Video Credit: NBA

New FSM Essential Recap: Lakers vs Thunder- Game 81

Franchise Sports Media

Los Angeles Lakers (32-49) | Oklahoma City Thunder (24-57)


All 5 starters were in double figures last night for the Lakers, leading to the 120-101 win over the Thunder.


Lakers vs Thunder
Photo Credit: Adam Pantozzi/Getty Images

Dwight Howard got the scoring started last night with the first two buckets for Los Angeles in light of a back and forth start for both sides.  Malik Monk would give the Lakers a slight lead, putting up a sequence of five points and a completed and-1.  It led to 3 lead changes before Georgios Kalaitzakis began to identify himself as an early problem.  He would lead a 10-2 run with 7 points capped off by a three, and the Thunder would jump ahead by 7 in the first.

Wenyen Gabriel ended the run with a three before Wayne Ellington brought it back to a one-score game with one of his own.  The Lakers grabbed a 1-point lead thanks to Talen Horton-Tucker getting a couple from the line, but OKC ultimately pulled ahead with one final bucket in the quarter.  It was clean basketball from both sides in the first, with both teams looking to gain some momentum heading into the second.

The Lakers would go on a 16-6 run to start the second quarter, with Malik Monk leading the sequence to establish a lead again.  Stanley Johnson would put the Lakers up 8 with a completed and-1, shutting down the Thunder defense in the first half. LA was over 50 percent from the field in the half, the definition of a G-league team struggling to keep up.

Jaylen Hoard had 17 points by halftime in a showcase game for the Thunder, with the ability to bring it closer last night before halftime.  Hoard scored two late buckets in the quarter to bring the Thunder within 4, despite the Lakers getting solid performances from Howard and THT.  Ideally, this was a game designed for the Laker bench to ball out and dominate, and they had one more half ahead of them to do so.

The last time these two teams matched up, there was more firepower on the court for Los Angeles. In the final days of the regular season, last night felt like a ghost town on the court.  These two teams played a diligent game hoping someone could step up and take the mantle in the second half.


The Thunder brought it back to within four before halftime after trailing all second quarter, leaving the Lakers up 56-52 by the break.


Lakers vs Thunder
Photo Credit: The Canadian Press

After Simpson brought it back to a one-score game to start the third quarter, the Lakers‘ offense began to slow down.  Austin Reaves and Johnson added to the lead with brief buckets, but an 8-0 run led again by Kalaitzakis had it all tied up. Reaves responded by driving for the brutal dunk to score, getting his team back on top impressively and quickly.

Johnson followed with a sequence of 5 points and a three, leading the way for D.J. Augustin,  who has notably been one of the few reliable shooters this season for Los Angeles, to connect with a three of his own.  The Lakers were up by eight by the end of the quarter, looking to seal the deal in the final 12 minutes.

THT and Gabriel would give LA a double-digit lead to start the final quarter, allowing the Lakers to increase it further. Mason Jones made an appearance in laid-back fashion last night, putting up a three that gave the Lakers their largest lead of the night.  Monk and Gabriel would keep the Lakers pulling ahead more and more before Stanley Johnson reached 20 points, in light of a dominant quarter for Los Angeles.

Johnson was the only Laker to reach 20 points last night, but all the starters were in double figures offensively.  The final minutes played out in anticipation of the win, snapping a disgusting eight-game losing streak.  With the Lakers able to get one more in the win department before the end of the season, a small sigh of relief is warranted for Laker Nation.  The game was over, the Lakers were victorious, and they are hopefully ready to close out the season strong in their final game this Sunday.


The Lakers head to Denver to face the Nuggets in the season’s final game. The game can be seen at 6:30 p.m. on Spectrum.  


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– Duncan Dye – Franchise Sports Media

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