Skip to content

Westbrook’s stellar first half helps Thunder bury the Lakers

Dec 8, 2012, 12:44 AM EDT

Russell Westbrook, Darius Morris

The Lakers weren’t expected by anyone to go into Oklahoma City on Friday and take down a Thunder team that was not only playing its best basketball of the young season, but was also riding a six-game winning streak.

But it didn’t have to go down like this.

Russell Westbrook destroyed the Lakers with a 27-point first half, where he drained a career-high five three-pointers while also managing to dish out five assists. Oklahoma City put up 67 points in the game’s first two quarters, running out to a lead that L.A.wouldn’t be able to come back from on the way to a 114-108 victory, the Thunder’s seventh straight.

Westbrook was in full attack mode, and while he did have a vicious dunk or two, his aggressiveness resulted in hot outside shooting of pull-up jumpers from all distances. He’s among the fiercest players in the game when he gets going, and he was rolling unlike any other time we’ve seen from him in the recent past.

As we continue to try to dissect the Lakers struggles, this game was once again proof that it’s all about the defense. No one on L.A.’s roster can contain Westbrook individually, but the team’s schemes and rotations remained a step slow, and allowed easy buckets even when Westbrook cooled off considerably in the second half.

Westbrook was just 2-of-10 from the field for six points after the break, but by then, the damage was done. And, unlike Kobe Bryant in Los Angeles, Westbrook has help when the shots stop falling, in the form of the league’s leading scorer over the past few years in Kevin Durant.

Durant had 18 second half points to keep the party going for the Thunder, who also got sound performances from Serge Ibaka and Nick Collison that the Lakers couldn’t find a way to answer.

Bryant finished with 35 points and seven assists, but committed five turnovers and connected on just 11 of his 24 field goal attempts. It was the sixth straight time the Lakers lost when Braynt has scored 30 or more points, and that’s in no way a coincidence — when the offense stagnates, Bryant gets impatient and takes matters into his own hands.

Dwight Howard had 10 rebounds in the first period, five of which were offensive that helped L.A. to eight second chance points that allowed them to hang close, if only for a quarter. But he finished with just eight more the entire game, mainly because there weren’t many rebounds to be had with the Thunder making half of their shots.

If there was a bright spot for the Lakers in this blowout of a contest that showed just how far away the team is from true title contention, it’s the fact that there was no intentional fouling of Howard, and at least for one night, the “Hack-A-Dwight” nonsense was left on the shelf.

That’s really more due to the quality of L.A.’s opponent, however, because a superior team that has no trouble beating the Lakers doesn’t need to resort to such questionable tactics.

The Thunder simply did what was expected on Friday, although Westbrook made sure that the win came with a power and a fury that should stick with the Lakers for quite some time. Meanwhile, L.A. now has 48 more minutes of game film from which to teach, and defensively, the lessons to be learned right now seem limitless.

Latest Posts
  1. Report: Lakers have ‘big-time’ interest in signing DeMarre Carroll, Celtics and Pistons also in pursuit

    May 22, 2015, 2:45 PM EDT

    Los Angeles Lakers v Atlanta Hawks Getty Images

    Would they pay him the $15 million per season one NBA executive estimated the Hawks forward could get in free agency?

  2. Kyrie Irving misses shootaround, questionable for Game 2

    May 22, 2015, 10:25 AM EDT

    Cleveland Cavaliers v Atlanta Hawks - Game One Getty Images

    Is his injury more serious than previously thought?

  3. Kyrie Irving: ‘I just don’t have it right now’

    May 22, 2015, 9:10 AM EDT

    cd0ymzcznguwzdbhnduynddiytjhm2yyzthlmtjjotqwyyznpwu5mtvkywy4odfmzjk4yjfkyjm1m2rhymzizmyzy2m3 AP

    Cavaliers will keep leaning on injured point guard – at least to some degree – anyway

  4. Jerry West took Harrison Barnes under his wing, mentored him like he did Kobe

    May 22, 2015, 8:31 AM EDT

    Houston Rockets v Golden State Warriors - Game Two Getty Images

    Barnes all but begged for the chance for a couple years.

  5. Stephen Curry, James Harden duel to final buzzer. Again. (VIDEO)

    May 22, 2015, 8:00 AM EDT

    James Harden, Stephen Curry James Harden, Stephen Curry

    Stephen Curry and James Harden have been putting on a show for a couple games now.

  6. Disgraced NBA referee Tim Donaghy to appear in CNBC documentary

    May 21, 2015, 11:30 PM EDT

    Image (1) donaghy-thumb-250x140-11779.jpg for post 2008

    Donaghy was sent to prison for betting on NBA games while he was employed as a league official.

  7. Isiah Thomas hasn’t talked to Phil Jackson ‘because of the perception’

    May 21, 2015, 8:30 PM EDT

    Isiah Thomas Isiah Thomas

    Thomas is now running New York’s WNBA team, but many feel it’s just a matter of time before he’s back in some capacity with the Knicks.

Featured video

Small ball lineup propelled Warriors to Game 1 win
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. K. Irving (6330)
  2. K. Love (5415)
  3. P. Beverley (4874)
  4. D. Howard (4452)
  5. S. Curry (4262)
  1. K. Durant (3798)
  2. M. Speights (3725)
  3. K. Bryant (3620)
  4. L. James (3589)
  5. D. Carroll (3329)