Ringo H.W. Chiu/Associated Press
Head coach Frank Vogel has had his team running like a well-oiled machine right now. Their 13-2 record is the best in the NBA, and they’ve now had two winning streaks of at least six games in the same season for the first time since 2010-11.
LeBron James had an inconsistent shooting night, going 9-of-20 from the field, but he still posted his 12th double-double in 15 games. Anthony Davis also had a double-double and recorded his fourth 30-point game of the season.
Oklahoma City had six players score in double-figures, including the entire starting five. Its problem came on the defensive end, allowing a season-high 130 points in defeat.
Notable Game Stats
- Anthony Davis, F (Lakers): 33 points, 11 rebounds, 7 assists
- LeBron James, F (Lakers): 23 points, 14 assists, 6 rebounds
- Danny Green, G (Lakers): 14 points, 4-of-6 3-point FG
- Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, G (Lakers): 17 points, 4-of-5 3-point FG
- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, G (Thunder): 24 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists
- Steven Adams, C (Thunder): 22 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists
- Chris Paul, G (Thunder): 18 points, 7 assists
Balanced Attack Showcases Lakers’ Depth
One common criticism for the Lakers early this season is how their depth will hold up over the course of an 82-game schedule and a potential playoff run.
While those questions can’t be fully answered until after we see how the season plays out, Friday’s game was the latest indication Los Angeles will be fine. The connection between Davis and James has been immediate and virtually unstoppable:
That duo has allowed the rest of the Lakers to settle into their roles, with players like Alex Caruso, Dwight Howard and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope getting their moments to shine:
This game was their worst showing on defense to date, allowing a season-high 127 points. The Thunder shot 52.7 percent from the field and made 11-of-31 attempts from three-point range to erase a 15-point third quarter deficit.
Even with a poor defensive game, the Lakers were still able to come out on top against a team that has played well on its home court because their offense wasn’t being slowed down.
Danny Green had a team-high plus-10 rating in the win. James continues to be an assist machine.
James and Davis are pushing all the right buttons so far. Vogel has gotten the entire team to buy into its system, and the early returns in Los Angeles have been better than anyone could have hoped for.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander Steals Spotlight for Thunder
Following Monday’s 90-88 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander received high praise from his former head coach.
“I think he’s gonna be a superstar,” Rivers told The Athletic’s Jovan Buha. “I said that last year, so I’m not breaking news here.”
The schedule for the Thunder this week has been difficult, starting with the Clippers and ending with a home-and-home against the Lakers.
They wound up going 0-3 in this stretch, but one silver lining from Friday’s defeat was Gilgeous-Alexander. The 21-year-old showed no fear going to the basket throughout the game and putting the Lakers defense on its heels:
Los Angeles came into this game ranked first in the NBA in defensive efficiency (100.2 points allowed per 100 possessions) and second in scoring defense (101.1 points allowed per game).
Gilgeous-Alexander had one of his best shooting games of the season, making 10 of his 18 field-goal attempts, against the Lakers.
The Canada native has flown under the radar among second-year players because Luka Doncic is having an MVP-caliber campaign and Trae Young is one of the most spectacular playmakers in the NBA.
Gilgeous-Alexander hasn’t taken the same exponential leap forward those two have in his sophomore campaign, but he’s ready to become the driving force for Oklahoma City’s offense based on his performance Friday night.
The Lakers will continue their four-game road trip Saturday night when they take on the Memphis Grizzlies at 8 p.m. ET. The Thunder have two days off before traveling to the Chase Center for a matchup with the Golden State Warriors on Monday at 10:30 p.m. ET.