Five takeaways from the Lakers’ 113-96 loss to the Thunder
The first back-to-back of the season looms next, but first the Lakers spent two days in Oklahoma City and its allegedly haunted hotel. They fell victim to another Russell Westbrook triple-double and fell to 1-2.
Here are five takeaways from Sunday’s 113-96 loss:
1. There’s no getting around it — the Lakers did not shoot well. If you remove Julius Randle (seven-of-10) and Timofey Mozgov (four-of-five), they shot only 33.3% as a team. Their three-point percentage was 21.9%. Despite those numbers, there isn’t anything Coach Luke Walton would have wanted them to do differently. Most of the shots were open looks, good shots after the ball moved. Those are the kinds of shots Walton wants his team taking. The idea is that eventually they’ll go in.
2. How do you overcome a bad shooting night? With good defense. There the Lakers struggled most in their transition defense. The Thunder played tremendously well in transition and also rebounded well on offense, scoring 26 transition points and 20 second-chance points.
3. Nick Young spent some time handling Westbrook last night and did an admirable job. He’s sometimes had the responsibility of guarding the opponent’s best guard. “Glad to be out there,” Young said. “Glad the coaching staff got confidence to put me on these guys.”
4. In each of the Lakers last three games, they’ve played 12 different players. That’s the plan going forward. Walton said he starts with a schedule of minutes in the first half in order to get different guys playing time and to see different lineups together. In the second half, he adjusts based on what happened in the first half.
5. Walton is still trying to keep things positive for the Lakers, though the locker room did seem to take this one a little bit harder than Friday’s loss in Utah. Perhaps it was because of the way the Thunder were able to dominate the end of the game on the way to a 17-point win. Still, Walton opened his comments to reporters with what pleased him and spoke in encouraging terms. “Learning how to win, especially on the road, is a skill,” he said. “You can’t afford to turn the ball over late. You gotta get those defensive rebounds when you’re making runs. But I’m confident we’ll get there.”
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