Tuesday, August 16 2022
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At this point, Los Angeles Lakers fans have to be seeing the Oklahoma City Thunder blue and sunset color scheme in their nightmares. On Thursday night without LeBron James, who is dealing with an abdominal injury, the Lakers blew a 19-point lead en route to a 107-104 loss to OKC at Staples Center. Led by Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony, the Lakers floundered multiple chances down the stretch to tie the game or take the lead, and suffered an embarrassing home loss.

It was only OKC’s second win of the season, which would make the loss sting enough for the Lakers. But the pain was compounded by the fact that the Lakers did nearly this exact same thing last Wednesday, blowing a 26-point lead to giftwrap the Thunder their first win of the season, 123-115, in Oklahoma City — also with LeBron out due to injury. That’s right, the Thunder are now 2-6, and both wins have come against the Lakers.

Thursday’s game was eerily similar to the previous matchup, with the Lakers clicking on all cylinders in the first half, but the Thunder steadily chipped away before taking their first lead of the game on a Kenrich Williams dunk with 5:27 left in the fourth quarter. From there, it was the Shai Gilgeous-Alexander show, as he finished an and-one, assisted on two Mike Muscala baskets, hit two free throws and then knocked down one of the most cold-blooded, audacious shots of the NBA season thus far.

With just over a minute left in the game and a reasonable 15 seconds remaining on the shot clock, Gilgeous-Alexander hoisted a 34-foot 3-pointer from the logo and watched it drop through the basket as the Lakers stood in disbelief.

“I just felt it. I usually don’t shoot that shot in game,” Gilgeous-Alexander said. “It’s something I practice … It wasn’t like a crazy shot to me. I felt good when I shot it.”

Even after the dagger, the Lakers had a chance to come back. A pair of 3-pointers by Austin Reaves and Anthony cut the OKC lead to two points, and the Lakers had possession with 27 seconds left after a missed layup by Luguentz Dort. As Westbrook made his way to the basket, however, he lost the ball on the way up and it went flying into the stands for a crucial turnover.

The Lakers continued to fight, and another Anthony 3-pointer cut the lead to a single point with just under 10 seconds left. After Dort made two free throws to extend the lead to 107-104, Westbrook raced down court, but his 3-pointer caromed off the back rim and the clock expired, cementing another improbable Lakers loss.

Gilgeous-Alexander finished with 28 points, including 11 in the final seven minutes, and six assists, while Dort added 17 points. Davis led the Lakers with 29 points and 18 rebounds, while Westbrook scored 27 points on 3-for-6 3-point shooting and Anthony knocked down five 3-pointers, finishing with 21 points.

The Lakers fall to 1-2 without James in the lineup, with both losses coming to the Thunder in dramatic fashion. With James expected to miss at least a week, the Lakers, now sitting at 5-4, need to figure out how to win games without their superstar.

“We have enough pieces to still win basketball games even though [James] brings a huge part at both end of the floor with what we do,” Davis said after Thursday’s loss.

The good news is, the Lakers don’t play the Thunder again until December.

Source: CBSSports.com

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