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Thunder: Previewing OKC's Sunday Night Matchup With The Lakers

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OKLAHOMA CITY -

With two intense wins to start the season in the books, the Thunder will look to improve to 3-0 on Sunday evening when OKC hosts the Los Angeles Lakers at 6:00 p.m.

Here are a few things to look out for in the game:

Thunder will face this year’s No. 2 pick

OKC missed out on a chance last Wednesday to play against the No. 1 pick in this year’s NBA draft due to Ben Simmon’s foot injury, but the Thunder will square off with the next best thing on Sunday when Brandon Ingram comes to town.

The former Duke product is a lengthy wing player who many compare his body frame to Kevin Durant’s, but the 19-year old clearly needs to improve a lot of areas of his game before we start comparing him to a four-time scoring champion.

Ingram currently comes off the bench for LA and is averaging 5.5 points and 1.5 rebounds throughout the first two games. Look for the Lakers to be patient with Ingram’s development as he gets accustomed to the professional style of play.

Lakers have a young nucleus

Along with Ingram, the Lakers have a few more young pieces they’ll build around for the future.

The 2015 No. 2 pick, DeAngelo Russell, came on strong towards the end of last season and has been solid to start this year. Averaging 14.5 points per game, Russell is tied for a team-high in scoring to go with his four assists and three rebounds in over 30 minutes of action per night.

Third-year power forward Julius Randle is another young building block for LA, and the former Kentucky Wildcat is averaging 12.5 points and 5.5 rebounds through two games. Randle’s a gritty player in the post, and plays similarly to Memphis’ forward Zach Randolph.

Jordan Clarkson wasn’t a highly touted draft pick back in 2014, but the former second rounder has had a solid career so far with Los Angeles, and is averaging 14.5 points per game while providing the Lakers with a pretty good guard tandem next to Russell.

Will Kanter bounce back?

Reserve big man Enes Kanter had a strong first outing in the Thunder’s 103-97 win over the Sixers on Wednesday, scoring 17 points and grabbing 12 rebounds while coming up with a clutch putback late in the win.

While Kanter was dominant in game one, game two didn’t go as smooth for the Turkish center. Kanter struggled throughout his 12 minutes on the court, and head coach Billy Donovan opted to bench Kanter for Joffrey Lauvergne in the third quarter after he failed to find his touch on offense.

Kanter will likely be a big part of the OKC offense moving forward, but it’s clear he may be on a shorter leash than some players seeing he struggles on the defensive end of the court. Despite a rough night on Friday, Look for Kanter to have a big bounce-back game against the Lakers. 

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