Schroder carries Thunder offense
Schroder made up for his five first-half turnovers with a scoring spree, giving the Thunder 20 points in the first half. He missed just four of his 12 shots before the intermission and drained two 3-pointers.
OKC was in desperate need of Schroder’s efficiency while the Thunder as a whole shot just 45.5 percent from the floor and 26.7 percent from 3-point range in the first half. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (11 points) was the only other Thunder player with double digit scoring before halftime.
Schroder finished the game with a season-high 31 points.
Guarding LeBron James
Thunder guard Terrance Ferguson was tasked with two of the toughest defensive assignments in the NBA on back-to-back nights. Less than 24 hours after he finished holding Clippers All-Star Paul George to 18 points, Ferguson matched up on James.
James finished the night with 25 points, but when Ferguson was guarding him, most of those came in transition.
For the second straight night, Thunder coach Billy Donovan decided to close the game with three points guard on the floor and Ferguson on the bench. Veteran point guard Chris Paul took on the responsibility of guarding James.
With a little over two minutes left int the game, Paul poked the ball out of James's hands for his fourth steal of the night. He found Shai Gilgeous-Alexander on the other end of the floor for a transition bucket. The three-point play cut the Lakers' lead to 109-105.
Finally, the Thunder was the team coming out of halftime with extra fire, rather than the other way around. After James opened the third quarter with a fadeaway jumper, OKC went on a 10-0 run to cut the Lakers’ lead to just two points.
The spurt was shot-lived, but the Thunder still out-scored the Lakers 34-30 in the third quarter, after Los Angeles widened its lead in each of the first two quarters.
Hamidou Daillo remains out
For the third straight game, Thunder guard Hamidou Diallo was sidelined by a left knee sprain. Abdel Nader and Deonte Burton filled in on the wing. They even each took turns guarding James in the fourth quarter.