Preview: Thunder To Face Lakers For Third Time
LOS ANGELES - Well here we go again, Thunder fans. For those of you that enjoy watching the Thunder spank the opponent on a nightly basis, than be sure to either tune in or set the DVR to see OKC (25-11) take on the lowly Los Angeles Lakers (8-28). The game will take place inside of the glamorous Staples Center in LA, and will be nationally televised on ESPN at 9:30 following the matchup between the Cavaliers and the Timberwolves.
Here are a few things to know about the upcoming battle between the two Western Conference foes:
Back in the middle of December the Thunder had the luxury of facing the Lakers two times in a five-day span, with both matchups ending in lopsided victories for OKC. Durant destroyed a Kobe-less Lakers by putting up 22 points and grabbing eight rebounds as the Thunder rolled to a 118-78 victory in the first game. The next week, Russell Westbrook was responsible for most of the damage as OKC beat LA to the tune of 120-85.
Oh, and let’s not forget that Durant, Westbrook or Serge Ibaka were able to rest in each of those fourth quarters because the game was already out of hand at that point.
Will the Lakers be able to put up a better fight this time around? Not likely, but I guess we’ll see soon enough.
Will Kobe Play?
The “Black Mamba” opted not to play the first time these two teams met, and only played 28 minutes while leading the Lakers in scoring with 19 points in the loss. Since it’s Bryant’s victory-lap season and the Lakers are a lottery-bound mess, it’s no surprise he’s elected to sit out eight games this year already.
However, as of early Friday morning, reports indicate that the Mamba will suit up.
Slow down Clarkson and Williams
It’s not the most encouraging thing for a team to hang their hat on, but both Jordan Clarkson and Louis Williams have been the Lakers most efficient contributors out of players that play 17 minutes or more a game.
Clarkson is averaging 15 points per game while Williams is adding 14 points of his own. Clarkson has emerged as a building block for the Lakers’ future, while Williams is an important scoring threat on the wing for LA. It shouldn’t be a problem, but in order for the Thunder to assure a win against the Lakers, they most slow down both Clarkson and Williams.