Five takeaways from the Lakers’ 120-85 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder

Kobe Bryant, Roy Hibbert, Andre Roberson

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant and center Roy Hibbert go after a loose ball along with Thunder guard Andre Roberson during their Dec. 23 game at Staples Center.

(Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times)

The Lakers (5-24) were blown out by the Oklahoma City Thunder (20-9) on Wednesday night. Here are five takeaways from the Lakers’ 120-85 loss at Staples Center.

1. The game was lost late in the second quarter and into the third, when the Lakers’ offense completely stalled.

Kobe Bryant hit a pull-up jumper with 4:05 left in the half, to put the Lakers up, 44-43.

Only Larry Nance Jr. scored before the half, with the Thunder pushing ahead 57-46 after a 14-2 run to close the second period.


The Thunder scored the first 22 points of the third, to reach 79-46 before Bryant’s reverse layup with 6:21 on the clock ended the streak -- a 36-2 stretch against the Lakers.

“They had a different gear that they went to,” Lakers Coach Byron Scott said of the Thunder.

2. Julius Randle was unable to play after tweaking his ankle on Tuesday in the Lakers win over the Nuggets in Denver.

Though he tried to get out on the floor in warm-ups, he wasn’t quite ready to go on Wednesday.


Nick Young also sat with a stomach bug, giving rookie Anthony Brown an opportunity to play. In 20 minutes, Brown missed five of six shots, but dished three assists and held a +/- of +1 in a 35-point blowout.

Fellow reserves D’Angelo Russell (+11) and Brandon Bass (+14) were also in the positive column, while Lou Williams reached a stunning -47 with Nance right behind him at -45.

3. Kevin Durant said he enjoyed playing against Kobe Bryant.

“It was fun,” Durant said. “Me and him are great friends, but he’s the same way I am -- between those lines we’re going to go at each other no matter what. We can laugh and joke throughout the game and talk to each other, but when the whistle sounds, we’re going at each other.”

“He got going a little bit in that second quarter, but I think for the most part I made him shoot tough shots all night,” Durant said. “He was physical with me on defense as well. Those competitive match-ups make you better, and it definitely helped my game.”

Durant finished with 21 points on nine shot attempts; Bryant scored 19 on 22.

4. Lost in the blowout was a strong performance from Ryan Kelly, who scored 12 points in 12 minutes, hitting five of his seven shot attempts.

Russell also reached 18 points, converting four of seven three-point attempts.


Williams scored just two points, missing all six of his shots from the field and four of six from the line.

Bass got to play rare minutes at his natural position of power forward.  With the Lakers developing Randle and Nance, Bass has primarily played backup center for the team.

5. The Lakers are still in last place in the Western Conference, better than just the Philadelphia 76ers (1-30).

The Lakers are eight games behind the eighth-place Utah Jazz (12-15) and 4.5 behind the 14th-place New Orleans Pelicans (9-19).

Looking ahead to the 2016 NBA draft lottery, the Lakers would have a 55.8% chance of a top-three pick in next June’s draft. If the Lakers fall below third in the lottery, the Philadelphia 76ers will get the team’s pick as part of the Steve Nash trade, via the Phoenix Suns.

Email Eric Pincus at and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus

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