The Los Angeles Lakers have done a lot to regain some momentum over the past month. After their disappointing 17-25 start to the season, they went 13-5 to make it back to .500. They had people believing they were a playoff team, maybe even a team that could challenge for the Western Conference title.
However, the Oklahoma City Thunder brought the Lakers back down to earth last night with a 122-105 win where they scored at will for 48 minutes and reminded everyone that L.A. is old and slow.
I thought the Lakers were going to give the Thunder a good game. On TNT, with a chance to show everyone that they’re ready to make a strong push, if I were a betting man, I might have even bet a few bucks on the 9.5 point spread (wink, wink).
But L.A. had no answer for Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant and company. Honestly, the beat down should have been a lot worse, except the Thunder missed a few wide open three-pointers. OKC shot relatively poorly from outside (8-23), but just the fact that they were so wide open so often goes to show you how in trouble the Lakers really are.
The Thunder actually tied an NBA record for least turnovers in a game with two. Just two turnovers in an entire game. That’s crazy.
The Lakers seem content to try and outscore their opponents. It almost worked when the Thunder went cold late in the fourth quarter and L.A. got within five. But the Thunder ended the game on a 12-0 run and that was that.
I don’t have a solution for the defensive woes of this team. I’m not sure if they do either.
One thing to keep an eye on is the inevitable return of Pau Gasol. He was part of the team that kicked off this “Laker resurgence,” going 6-1 before his foot injury. He’s been out for a month now, and seems on track to return in two to four weeks. He’s working on getting clearance to resume running drills when the Lakers return to L.A. after tonight’s game in New Orleans.
When Pau was playing though, it’s not like the Lakers were shutting teams down. I’m not even sure if L.A. is looking forward to his return just because they don’t know how to use him and Dwight Howard together.
It must have been fun for Laker fans to dream of a complete turnaround for a while, but I think Oklahoma City turned all those dreams to nightmares.
Image: Washington Post