The Los Angeles Lakers, without Kobe Bryant, went to Oklahoma City and got stormed out of the gym by the Thunder 118-78 on Saturday. Bryant missed the game due to a sore right shoulder.
At the end of the first quarter, the Lakers had a total of 15 points and trailed by 20. The Thunder didn't even give LA a false sense of hope. With Bryant out, the 4-22 Los Angeles Lakers did not delay in confirming that Saturday would bring loss no. 23 to the fledgling Lakers.
Kevin Durant started the game with 14 points in the first quarter, narrowly missing out on matching the entire Lakers' team total. At that stage, Russell Westbrook had eight points, and the game would not get any friendlier for the visitors. In the second quarter, the Thunder would break the game open beyond repair and jump out to a 34-point lead.
The Lakers would go on a small run at the end of the first half to only trail by 26 points at the intermission. That score, however, did not adequately reflect the one-sided nature of the first half. Durant and Westbrook had set an ear-piercing tone that blew out the Lakers' ears and turned the game into an old-fashioned rout.
In the third quarter, the Thunder jumped out to a 39-point lead before Westbrook and Durant grabbed a seat for good. The Thunder did not need their stars any more. The change could have been made at the half or even after the first quarter, but Thunder coach Billy Donovan chose to keep his top talent in the game for three quarters.
The game was over by then, obviously, as it had effectively been ended in the first quarter--possible even earlier. Frankly, this was one game neither team could take much away from. Even calling it a game seemed a tad bit misleading. The Thunder murdered the Lakers, and not seeing Bryant on the court actually seemed encouraging considering the Lakers' superstar would likely have had no notable impact on the final result. This was one embarrassment Bryant did not need to experience this season.
After all, LA lost by 40 points when the final buzzer sounded.
For the Lakers, Lou Williams led LA with 20 points, and Jordan Clarkson added 15 points. Rookie D'Angelo Russell added 12 points, five assists and seven rebounds off the bench, and Nick Young led the Lakers' reserves with 14 points.
Durant finished with 22 points and eight rebounds, while Westbrook finished with 13 points and 11 assists.
Next, the Lakers play in Denver on Tuesday night.