The Los Angeles Lakers came up just short in their upset over the Oklahoma City Thunder as they could not overcome the dynamic duo of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. The two stars for the Thunder once again torched the Lakers on the offensive end and there was just nothing the Lakers could do to stop them. Durant and Westbrook had 24 and 36 points, respectively, and the Thunder won 117-113.
Lakers rookie D’Angelo Russell played only seven minutes on the night after injuring his ankle against the Kings on Thursday. Russell had a career game versus the Kings, but the pain was just too much as he tried to give it a go when the Thunder came to Staples Center.
However, head coach Byron Scott was impressed to see Russell fight through the pain on Friday, via Lakers reporter Mike Trudell:
Scott said he was "proud" of Russell (ankle). "I give him a lot of credit for trying." But thought he wasn't moving well enough to play.
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) January 9, 2016
Russell finished with two points and two assists, but Lou Williams carried the load for the Lakers as he dropped 44 points. Even without Russell, the Lakers put up a great fight and it was nice seeing the team competing well against one of the best teams in the league.
The Lakers are now 8-30 on the season and are at the bottom of the Western Conference and the division. However, the team has played well as of late and there are signs of improvement coming from both ends of the court. Perhaps most refreshing is the development of the young players and as the season reaches its midway point, the main priority remains their progress.
Los Angeles will have a few days off before getting back to action on Sunday when they host the Utah Jazz at Staples Center.