The Oklahoma City Thunder came into tonight’s game with only eight active players, a culture shock yet again for a team that likes to run a ten-man rotation when the entire squad was healthy. The Thunder were without Theo Maledon (Health and Safety), Mike Muscala (Concussion), George Hill (Thumb), and Isaiah Roby (Foot).
The OKC Thunder got off to a great start in this game, growing an 11 point lead behind Darius Bazley’s big first quarter. The second-year forward poured in 12 points in the first quarter, going on to score 17 in the first half, and finished the first half with 10 rebounds.
This was the perfect game for Darius Bazley who had his most aggressive game offensively so far this season. Bazley picked his spots well and helped carry the short-handed Thunder. He finished the night with 21 points, 15 rebounds, and 3 assists.
After the Thunder took a four-point lead into the Locker room, the Lakers jumped out in front to start the third frame behind an 8-0 run sparked by former-Thunder guard Dennis Schroder. The Thunder would counter with a run of their own and re-gain the league on a Justin Jackson triple. The Thunder would go on to finish out the third frame on a 16-2 run to take an eight-point lead into the final quarter.
In the fourth quarter, the Thunder battled the entire third quarter and eventually saw their lead start to slip away around the four-minute mark until Lu Dort made a game-saving block, SGA saved the game by saving the ball from going out of bounds, got the ball back, and drilled a step-back triple to put OKC back up by two with 3:31 left.
Wes Matthews hit a huge three with two minutes left to cut the lead to two allowing a transition layup by LeBron James to tie the contest up with a minute to go. After SGA missed the potential tying jump shot, the Thunder saw their all-star draw a foul with 1 second left from beyond the arc down 3. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander nailed all 3 free throws, an area he has struggled in all season long, and sent this game to overtime.
In overtime, the Thunder offense went flat as the Lakers went on a 7-0 run to start overtime and that was all it took. The Lakers went on to win this game 119-112.
Still, a fantastic effort by the shorthanded Oklahoma City Thunder. Check back to BTB for a deep dive on the biggest storylines from this contest tomorrow afternoon.