The Los Angeles Lakere came into Sunday's contest against the Oklahoma City Thunder with the possibility of extending their three-game winning streak to a season-high of four games. Even without Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant available due to injuries, the Thunder had no interest in rolling over for the Lakers.
D.J. Augustin led the Thunder with 18 points, eight rebounds and five assists to give the Thunder a slight cushion in the race for the playoffs. Westbrook underwent facial surgery after taking a blow to the face in Oklahoma City's loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday.
With the stars out for the visitors, Serge Ibaka, Enes Kanter, Nick Collison and the Thunder's supporting cast stepped forward and took care of the lackluster Lakers.
To be fair to the Lakers, they were without Kobe Bryant, Nick Young, Ronnie Price, Julius Randle and Steve Nash for Sunday's game. Young is the only player on the aforementioned list expected to return this season, as the Lakers' sixth man is suffering with a sore left knee.
When searching for positives in the loss, the Lakers did manage to continue sharing the ball. Jeremy Lin, in particular, continued his strong play following the All-Star break. Lin would finish as the Lakers' leading scorer and leading assist man with 20 points and eight assists to go along with six rebounds.
Starting shooting guard Wayne Ellington also continued his strong play by stepping up to help a short-handed and inexperienced backcourt. Ellington finished with 12 points, six assists and six rebounds to lead the starting unit.
As a team, however, the Lakers never found their groove on Sunday and never led in the contest. Although the Thunder did not gain true separation until the fourth quarter, the Lakers did not threaten the Thunder for the entire second half.
When the final buzzer sounded, the scoreboard read "Lakers 101, Thunder 108."
Next, the Lakers take an early Monday morning flight to Charlotte to play the Charlotte Hornets on Tuesday night.