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FSM Recap: Lakers vs Thunder – Game 63 – 2023

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Los Angeles Lakers (34-29)  |  Oklahoma City Thunder (42-19)

 

Monday night, it was the Lakers vs Thunder in Los Angeles. In what could be a possible playoff matchup preview, the Lakers blasted the top-seeded Thunder 116-104.

 

Lakers vs Thunder | Franchise Sports Media
Photo Credit: Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/ Getty Images

On Monday night, the Los Angeles Lakers took on the Oklahoma City Thunder in Crypto.com Arena. This was the Lakers’ 62nd game of the season, which means they only have 19 more to go to fight for a playoff spot in the Western Conference standings.

The Lakers missed a huge opportunity after losing to the Denver Nuggets on Saturday. The Phoenix Suns lost to the Houston Rockets on the same day on top of the Golden State Warriors and Dallas Mavericks failing to get victories on Sunday. The Lakers could’ve been three games behind the fifth seed, but unfortunately, that defeat kept them in the 10th seed, behind everyone else.

If the Thunder remain on top of the conference while the Lakers stay in the 10th seed and get past the play-in tournament, there’s a good chance that these two teams would see each other in the first round of the playoffs. Obviously, there are 19 more games to go, and a lot can happen in a span of a month and a half, but if things are trending the way it is, Monday’s game against the Thunder could very much have been a preview of what’s to come in the postseason.

While the Thunder came in as the No. 1 seed in the West, they also were in the second night of a back-to-back. As a result, the Lakers were able to cruise to a 116-104 victory.

 

Lakers vs Thunder First Quarter:

 

Lakers vs Thunder | Franchise Sports Media
Photo Credit: Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP

The Thunder got off to a quick 13-2 start as Chet Holmgren had five early points, and Josh Giddey and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander each had four. The frustration was mounting for the Lakers early, with Austin Reaves picking up a technical foul.

LeBron James threw a lob to Anthony Davis, though, which forced a quick Thunder timeout. Oklahoma City continued its strong start out of the timeout, taking a double-digit lead due to some careless turnovers by L.A.

The Lakers finally heated up from the field, with Rui Hachimura, Reaves, and Taurean Prince all connecting from deep on consecutive possessions. After another triple by Reaves and a layup by Dinwiddie, the game was tied at 25 after the first quarter.

 

Lakers vs Thunder 2nd Quarter:

 

Lakers vs Thunder | Franchise Sports Media
Photo Credit: Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP

After going scoreless in the first quarter, LeBron James started attacking more to begin the second, which set up easy looks for himself and his teammates. Reaves also stayed hot from deep, and suddenly, it was the Lakers with a double-digit lead, completely flipping the script.

The Thunder went completely cold, which allowed the Lakers to extend their lead to 10. As the Lakers started playing out of sync again, the Thunder slowly crept back into it. Lu Dort got hot from there, though, to get the Thunder back in it, but the Lakers still had great energy to close the half on another run led by James and Davis to take a 52-43 halftime lead.

 

Lakers vs Thunder 3rd Quarter:

 

Lakers vs Thunder | Franchise Sports Media
Photo Credit: Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP

The lead quickly went down to two after a couple of bad plays by the Lakers. Russell and Reaves stopped the Thunder surge with two 3-pointers. The Lakers’ momentum was getting stronger, and their lead was up to seven after a dunk by Davis.

It was a good night for the Lakers in terms of responding well to the Thunder creeping back into the game. An 8-0 run helped the Lakers take the lead by double digits. The Lakers’ defense was suffocating the Thunder, and it made them struggle to gain any kind of momentum.

The Lakers went on a 16-4 run to extend their dominating third-quarter lead to 15. An excellent defensive effort had them holding the Thunder to 72 points through three quarters. The Lakers were up 89-72 at the end of the third.

 

Lakers vs Thunder 4th Quarter:

 

Lakers vs Thunder | Franchise Sports Media
Photo Credit: Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP

The Lakers’ hot shooting didn’t stop there, with Prince and Russell hitting from deep early in the fourth to extend the lead to 20.

With the Thunder being on the second night of a back-to-back, they clearly were playing with tired legs. With that being the case, they could not make a run as Russell hit two more triples to put the game out of reach for good.

Austin Reaves ended the night with 16 points, going 4-5 from behind the arc. D’Angelo Russell had ice in his veins and a red-hot run in the fourth, finishing with 26 points.

 

The Los Angeles Lakers host the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday, March 6th, at 7:30 pm PST at Crypto.com Arena. Thank you for visiting FranchiseSportsMedia.com for your Las Vegas Sports news.

 

Franchise Sports Media. Las Vegas sports news about Las Vegas Sports teams.

– Joe Arrigo – Franchise Sports Media

Follow Joe on all social media: @joearrigofsm

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