Five takeaways from the Lakers’ 133-96 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder
The Lakers’ last audition game went much better than this one.
They lost by nine points to the Cleveland Cavaliers in front of LeBron James, who is expected to be a free agent this summer. That day they played in a way representative of what the Lakers feel their identity is.
On Wednesday, with Paul George in town, they did not.
Here are five takeaways from the Lakers’ 133-96 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
1. First, let’s put into perspective how bad this is. Last year’s team lost five games by 37 points or more. It happened one time each in the previous three seasons. Between Jan. 10, 1995, and March 5, 2014, the Lakers didn’t lose a single game by that margin. In their entire history, the Los Angeles Lakers have only lost by 37 or more points 13 times.
2. On New Years Day in Minneapolis, the Lakers gave up a 16-0 run to start the game. They did not have the firepower to overcome that start. On Wednesday the Lakers constructed a 10-0 run to start the game, with Julius Randle and Kyle Kuzma scoring all of those points. But the Thunder did have the firepower to recover. After missing their first four shots, the Thunder went on to make 60.2% of their shots. “We just flat out gave out,” Kuzma said. “They got basket after basket. We had no resistance on them on the defensive end.”
3. Among the topics coach Luke Walton said he would need to look into later were the number of passes the Lakers made. He likes the team to make around 300 passes and he expects that when he gets the numbers theirs will be much lower. The Lakers had 24 assists, which isn’t terrible as the Lakers’ assist numbers go, but assists aren’t the only way Walton measures how well the ball moves. He finds passes to be more indicative. Related: Lonzo Ball might return Friday.
4. Despite having Brook Lopez available, Walton started Randle at center, like he did in the past two games when Lopez was injured. Randle had much stronger games in Houston and Minneapolis. Against the Thunder, facing Steven Adams, Randle scored nine points with five rebounds and two assists. He turned the ball over three times. The Lakers also got demolished in the paint where the Thunder outscored them 66-44.
5. Soreness when he woke up on Wednesday morning is why the Lakers did not allow Lonzo Ball to play Wednesday night. Their plan is for him to practice on Thursday before the Lakers make a decision on Friday’s game against Charlotte at Staples Center.
Follow Tania Ganguli on Twitter @taniaganguli
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