Adams Plays Inspired and Melo Got Buckets in OKC's 3rd Straight
By: A. Suave Francisco
Los Angeles came to Oklahoma City to win their first game without their rookie point guard, Lonzo Ball and Steven Adams terminated any thought of that. In Andre Roberson's return after an eight-game hiatus, Adams looked electric and OKC knocked off L.A. 114-90.
Just like the Kings game on Monday night, the Thunder allowed the Lakers to stay in the contest in the first half but Adams was locked in from the jump. Possibly because his defensive counterpart Roberson was back in the starting lineup, providing that energy on the perimeter.
Adams played like he was excited to see Roberson back healthy. He was energetic. He looked confident on both ends of the court and there were no spacing problems with Roberson back in the lineup like many thought there would be.
Adams dominated the paint, while Carmelo lit things up from the perimeter. Two three-pointers in the first quarter propelling OKC to a 16-8 start set the trend for Anthony's big game and he simply carried that through the remainder of the game. Anthony finished with 27 points on 10-of-15 shooting.
Although Adams and Anthony were simultaneously playing their best game, the Lakers still hung around, at least in the first half. They can thank Julius Randle for that. There was a point in the second quarter where it seemed as if he couldn't miss and he barely did, shooting 8-of-10 from the field for 16 first-half points. Ironically, the majority of those points came when Anthony was guarding him. We all are aware of Melo's defensive deficiencies.
The trend for great things to happen has been in the third quarter lately for the Thunder. Not only did they hold Randle scoreless in the second half, they outscored Los Angeles 33-18, which placed them in prime position for their third-straight victory.
The Lakers can't seem to muster up a victory without Lonzo Ball, where they are (0-8) without him on the court and Oklahoma City looks whole again with their best defensive player back on the court. Things started slowly defensively, giving up 54 points in the first half to L.A. but they retrieved their defensive rhythm from mid-December by giving up just 36 points in the second half.
OKC improves to (25-20) on the season and will have two off-days before their matinee matchup in Cleveland on Saturday afternoon where they will search for their fourth-straight, against a noteworthy opponent.