Lakers can’t keep up in blowout loss to Thunder

Oklahoma City Thunder's Nerlens Noel is defended by Los Angeles Lakers' Danny Green, left, and JaVale McGee during the second quarter of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Kevin C. Cox/Pool Photo via AP)Oklahoma City Thunder's Nerlens Noel is defended by Los Angeles Lakers' Danny Green, left, and JaVale McGee during the second quarter of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Kevin C. Cox/Pool Photo via AP)
<figcaption class="C($c-fuji-grey-h) Fz(13px) Py(5px) Lh(1.5)" title="Oklahoma City Thunder's Nerlens Noel is defended by Lakers' Danny Green and JaVale McGee during the second quarter on Wednesday in Orlando, Fla.  (Kevin C. Cox / Associated Press)» data-reactid=»18″>

Oklahoma City Thunder’s Nerlens Noel is defended by Lakers’ Danny Green and JaVale McGee during the second quarter on Wednesday in Orlando, Fla.  (Kevin C. Cox / Associated Press)

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="For weeks, Lakers Coach Frank Vogel has insisted that the Lakers wouldn’t change the way they played or their goals in each individual game once they clinched the top seed in the Western Conference. &nbsp;» data-reactid=»23″>For weeks, Lakers Coach Frank Vogel has insisted that the Lakers wouldn’t change the way they played or their goals in each individual game once they clinched the top seed in the Western Conference.  

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="To that end, he played all of his starters against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night in Orlando even though the Lakers had clinched the top seed Monday with a win over the Utah Jazz. &nbsp;» data-reactid=»24″>To that end, he played all of his starters against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night in Orlando even though the Lakers had clinched the top seed Monday with a win over the Utah Jazz.  

But still, the Thunder dominated the Lakers, winning 105-86.  

LeBron James and Anthony Davis played about 30 minutes each with James scoring 19 points with 11 rebounds and four assists while Davis contributed nine points.  Five players scored in double figures for the Thunder, led by Chris Paul with 21 points.

With the win, the Thunder, who are in sixth place in the West, improved to 42-25 while the Lakers fell to 51-16. The Lakers have now won two games and lost two in the bubble.  

Here are three observations from the game:

  1. Stop me if you’ve heard this before: The Lakers struggled shooting three-pointers. It has been their weakness throughout the league’s restart in the bubble. Against the Thunder, the Lakers made 13.55% of their threes (five of 37), which is worse than their average coming in. Oklahoma City capitalized on this.  
  2. This marked the Lakers’ first loss of the season to the Thunder. They’d previously won two in Oklahoma City and won at Staples Center over the Thunder.  

    1. One celebrity fan attended the game virtually — rapper Lil Wayne. He took full advantage of the medium, trying to high-five virtual fans who were virtually next to him. But he also shared in the pain of Lakera fans as the game fell further out of reach, gripping his head with his hands and shaking his head as the deficit fell to double digits in the third quarter.