Thunder journal: LeBron James, Anthony Davis sidelined during OKC's 125-110 loss to Lakers
The Lakers were without their two biggest stars Saturday at OKC.
LeBron James was out with flu-like symptoms, while Anthony Davis missed his second consecutive game with a gluteus maximus contusion he suffered Tuesday at the Knicks.
Lakers guard Danny Green was also sidelined, with right hip soreness. Rajon Rondo, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Kyle Kuzma started in their place Saturday in a 125-110 win against the Thunder.
The Lakers were playing the second leg of a back-to-back, after a 129-114 win at Dallas Friday. According to Lakers coach Frank Vogel, James was experiencing symptoms throughout the game Friday.
"His chest was burning all throughout the game," Vogel said. "We had to get him out early in the first quarter. I was using timeouts to get him rest, but most of my timeouts last night were centered around helping him fight through the chest cold."
James recorded 35 points, 16 rebounds and seven assists in a bout with fellow MVP candidate Luka Doncic.
"Not only did he have that type of performance," Vogel said of James, "but he did it without being able to breathe most of the night."
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Los Angeles had led by as many as 32 points early in the third quarter. Then, the Thunder made eight shots in a row to cut the Lakers’ lead to 18 points.
Danilo Gallinari started the streak with a dunk. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Chris Paul, Dennis Schroder and Mike Muscala also contributed.
Finally, after Paul pulled up from midrange and drained a jump shot, Lakers coach Frank Vogel called a timeout.
The Thunder already had a small lineup on the floor early in the fourth quarter, with power forward Gallinari playing center. But then with eight minutes left in the game, it got even smaller.
Guard Terrance Ferguson replaced forward Darius Bazley. Suddenly, OKC had four guards and Gallinari on the floor. Nothing else had worked, so why not at least try it?
"Well, if I was playing center," Gallinari said, "that means that something (went) wrong in the game."
The experiment ended with 4:18 on the clock, when Thunder center Steven Adams checked back into the game. Not much had changed. The Thunder had gone from trailing 108-89 when Ferguson subbed in, to trailing 116-96.
Gallinari notched his ninth straight game with at least three 3-pointers, the second-longest such streak in Thunder history. Paul George holds the record with 10. … Thunder center Justin Patton recorded his first made 3-pointer of the season. He made his first appearance since November.