Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder celebrates after getting fouled on a successful three-point shot against the Los Angeles Lakers on December 7, 2012 at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
After a day of mourning, it is time to look at what really happened in the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday night.
Against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday, the Los Angeles Lakers had one bad quarter that cost them the game. The Thunder only won one quarter out of four, but the way they won that quarter killed the game off early. To their credit, the Lakers came out strong and would go on to make an ultimately futile attempt at salvaging the scoreline late in the fourth quarter.
What exactly happened during that second quarter?
For starters, the Lakers gave up 41 points. The Lakers scored 26 points themselves, which would normally be a good number. However, with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook combining for 28 points on 9-11 from the field, the Lakers found themselves down big in a hurry.
Westbrook started the game hot with a 13 point first quarter and went to the bench to start the second period. Durant started the second quarter and matched up against the Lakers’ bench.
Before Westbrook returned to the game at the 7:30 mark, Durant had already hit the Lakers for 7 points, 3 rebounds, and 1 assist to start the second quarter. Leading Oklahoma City’s second unit, Durant had taken a 1 point deficit and turned it into a 3 point lead.
Then, Westbrook came back into the game.
Durant would keep up his scoring by adding another 7 points to finish off the quarter, but Westbrook would be the star for the remainder of the half. Within 3 minutes of Westbrook’s return, the Thunder’s 3 point lead was suddenly a 12 point cushion. Westbrook’s 14 points, 4 assists, and 1 steal in the second period helped the Thunder lead by as many as 16 points in the quarter.
To their credit, the Lakers came out and won the first quarter. They also played hard till the end and won the fourth quarter. The third quarter was a tie. However, the second quarter was utter domination at the hands of Oklahoma City’s star duo.
The Lakers played 36 minutes against Oklahoma City. For this team to be successful against good teams, they need to play smart and hard for a full 48 minutes. With consistent lapses in focus, it is easy to see why the Lakers are struggling to reach .500.