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Russell Westbrook scores 37, leads Thunder to easy win over Lakers

Mar 6, 2013, 1:37 AM EDT

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Westbrook looks on during a timeout against the Los Angeles Lakers in the second half of their NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City Reuters

The last time the Thunder played the Lakers, they turned the ball over just nine times, and Russell Westbrook struggled offensively, finishing with just 17 points on 6-22 shooting.

Oklahoma City dropped that one on Jan. 27 in Los Angeles, so Tuesday night at home, the team corrected itself in those two areas — in a big way — in order to come away with an easy 122-105 victory over a Lakers team that, in its current condition, really doesn’t have many answers for what the Thunder are able to do offensively.

Westbrook was magnificent, pouring in 37 points on 15-29 shooting, to go along with 10 rebounds and five assists. Kevin Durant wasn’t dominant, but still managed 26 points on 9-22 shooting, with nine rebounds, five assists, three steals, and three blocked shots.

As a team, the Thunder shot better than 47 percent from the field, but it was really just a 3-12 night from Kevin Martin off the bench, and an 0-5 night from Kendrick Perkins (who isn’t counted on to score) that dragged the team’s shooting number down. The key numbers were points in the paint (where the Thunder bested the Lakers by 30), fast break points (where the Thunder had 16 more), and turnovers, where the Thunder were historically excellent.

Oklahoma City turned the ball over just twice against the Lakers in this one, tying the record for the lowest in the league over the last 27 years. According to the rock solid Basketball-Reference.com, only the Bucks in 2006 and the Cavaliers in 2009 matched the two-turnover feat that the Thunder were able to replicate on Tuesday.

The thing about the Thunder and their low number of turnovers, however — at least when playing the Lakers — is that it seems to be relatively consistent. Nine turnovers in the January loss is still a very low number, so maybe, just maybe, OKC isn’t the best matchup for the Lakers defensively.

OK, that’s obviously an understatement.

The athleticism showcased by Durant and Westbrook is essentially the antithesis of this Lakers team as currently constructed. As a result, there is no scheme that L.A. can put together with its current personnel that will stop what the Thunder are trying to do offensively. OKC had put up a ridiculous 71 points by halftime, and the Lakers struggled to climb back into it the rest of the way.

The Lakers were able to rally a bit in the fourth quarter, and cut a 13-point lead down to six with 5:36 remaining, and had multiple shots to get even closer. Metta World Peace missed a three and a layup on a fast break attempt, and in between Kobe Bryant missed a 15-foot jumper and Steve Nash missed a three of his own.

Any of those shots would have brought the Lakers to within a legitimate striking distance, but all of the misses eventually gave way to a three-pointer from Serge Ibaka that ignited an 11-0 Thunder run that closed the game out, and L.A. didn’t score the rest of the way.

Bryant finished with 30 points, but left the game in the first quarter due to an “ulnar nerve contusion” to his right arm. That’s essentially a funny bone injury, and while he was able to play through it, Bryant was shooting left-handed whenever he could, which isn’t exactly a sign of confidence that everything is fine.

World Peace rolled an ankle and had an X-ray on it after the game, but seemed to be confident that he’d play in New Orleans on Wednesday. Dwight Howard grabbed 16 rebounds, but finished with just six points on 1-7 shooting. He didn’t get a shot attempt in 15 second half minutes, and fouled out with 2:24 remaining.

The loss ultimately doesn’t do anything to the Lakers’ playoff hopes; as long as L.A. continues to beat the teams it’s supposed to, the chances are good it can sneak into the postseason. What this game does remind us is how far the Lakers are from their ultimate goal of winning a championship, and how far-fetched it is for anyone to believe that should the Lakers claw their way into the playoffs, that they’d somehow actually have a fighting chance.

  1. dko83 - Mar 6, 2013 at 2:31 AM

    Oooooooof. There’s your measuring stick.

    • loungefly74 - Mar 6, 2013 at 9:05 AM

      yeah. gotcha. fair enough.

      oh hey, good luck to the Sonics….errr…i mean the Thunder. yeah…i always forget that, silly me. i mean, who can forget when a franchise folds up and splits town, right? anyway, good luck to the Westbrook, Durant, etc…on adding more rings to their…errr…oh, that’s right…they have not won anything yet. gosh, it seems like they been really good now for like 4 years…hmmm…well, we will see.

      • drewzducks - Mar 6, 2013 at 9:34 AM

        Um you do realize that the Lakers started in Minneapolis before they folded up and split town, right?

      • loungefly74 - Mar 6, 2013 at 10:12 AM

        duh, yeah…like in 1961…50 years ago…dude. im talking about a franchise that just did it recently. big difference. there was no west coast team back then. the league was completely different. you are talking apples and oranges. the sonics were supposedly a great NBA town. my obvious sarcastic comment was referring to the fact that the thunder have not won anything yet…

      • bigmeechy74 - Mar 6, 2013 at 11:01 AM

        Yeah I can’t believe they haven’t won anything yet. Those grizzled old veterans…. Durant and Westbrook are pushin 40 right?

      • loungefly74 - Mar 6, 2013 at 11:04 AM

        well…i’m still waiting. i have been hearing for 3-4 years now how they should be champs. also…never underestimate how fast a “window” can close. example: da Bulls…

      • eventhorizon04 - Mar 6, 2013 at 2:17 PM

        “well…i’m still waiting. i have been hearing for 3-4 years now how they should be champs. also…never underestimate how fast a “window” can close. example: da Bulls…”

        4 years ago, the OKC Thunder won 23 games. Nobody was calling them a contender with a second-year Kevin Durant.
        The year after, they were an 8th seed eliminated in the first round.

        And a better example of a title window closing quickly is the LA Lakers.

      • roeski - Mar 6, 2013 at 2:18 PM

        Thoughtful comments. Obviously this guy’s name is quite appropriate.

      • loungefly74 - Mar 6, 2013 at 2:24 PM

        fine…2-3 years. it just seems like forever. sheesh…lol.

        @roeski, …its from an STP song. thats it. not implying anything.

      • dko83 - Mar 6, 2013 at 3:19 PM

        He sounds mad.

  2. fanz928 - Mar 6, 2013 at 2:37 AM

    There were a lot of bad calls

    • cosanostra71 - Mar 6, 2013 at 12:16 PM

      I didn’t think the officiating was great but at the end of the day the Lakers did not score for the last 6 minutes of the game, and you can’t win games that way. They opened up cold and finished cold. If they had been able to make a few shots in the first and last 5 minutes this game could have been closer.

  3. progress2011 - Mar 6, 2013 at 4:38 AM

    The Oscar goes to…..Drum roll please………kobe / Fake MJ/ Harlem Globetrotter

    Another “Phantom Injury” !!!! Nobody touched dude but his elbow hurt….ahahahah

    Ironically, it only hurt when Westbrook was BLOWIN by him or he was turning the ball over.

    It immediately got well when it was time for him to shoot a jumper from half-court !

    Dude is pure Hollywood !!!! ahahahahaha

    • cramsinned - Mar 6, 2013 at 6:30 AM

      I was thinking the same thing, seriously. Why does it only hurts when someone steals the ball from him.

      • fanofevilempire - Mar 6, 2013 at 6:42 AM

        both of you think alike, not very impressive.

      • cosanostra71 - Mar 6, 2013 at 12:14 PM

        He’s been playing with an elbow injury for a few games. That said, he appeared to aggravate it last night off the ball when he over-extended it trying to create space against a defender, not when “someone stole the ball from him”.

    • fanofevilempire - Mar 6, 2013 at 6:40 AM

      Kobe said he never heard of you but he will slap you like Ibaka, it is a good idea.

  4. 24thesho - Mar 6, 2013 at 6:42 AM

    C’mon, y’all! Kobe played with a broken finger for almost a whole season, not to mention other injuries at certain points. D. Howard, on the other hand, is a really, really overrated player….., I am sorry to say. Steve Nash is good but not enough at this stage of his career. although, I do think he needs the ball more. Howard has to grow up; it looks as if he’s sulking half the time, unlike when he was in Orlando, but you know Nelson never feed him the ball that much or as much you would think.

    • cosanostra71 - Mar 6, 2013 at 12:17 PM

      Steve Nash looked pretty good playing off the ball last night.

  5. bucrightoff - Mar 6, 2013 at 7:29 AM

    If you’re a Laker fan, wouldn’t you rather avoid an embarassing 4 game sweep? Missing the playoffs would be a mercy killing to their season.

  6. cowpiesnotcowboys - Mar 6, 2013 at 7:37 AM

    LAL = LOL.

  7. loungefly74 - Mar 6, 2013 at 8:21 AM

    kobe played great…that stretch where he scored 10 straight was insane.

    the Lakers couldnt stop the Thunder offense…plain n simple. also…2 turnovers? thats unheard of…im okay with this loss. its all about getting that 8th spot right now.

    • mogogo1 - Mar 6, 2013 at 10:42 AM

      So they can be swept out in the first round? Is that appreciably better than missing the playoffs entirely for this team, constructed with no other purpose than winning a title?

      • loungefly74 - Mar 6, 2013 at 10:53 AM

        you still play the game…1st seed…8th seed…whatever. and upset do happen. not saying it will…but you never know. sorry i dont share your “quitter” attitude.

      • mogogo1 - Mar 6, 2013 at 12:22 PM

        Well, unless you’re actually on the Lakers, your attitude has zero impact on anything, so whether it’s optimism or quitter, no difference. Bottom line is they built a team to win a title and they’ve played so poorly that even if they make the playoffs every single playoff series would need to be an upset. This is a hugely disappointing season for them and sneaking into the playoffs will make it no less so.

    • cosanostra71 - Mar 6, 2013 at 12:22 PM

      I don’t think Kobe played great down the stretch. The ill advised 30 footer was a dagger. He kept the team in the game in the middle there but he shoulders as much blame for some bad shots at the end of the game. Just like Dwight deserves some blame for being pretty much invisible.

      • loungefly74 - Mar 6, 2013 at 12:52 PM

        i hear ya. he did take some ill-advised shots (as usual) but man…when he nails them, its awesome. i was only able to watch the 2nd and 3rd quarter…

      • cosanostra71 - Mar 6, 2013 at 12:53 PM

        Yean but if you give him credit when they go in you likewise have to give him some blame when they don’t. I don’t think Kobe is the reason they lost, but his play down the stretch didn’t help. At the end of the day the Lakers just aren’t as good as the Thunder right now and that’s why they lost.

  8. omniusprime - Mar 6, 2013 at 8:59 AM

    The loss to OKC last night shows just how pathetic Dumbtoni is as a coach and how incompetent Trash Nash and Steve Flake are at point guard. Dumbtoni didn’t have the team prepared to begin the game and they fell behind quickly and looked flustered. Dumbtoni didn’t have the team ready to finish the game either as they looked flustered at the end, losing a game they could have won had they bore down on finishing strong.

    The game showed how much Pau Gasol means to the team. Howard had no help inside, no wonder he fouled out as Trash Nash and Steve Flake flaked out on playing any defense. How many times did we see Trash Nash stop around the foul line and not challenge any Thunder players heading for the rim? Too many!

    Thanks Dr. Buss, Rest in Peace!!! Fire Dumbtoni!!! Trade Trash Nash and Steve Flake!!!

    • jolink653 - Mar 6, 2013 at 10:49 AM

      But the coach’s name is D’Antoni…

      Oh wait, I see what you did there…so clever

      Maybe the loss shows how much better the Thunder are than the Lakers? Seeing as how the Thunder are the best team in the West right now, I don’t necessarily think this falls entirely on D’Antoni, Nash or whoever…The Lakers just aren’t a good team right now and cannot compete with the speed and youth of OKC

  9. bucrightoff - Mar 6, 2013 at 9:19 AM

    Why would Laker fans even want to make the playoffs? Seriously what’s the difference between finishing 9th or finishing 8th and getting swept out in the first round? They seem about the same, but 8th gets you humiliated nationally.

    • loungefly74 - Mar 6, 2013 at 10:14 AM

      horrible attitude to have. upsets happen. but i can understand that approach from you…probably a Magic fan. makes sense.

      oh hey…where is magicbucs?

      • bucrightoff - Mar 6, 2013 at 10:19 AM

        Yeah, cause a better attitude to have is “Well I had my vacation days booked off for the paarde last August, and now I’m hoping we can get into the playoffs, cause that’ll save this historically disasterous season”. Even if they sneak in, they still have to win the NBA title to save this season. There is no other way. So congrats, the team you thought would go 66-16 and waltz to a ring is 31-32 with 19 games left.

      • loungefly74 - Mar 6, 2013 at 10:28 AM

        no title is ever guaranteed…i dont care what anyone says. every year, there are about 6 teams with legit shots to win it.

        were expectations high? sure! heck, Vegas had great odds of them winning. and Vegas is not in the business of losing money, right?

        this has been a disastrous season for the Lakers…no doubt about that. but making the playoffs softens the blow incredibly. they have only missed the playoffs twice since 1980, i believe…don’t know if any other team can say that.

        sorry, man. never had a “tank the season” philosophy.

      • bucrightoff - Mar 6, 2013 at 10:42 AM

        No it doesn’t soften the blow. You all handed yourselves a title 8 months ago. Unless you win it, this season was a waste. Unless any team wins it all its a waste.You think Heat fans were psyched to get to the Finals in lose in 2011 when lots of people handed them a title too? Ricky Bobby says it but if you don’t win you’re last, and its true.

        The only reason Laker fans have to make the playoffs is so they can say they didn’t give up a lottery pick for Steve Nash, something literally nobody could have predicted when that trade happened.

      • loungefly74 - Mar 6, 2013 at 10:51 AM

        didn’t Ricky Bobby realize at the end of the movie that the “you don’t win you’re last” was B.S.????pretty sure he was upset he based his life around a half-arsed quote his dead beat dad said to him.

        who handed us the title? no one. you are going by pre-season hype…which is, to quote Spock, “illogical.”

        yeah…it does soften the disastrous season. big difference. i’m in this for the long haul as a Laker fan. i care about the history of my favorite team…yes, this season sucks…maybe the worst ever. expectations were super high…BUT…ya never know…thats why we play the game.

        well…sure, the lottery pick thing is something to think about…but to be honest, i don’t…

    • cosanostra71 - Mar 6, 2013 at 12:25 PM

      Everything the Lakers do is magnified nationally. You don’t think the Lakers missing the playoffs would be a “national humiliation”?

      The Lakers can still make the playoffs, and say what you want, but it’s a whole new ballgame in the playoffs. They probably won’t make a run at the whole thing, but that doesn’t mean they can’t win a series. Crazier things have happened.

      • loungefly74 - Mar 6, 2013 at 2:33 PM

        thank you, cosanostra71. my goodness, the fools/haters are out in full force today. i’m just not getting the attitude of ” oh hey…we shouldn’t even try for the playoffs…etc..” who the heck thinks like that? that is pathetic. i feel like im on “crazy pills” with these inane comments!

  10. parlett316 - Mar 6, 2013 at 9:28 AM

    Over at the Worldwide Leader, they have an article touting the heart of LA and how this game shows they are a great team.

    If getting blown out is the measuring stick of a great team, well Charlotte you’re very close to be a contender.

    • cosanostra71 - Mar 6, 2013 at 12:32 PM

      “Over at the Worldwide Leader”

      I found your problem- you’re reading ESPN’s garbage.

  11. patfic15 - Mar 6, 2013 at 9:37 AM

    Good point. Why get to the playoffs only to be swept by the Thunder or Spurs?

  12. gpatrick15 - Mar 6, 2013 at 9:45 AM

    Do the Lakers have a first round pick this year? If so, wouldn’t it be best to take a chance in the lottery vs assuredly getting blown out by OKC or San Antonio in the first round of the playoffs? The Lakers haven’t had a contributing 1st round pick since Andruw Bynum. Mediocrity was bound to catch up with them eventually, no matter how much ‘talent’ they brought in from the outside. One thing the successful small market teams have a tendency for pulling off is securing home grown talent. I know, the Lakers have been very successful over the past decade, but at times like this, where they’re in the lottery anyway, may as well play the odds. Nothing good will come from them moving up to #8 in the standings.

    • gpatrick15 - Mar 6, 2013 at 9:48 AM

      Of course, most of this is irrelevant since they gave up this years pick to Phoenix, IIRC.

    • Kurt Helin - Mar 9, 2013 at 11:53 AM

      no, they traded the pick to get Steve Nash (it’s more complicated than that, but the answer is still no).

  13. klownboy - Mar 6, 2013 at 10:43 AM

    I still cannot believe Serge Ibaka did not get suspended for punching Blake Griffin in the man-zone. Meanwhile, Griffin flopped in disgust…

    http://wp.me/1gCK6

  14. aboogy123456 - Mar 6, 2013 at 11:47 AM

    I knew all the haters were waiting for the lakers to lose a game to trash them. For the people that are saying this game proves they will get swept out of the first round just don’t know basketball. Lakers still are improving as a team, dwight is getting a little healthier and they are getting a freaking all star back in the lineup in pau gasol. He may only play 20 minutes a night but that will make a huge difference for their bench. You guys act like this wasn’t a 5 point game in the fourth quarter.

    If lakers make the playoffs the first round will be over a month from now, and they will still have kobe bryant and dwight howard. They already proved they can beat oklahoma city on a good day so it’s not inconceivable that they can win a series.

    • bucrightoff - Mar 6, 2013 at 12:17 PM

      Last night Kevin Durant was average(for him), the Lakers shot 40 FTs on the road (16 more than OKC), and were never within a single score after the first minute. If that’s what you guys call improving, there’s a reason you’re going to miss the playoffs. Durant will be better next time, the FT disparity won’t be there, and the Lakers will be another day older on an already old, aging team.

    • loungefly74 - Mar 6, 2013 at 2:37 PM

      yeah…and OKC had 2 turnovers…that is unreal. i share your positive outlook and hope for the best for our Lakers. but fools like @mogogo1 and @bucrightoff think its pointless to root for your team. sheesh. yeah, the haters are having their day. let the arseholes have their fun…we will have ours.

    • bucrightoff - Mar 6, 2013 at 3:33 PM

      I believe this is the point where you bring up the 16 rings as if that somehow matters right now

  15. hannsta - Mar 6, 2013 at 11:48 AM

    lol @ 27 FT in the first half.

  16. kb2408 - Mar 6, 2013 at 1:13 PM

    The LAKERS don’t match up well with Okc, especially without Pau. However, enjoy it now, Thunder fans, next year will be very different. Funny how they look like world beaters against my LAKERS but look like scared little boys against Miami. Okc will never win a title as presently constructed.

  17. dirtydavis - Mar 6, 2013 at 1:14 PM

    Man, I know my basketball. I knew Westbrook was going torch the lakers and D. Howard was going to get into foul trouble. Tisk tisk.

  18. manchestermiracle - Mar 6, 2013 at 2:40 PM

    Too bad the Thunder and their fans can’t get past just beating the Lakers. If that team could muster half the enthusiasm and hate they have for the Lakers and channel it into actually winning something I just might change my opinion of them.

    Funny how all the Lakers-haters crow when the Thunder just “whipped, crushed, hammered” a .500 team. Whooeee, what ball-busters! Literally, figuratively and sarcastically. Where were all you Thunder jock holders when the Lakers owned that franchise for longer than you’ve been alive?

    What’s truly pathetic is that those who can’t stand the Lakers 1) don’t support any team (they just hate the Lakers) and/or 2) have been fans of teams that don’t win on a regular basis and/or 3) fans of teams the Lakers have beaten on for years. Enjoy this down cycle while you can, the Lakers will be back and then y’all will have to go back to kicking the dog and sulking in mommy’s basement.

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