Anthony Davis’ big night helps hot-shooting Lakers defeat Thunder
LeBron James found Anthony Davis open in the corner, and as Davis released a three-point attempt, Oklahoma City center Steven Adams hurled himself at Davis and knocked him nearly into the Thunder’s bench.
From the ground, Davis saw the ball go through the hoop. He then made the ensuing free throw.
“When AD hits a four-point play, especially in that time of the game, it’s kind of a backbreaker for a team,” Lakers guard Danny Green said.
That gave the Lakers a five-point lead with 2:36 to play, the cushion they needed to hold off the Thunder 130-127 on Friday night. The Lakers improved to 13-2, their best record since the 2010-11 season, when they also started 13-2.
It was the Lakers’ highest-scoring game of the season and marked the first time they allowed an opponent to score more than 115 points. The Lakers clicked on offense, making 51.1% of their field-goal attempts overall and 54.8% (17 of 31) of their three-point tries. Their defense struggled as the Thunder also shot better than 50% from the field, though Oklahoma City was less successful from three-point range, shooting 35.5%.
Davis led all scorers with 33 points and added 11 rebounds and seven assists. He made four of seven three-point tries. James scored 23 points and contributed six rebounds and 14 assists.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Danny Green, Kyle Kuzma and Dwight Howard all scored in double figures for the Lakers.
The Thunder were led by former Clipper Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who scored 24 points.
Lakers guard Rajon Rondo was ejected from the game in the fourth quarter after he was charged with committing a flagrant-two foul against Dennis Schroder. The foul followed an earlier technical foul after a verbal exchange with Schroder, for which both players were assessed technicals.
Both teams traded blows early in the game, with no lead safe or very big. The Lakers racked up assists early, especially from James and Davis. One spectacular assist ended the second quarter.
With 2.4 seconds left in the half, Rondo inbounded the ball from beneath the Thunder basket, throwing it high toward the three-point line on the other end of the court. James reverted to his days as a high school wide receiver and leaped to catch it with his right hand, then flipped it over to Caldwell-Pope, who sank a three-pointer. That cut the Thunder’s lead to 67-66.
“It started with Rondo throwing a great pass and him being a great quarterback,” James said. “And then it [continued] with me being a great receiver and then me playing my QB skills to get it to KCP and KCP being able to knock it down.”
After the break, the Lakers tried to bury the Thunder by scoring 28 points in the first five minutes of the third quarter. They made their first five three-point attempts in the quarter, part of a season-high made three-pointers on the night.
Still, the Lakers went into the fourth with only a three-point lead and needed four free throws from Davis in the game’s final seconds to seal the win.
“I worked a lot on putting myself at the line for situations like that,” said Davis, who went 11 for 11 from the foul line. “It’s just going out there and knowing your routine. Just being up there being poised and have the confidence to make your shot.”
Harassment charges against Lakers center DeMarcus Cousins have been dropped, his attorney, Moshae Donald, said Friday after a court appearance.
When: 5 p.m. PST, Saturday
On the air: TV: Spectrum SportsNet; Radio: 710, 1330
Update: The Grizzlies (5-9) will be completing a four-game homestand that includes a one-point win over the Utah Jazz on Nov. 15 and double-digit losses to the Denver Nuggets on Sunday and Golden State Warriors on Tuesday. Second-year guard Grayson Allen (ankle) is listed as probable for the game.
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