The Lakers made a run at it, but ultimately came up short in what was a record-tying performance by the Thunder.
With the Lakers down 16 at the half, and playing in New Orleans tomorrow, Coach Mike D’Antoni surely considered throwing in the towel and having his starters watch the second half from the bench.
D’Antoni, however, decided to put his starters back in, and they made a great run. The Lakers clawed back to within 110-105 with 6:14 remaining, but then the Thunder closed the game on a 12-0 run as the Lakers’ shooters suddenly went cold.
The most remarkable aspect of the game was that the Thunder tied an NBA record for fewest turnovers in a game, committing only two on the night. The Lakers, unbelievably, recorded no steals for the game, and blocked just one shot.
On the flip side, the Lakers committed 16 turnovers, with the Thunder recording 10 steals and five blocks.
Another troubling stat was that the Lakers recorded only 11 assists on their 31 baskets (35%), which surely was a major contributing factor to shooting just 40% from the field on the night.
Kobe Bryant – who left the game for a few minutes in the first quarter with a stinger on his elbow – had another very solid game, scoring 34 points, and Steve Nash overcame a 0-6 shooting start to finish 7-15, and tie his season high by scoring 20 points.
Dwight Howard grabbed 16 rebounds, but he had a poor game on the offensive end, scoring just six points on 1-7 shooting – with all his shots coming in the first half. Howard did appear to re-aggravate his shoulder in the first quarter, so that may have contributed to his struggles. He ended up fouling out with 2:24 remaining.
Playing on the road against the team with the league’s third-best record meant that this wasn’t a game the Lakers were expected to win – but they hung tough and can take some pride in giving OKC a run for its money.
However, while tonight’s game was not a must-win for the Lakers, tomorrow’s game in New Orleans against the lowly Hornets definitely is.
The Lakers need to regroup quickly, and deliver a win tomorrow.
Lakers’ Player of the Game
Although he didn’t play quite as well as he has in recent games, player of the game honors once again go to Kobe Bryant. Kobe scored 30 points (8-19 FG, 3-7 3PT, 11-12 FT) to lead the Lakers, but most importantly he led by example in playing through the pain in his elbow.
Hopefully one of his teammates can step up in New Orleans tomorrow – Kobe is carrying an awfully large load at the moment.
Top Two Tweets in My Twitter Feed
“Multiple Laker performances have made you think about writing ‘em off. Losing in OKC on night OKC ties NBA low for fewest TOs not of ‘em.” – @ESPNSteinLine, post-game tweet.
“A win tonight would have been the ultimate luxury. The loss only reinforces the fact that games they’re supposed to win are necessities.” -@ForumBlueGold, post-game tweet
Tuesday, March 6 at the New Orleans Hornets, 5:00 p.m. PST
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