By Randy Renner
It's been a while since the Thunder have lost a game to the Los Angeles Lakers of course it's been a while since the Lakers have been any good.
A win tonight would be the sixth straight for the Thunder over the Lakers which would tie the all-time series record and it would be the third straight win for OKC over the Lakers inside Staples Center for the first time ever. When the franchise was in Seattle, the SuperSonics won three straight in LaLa Land over the 2000-01 and 2001-02 seasons.
After what happened on Saturday, a 118-78 Thunder blowout win over the Lakers at The Peake, you'd think this one might follow a similar script but don't be surprised if it doesn't.
I'm certainly not saying the Thunder might end up losing I'm just saying this time around might be quite a bit more competitive than what we saw Saturday.
The big IF is Kobe Bryant's status. He played last night in Denver and played very well, scoring 31 points in a 111-107 Lakers win in Denver.
"I can still play a little bit," said Bryant, who averaged 15.8 points on 31.3 percent shooting in his first 20 games. "It was a great test for me tonight to see if I could still play both ends of the floor."
Bryant did not seem to be bothered by the sore shoulder he had Saturday that kept him out of the game in Oklahoma City. Whether Kobe feels he can play and whether coach Byron Scott wants him to play on the second night of a back-to-back is the question.
Bryant is averaging 25.0 points on 50.7 percent shooting over his last four games so his presence could have a dramatic impact.
The schedule makers did the Thunder a favor by letting them play the Clippers and the Lakers on the same trip, so even though the Thunder are on the road, they've been in the same hotel for the last few days and got in a good practice on Tuesday so they should be in good shape.
The Thunder's biggest problem could be their mental approach. Coming off an emotional, down-to-the-wire win over the Clippers on Monday and getting ready for a stout Chicago Bulls team on Christmas Day the rematch with a team they beat by 40 points comes at a bad spot.
OKC has won 12 of the last 16 games and this is another one that should go into the win column, the Thunder just have to focus in and forget about what happened on Saturday.