The Thunder’s losing streak extended to five with a 123-117 loss to the Lakers

OKLAHOMA CITY – With the Los Angeles Lakers in town for the first time this season, the usual aura surrounding them was notably absent.

Without LeBron James, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander or Anthony Davis will do it. Even with the lack of star power, it was an entertaining doubleheader in which the Oklahoma City Thunder lost to the Lakers, 123-117.

The game featured seven lead changes and seven ties, with no team leading by more than 13 points.

“I thought we really competed for the most part tonight,” Thunder head coach Mark Daigneault said. “I played very hard for most of the game. We came back a few times (and) put up a few runs and just kept at it…I was impressed with the team’s competitive level tonight. I thought we brought it from a competitive standpoint.”

The loss extended the Thunder’s losing streak to a season-high five games as they still look for their first win since the All-Star break.

Without their top three scorers, the Lakers relied on the whistle to generate plenty of points as they went 31 of 39 (79.5%) from the free throw line — a significant advantage over OKC’s 18 of 24 (75%) on the night .

This included a 14-of-18 fourth quarter in which several questionable calls ended up infuriating both the home crowd and the Thunder.

“They shot 39 free throws. If you look at the last couple, if that’s a measure of a foul in an NBA basketball game, then I thought (Josh Giddey), Jalen Williams, (Lu) Dort (could have taken more calls) — they have size and so people tend to bounce a little bit more off them — but illegal contact is illegal contact,” Daigneault said. “… If the standards that were applied towards the end of that game were applied during it, I thought they could have had a big night.… Referees aren’t perfect and that’s not the expectation. we are looking for honesty and consistency”

Someone who received some timely calls was former Thunder guard Dennis Schroder, who led the Lakers with 26 points on 8-of-18 shooting and 7-of-8 from the free throw line. Troy Brown Jr. and Austin Reaves also scored 19 points.

In addition to the free throw line, the Lakers took advantage of a much better night from the outside to win against the Thunder. The Lakers shot 16-of-35 (45.7%) from 3 — meanwhile, the Thunder went 11-of-40 (27.5%) from 3.

They started off hot for the Thunder, but cooled off in the end. The Thunder started 7-of-12 (58.3%) from 3, but went 4-of-28 (14.3%) the rest of the way.

With this loss and the overall play since the All-Star break, the Thunder are at a crossroads.

The Thunder are 2.5 games back in the reverse rankings for the fifth-best lottery pick and two games back of 10th in the actual rankings. How the second half of this home run of six games will reveal a lot.

Let’s take a look at the Thunder player ratings.

Josh Giddey: A

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After being bombarded with criticism for his worst game of the seasonJosh Giddey returned 24 hours later and scored 22 points on 10-of-17 shooting, 11 assists and nine rebounds.

A near triple-double for the 20-year-old after playing a season-low 19 minutes against Sacramento Kings the day before.

“It’s a good thing it was a 24-hour turnaround,” Giddey said. “Somehow I left the last game in the past. Such games will happen throughout his career, especially as a young player. There will never be steady improvement from game to game. There will always be an ebb and flow and a willingness to accept such games and acknowledge them.”

Giddey attacked the paint and shot 9 of 13 in the area. With the Lakers without Anthony Davis, it gave the Thunder a weakness on offense as they were outscored inside the paint, 60-34.

Lu sleeps: B-plus

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Lu Dort joined Giddey in the “F” division for player ratings in the Thunder’s loss to the Kings on Wednesday as he played just 21 minutes.

Just like Giddey, Dort turned it around the next day as he finished with 19 points on 7-of-16 shooting and 4-of-6 from the free throw line. Although Dort went 1-of-7 from 3, but that comes with the territory of being an inconsistent outside shooter.

Jalen Williams: A

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It was another great game for Jalen Williams as it becomes the norm for him to have highly efficient 20 point games.

Mirroring the last time played for the Lakers, Williams finished with 24 points on 9-of-17 shooting and 3-of-5 from 3 — three made 3-pointers to tie a career high. Williams also collected seven assists and four rebounds.

“When he’s aggressive downhill, he’s athletic, he can finish, he leads the NBA in dunks by guards. So that kind of speaks to that,” Giddey said of Williams. “… The best thing about him is that he makes the players around him better.”

Isaiah Joe: B

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As the Thunder mounted a comeback — cutting the Lakers’ lead to five points with 1:35 left in the game — Isaiah Joe played a vital role as he scored seven points in 12 minutes of the fourth quarter.

Overall, Joe finished with 15 points on 5-of-11 shooting and went 3-of-9 from 3 in 29 minutes as he returned to his usual role off the bench this game.

As far as producing Joe goes, this is a happy medium.

It’s unrealistic to ask him to score 26 points like he did in his two starts without Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, but it’s also unfair to think his eight-point performance against the Kings The last game was a sign of regression.


The story originally appeared on Thunder Wire

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