Five takeaways from the Lakers’ 107-100 loss to Oklahoma City:
1. Late Wednesday night, after Paul George had responded to the chorus of boos directed at him from the unforgiving Lakers crowd at Staples Center by pouring in 37 seemingly defiant points, the Oklahoma City forward said he was “fine’ with being the “bad guy.”
When George was a free agent last summer, he chose to stay in Oklahoma City rather than join the Lakers, the team he admired while growing up in Palmdale.
George didn’t even take a meeting with the Lakers’ front office at the time, and now the fans were sending all their displeasure at him.
“The booing wasn’t going to throw me off my game,” George said while standing in the hallway. “I’ve been playing basketball for a really long time and a little booing, a little noise is not going to make me forget how to play basketball.”
Before he was traded to the Thunder last season, George played with the Indiana Pacers and he had told them he was going to join the Lakers when he became a free agent in the summer of 2018.
Rather than trade for him then, the Lakers decided to wait. It didn’t work out for the Lakers, as George was shipped to the Thunder and decided to stay put and not join forces with LeBron James.
“Other than saying I would want to play here and I didn’t choose to come here,” George said, “I’m not the only guy from SoCal, from the L.A. area that didn’t decide to play here. You can go down the whole list of guys from this beautiful city. Again, it is what it is. The decision has been made. No ill will. The Lakers are one of the most historical franchises in the world. It is what it is. I’m with another organization.”
2. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had another strong game off the bench for the Lakers.
His 25 points were needed offense because the Lakers lost forward Kyle Kuzma to a low back injury in the second quarter.
Caldwell-Pope was six for 14 from the field, five for 11 from three-point range and eight for 10 from the free-throw line.
3. The Lakers tried to stay in the game by hoisting three-pointers. It was flawed thinking. They shot just 25.9%, going seven for 27 from three-point range.
4. Surely, Lakers fans have read this before: The Lakers are a horrible free-throw-shooting team. And they were again Wednesday night, making 59.4%. They shot 40% from the line in the second half.
5. The Lakers’ starting backcourt of Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart shot a combined six for 20 from the field and scored a combined 16 points.
Hart was five for 16 from the field, one for eight from three-point range, and scored 13.