Video Credit: NBA

FSM Essential Recap: Lakers vs Thunder – Game 55

Franchise Sports Media

Los Angeles Lakers (25-30) | Oklahoma City Thunder (26-28)


LeBron James passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to become the NBA’s all-time leading scorer. However, the Lake Show couldn’t secure the win as they lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder 133-130


Lakers vs Thunder
Photo Credit: Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP

Anthony Davis (right foot stress injury), LeBron James (left ankle soreness), and Austin Reaves (left hamstring strain) were available. James went vintage mode for this one, as he brought out his signature headband from his Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers days.

The Lakers’ starters against Oklahoma City were Dennis Schroder, Patrick Beverley, Rui Hachimura, King James, and Davis.

Bron got right to work and tried to score the first points of the game but was stifled on back-to-back plays. While it was AD and Beverley, who scored first, with the latter splashing home a three-pointer. The Thunder seemed adamant about making the King work for a bucket early on, as they held James scoreless on his first two attempts and forced him to cough up a turnover.

Despite the attention being placed on his scoring ability, James wasn’t going to get selfish, as he passed it off to Davis for a transition layup. But of course, James wouldn’t be denied, sizing up his defender and knocking down a three. The arena erupted after James’ first bucket of the night as he put LA up 14-13 with 6:38 left in the first quarter.

James had his opportunity for a highlight play, but Hachimura didn’t see him for a potential alley-oop. The king made up for it with an easy layup, but he was nicked in the face by Josh Giddey on the way up. Bron immediately hit the floor and seemed to be in pain. Of course, there was no foul called. The king spent some time recuperating but was good to go after a while.

Somehow, the Lake Show was missing James on potential highlight plays. Troy Brown didn’t pass to the king in transition and instead passed it off to Russell Westbrook, who targeted Bron but airmailed the pass out of bounds. However, Westbrook did make up for it with a three-pointer.

James took his first rest at the four-minute mark of the first quarter, with eight points on 3-6 FGs. He was 28 points shy of passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar at this point. All the while, the Thunder were 5-8 from three, as they hung right there with the Lakers, who were 4-7 after Westbrook and Lonnie Walker IV hit back-to-back triples. LA still led 25-23.

Mike Muscala and Westbrook traded threes, but the latter once again threw an errant pass out of bounds. At the end of the first quarter, the Lake Show fell behind by 36-34. James scored eight points and was 28 points away, but LA was still down because the Thunder couldn’t seem to miss from beyond the arc, as they shot 63.6% (7-11).

King James continued to cook in the second quarter as he cashed in on consecutive and-1 opportunities. The Thunder still wasn’t going to let Bron do what he pleased, as every time he posted up, the help defender would always be in position. However, James took advantage of some softer defense from beyond the arc, and he knocked down a three.

The Thunder didn’t have a solid defense at the rim, and James repeatedly got inside and forced them to foul. With 20 total points, he only needed 16 more for the scoring record. The king needed some rest and headed to the bench. However, Oklahoma City still couldn’t miss from three, as they were 12-18 (66.7%) from beyond the arc, using their five-out play style to their advantage. They led 64-55 despite LA also shooting 50% (7-14) from three.


At halftime, the score read Thunder 76, Lakers 66. King James was 16 points away from the record. However, the Lakers found themselves down by double-digits, as Oklahoma City shot 59.1% overall and 63.2% from three (12-19).


Photo Credit: Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times

Entering the second half, the Lakers’ Beverley fell asleep on defense and allowed a backdoor cut, which led to another bucket for the Thunder. King James got back to work and knocked down back-to-back triples. He took a large step forward and was only eight points away.

However, the Thunder’s young squad remained unfazed by the monumental moment before them, as they led 90-80 with 6:23 left in the third quarter. James was on pace to break the record, but Oklahoma City made sure to leave its mark. It was more than likely that the Lake Show felt the pressure more than their opponent. AD was an afterthought, as he only had nine points, along with two turnovers and three fouls.

With 2:14 left in the third quarter, James reentered the game with his mind on breaking the scoring record with just six points left to go. It almost seemed scripted though. As soon as he settled to check in, the Lake Show regained the ball. Immediately, James scored a bucket inside, leaving just four measly points to go.

AD hustled to keep a loose ball alive, and he cleared the Lakers’ bench as he fell out of bounds. Meanwhile, the Lake Show was on the break, and Walker found James sprinting to the basket for another score.

This was inevitable. King James went straight to his bread and butter, as he posted up at the charity stripe and sank a fadeaway jumper to pass Abdul-Jabbar on the NBA’s all-time scoring list with 38,388 points. It took 39 years, but the scoring record finally folded. James ended his speech with an F-bomb which was the most real thing he could’ve done at that moment. 

At the end of the third quarter, the Lake Show trailed 104-99. Now that the King had broken the record, they needed to turn their attention to winning the game.

Heading into the fourth quarter, James started it on the bench. In the meantime, the Lakers’ bench unit got the job done, as they shot out to a 7-2 run, which included a three from Westbrook, his fourth triple of the game. However, the Thunder countered with a 12-1 run to regain control.

Hachi finally stopped the bleeding with a spot-up three-pointer, but Aaron Wiggins responded with an easy layup inside. The Lake Show was once again allergic to playing defense. Muscala also outhustled Davis on a loose ball, and that led to another three, this time by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

King James exited the game himself after apparently dealing with a foot injury, but it may have just been that he felt the game was out of reach. He wasn’t wrong, as the Lake Show simply got outplayed all game and only decided to ramp it up towards the end. The final score was Thunder 133, Lakers 130.


Key Takeaways


Lakers vs Thunder
Photo Credit: Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAR/Getty Images

King James totaled 38 points (13-20 FGs, 4-6 3FGs), passing Abdul-Jabbar to become the NBA’s all-time leading scorer. He also had seven rebounds and three steals. AD was overshadowed in this one, as he only had 13 points (6-9 FGs), eight rebounds, and two steals. 

However, it should be noted that Davis was hardly a part of the game plan, and the blame should fall upon Darvin Ham. In addition, Westbrook had himself a night with 27 points (10-19 FGs, 4-7 3FGs), four rebounds, eight assists, and two steals. However, he did have six turnovers as well. 

Gilgeous-Alexander must’ve forgotten the script, as he finished with 30 points, eight assists, and two steals. Giddey had 20 points, five rebounds, and six assists. Jalen Williams had 25 points, seven rebounds, and six steals. Jaylin Williams had 14 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists. Isaiah Joe and Muscala combined for 31 points off the bench. 

Abdul-Jabbar postgame told the TNT crew, “LeBron’s career is someone who planned to dominate this game. That’s gone for almost 20 years now.”

King James postgame told Shaquille O’Neal, “I’m gonna take myself against anybody that’s ever played this game. I always feel like I’m the best to ever play this game.”


The Lakers face the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday, Feb. 9th, at 7:00 p.m. PT at the Arena. The game will be available on TNT and Spectrum SportsNet.

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– Jake Ideguchi-Furukawa – Franchise Sports Media

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