By Shayden Smith
The Los Angeles Lakers have been in rebuilding mode ever since their repeat titles in the late 2000’s. With one of the worst records last season, the Kobe Bryantless Lakers are looking to not only improve their record, but to make the post season for the first time since 2013. Opening up with a seven and seven record and with the best bench in the NBA, the Lakers are showing signs of future greatness, but enough about them.
The Thunder came into Tuesday night’s game with a winning record and intended to add another win to the count. So how did the Thunder do against the young Lakers? The Thunder had won nine straight games against the Lakers coming into Tuesday night, but a huge three from Nick Young gave the Lakers a two-point win over OKC, breaking the win streak. Although the Thunder fell to the Lakers, a few of the Thunder players had great games.
I found myself jumping up and down like a crazy person after Russell Westbrook hit his fourth three in the fourth quarter. Westbrook had another incredible game with 34 points, shooting four of nine from beyond the arc, dishing out 13 assists and grabbing eight boards. I’ve been upset with Westbrook for trying to take over games because it usually makes the Thunder a worse team, but Tuesday night was a different story. The Thunder lost the battle but Westbrook was hitting shots and making smart plays that allowed his teammates to leave their marks on the outcome of the game. Westbrook still needs to trust his teammates a little more, but if he’s going to be knocking shots down like he did Tuesday night, let it fly Mr. Westbrook.
Another player that was impressive tonight was Steven Adams. Adams had a career high in scoring with 20 points off nine of 13 shooting and grabbed six boards, all including a late putback bucket that gave the Thunder the lead before the Young three-point shot. Joffrey Lauvergne continues to improve, scoring 12 points and grabbing 7 rebounds, being one of the few highlights off the bench.
The Thunder finished well, even though they lost the game, but Tuesday night was yet another slow start. These slow starts are killing the Thunder. Coming out looking good in the second half is a great thing, but not if you’re down by 15 or more. I will continue to say this until it happens, Westbrook needs help. The Thunder doesn’t have a pure scorer. Westbrook will drop 30 a night, but even he is not a true scorer. The Thunder need another guy who they can put the ball in his hands and trust to score. Westbrook can’t do it all. I’m still hopeful for a miraculous trade that would send Anthony David to the Thunder. It can happen, right… right?
A heroic and unhuman fourth quarter performance by Russell Westbrook was still not enough to give the Thunder a victory over the LA Lakers. The Thunder dropped their seventh game of the season losing 109 – 111.