Thunder Hand Lakers Worst Loss In Series History
By Randy Renner
All of the drama and most of the interest went out of this game about 90 minutes before tipoff when the Lakers announced Kobe Bryant had a sore right shoulder and wouldn't play.
The Thunder then went out and methodically took apart a helpless Lakers squad, leading by 20 points in the first quarter and by 34 in the second. 118-78 was the final, the largest margin of victory ever for a game between these two franchises and it could have been even worse. The Thunder starters spent the last couple minutes of the third quarter on the bench and all of the fourth.
As it was the Lakers' point total was their second-lowest this season and the lowest by an Oklahoma City opponent since the Thunder beat the Miami Heat 93-75 on March 22. The Thunder led by as many as 46 points and flirted with breaking their record for margin of victory, which is 45 points.
Kevin Durant, who had 14 points in the first quarter, finished with 22 and eight rebounds. Russell Westbrook added 13 along with 11 assists. Serge Ibaka scored 12 and Steven Adams 10 and both big men pulled down seven rebounds.
OKC finished with seven players in double figures, three of them bench guys. Enes Kanter led that group with 19 points and 14 rebounds.
"Our guys came out focused to start the game and it was good to see that continue and be maintained in the second half," head coach Billy Donovan told reporters after the game.
The Lakers have had trouble all season slowing teams down on the offensive end and they had no hope at all against the Thunder. Oklahoma City shot 54.8 percent overall and 47.4 percent (9-for-19) from beyond the arc.
Even in the fourth quarter, with the game well in hand, the Thunder bench guys kept the pressure on LA shooting 55.0 percent and allowing the Lakers to hit just 39.1 percent. Kanter had 9 points and 7 rebounds in that fourth quarter and rookie point guard Cam Payne also had a good run playing almost 10 minutes, scoring 6 points on 3-for-4 shooting while handing out 3 assists and stealing the ball three times.
"I thought Cameron came in and really did a good job," Donovan said.
He also praised the bench play.
"The scoreboard shouldn't dictate how you do your job," he noted. "You might have a big lead but you still have to come out and do your job and those guys did."
The Thunder will practice on Sunday before flying to Los Angeles where they will spend the next few days playing the Clippers on Monday night and the Lakers again on Wednesday.