Lakers Unable to Impress, Fall to Derek Fisher and Thunder Reviewed by Momizat on . The Oklahoma City Thunder traveled to Staples Center on Thursday night for one of the Lakers' most emotional games of the season, as five-time NBA champion Dere The Oklahoma City Thunder traveled to Staples Center on Thursday night for one of the Lakers' most emotional games of the season, as five-time NBA champion Dere Rating:
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Lakers Unable to Impress, Fall to Derek Fisher and Thunder

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The Oklahoma City Thunder traveled to Staples Center on Thursday night for one of the Lakers’ most emotional games of the season, as five-time NBA champion Derek Fisher returned for the first time since he was shipped away as the trade deadline came to a close.

The last time these two teams met up earlier in the season, the Thunder were able to close out the game with a victory, having the upper hand over the less-than-40-percent-shooting Lakers. It is clear that the Lakers have been weak and quite unappealing to watch when they’re on the road, which is a completely different scenario from when they’re playing in the Staples Center, proven by their 20-4 home record.

The Lakers are a fresher team now with the addition of Sessions at starting point guard, and they have shown this by winning three of their last four, pulling up to third place in the Western Conference standings. Mike Brown is establishing himself as a more aggressive coach, as well, having no regrets benching big name players, no matter what time it is or how much is left in a game.

First Quarter

The Lakers started off the game with a dunk by Andrew Bynum fed in from Pau Gasol, which Kobe Bryant followed up with the next play down the court with a three. Thabo Sefolosha then took control for the Thunder, draining a three and immediately forcing a L.A. turnover to put up another basket. Kobe seemed to have his offensive rhythm going early, making both open and contested shots while also having Bynum playing large in the paint. Kevin Durant missed his first eight shot opportunities, giving Sessions plenty of chances to quickly bring the ball back down the court and dish it out, as he had four assists in the first five minutes.

Oklahoma City continued to struggle in the closing minutes of the quarter, giving up turnovers and letting the Lakers get out on an 11-0 run. Bynum and Gasol destroyed the Thunder defense in the paint, drawing fouls and cleaning up any shot from the outside.

Derek Fisher entered the game for the first time with two minutes remaining in the quarter, and was greeted with a loud reception from everyone within Staples Center. Matt Barnes kept the crowd on their feet with a quick layup on the other end of the floor, and then a rebound on the other end. Josh McRoberts continued to be impressive, taking advantage of the lack of defense from the Thunder on the weak side of the basket to run in for a big dunk. Kevin Durant hit his first bucket of the game with a minute remaining, but the Lakers continued to dominate the quarter. They closed out the first 12 minutes on a 22-7 run, ending the quarter up 30-18.

Second Quarter

The Lakers opened up the second quarter looking to keep their players who were playing well on the court, with both Gasol and McRoberts on the floor at the same time alongside Barnes, Blake and Metta World Peace. Steve Blake was set up against Derek Fisher, which would evidently be a show many L.A. fans were excited to see. The Lakers continued to play a majority of their offense inside of the paint, and the Thunder looked to answer to that by hitting perimeter shots on the opposite end of the floor. Derek Fisher began to spark Oklahoma City’s offense, hitting three field goals off of the bench, and at one point drawing a foul to get himself to the line for a total of seven points.

Fisher’s spark allowed them to get a foot up over the Lakers, who began slacking offensively and not taking advantage of their opportunities, allowing the Thunder to cut the lead to five. Andrew Bynum immediately made a positive impact as soon as he re-entered the game, getting his first block of the game and helping the Lakers retake an eight point lead. Although Kevin Durant at one point was 0-8, he was able to finally start hitting some baskets, mainly from driving into the paint and executing impressive layups. Kobe Bryant continued to be impressive with his shot selection, and as soon as Ramon Sessions came back onto the floor the Lakers took the game over once again.

The combination of Sessions or Bryant passing to Gasol who thus found Bynum down low was something the Lakers continued to drift to, as the Thunder repeatedly struggled finding an answer to shutting the strong center down. The Thunder were still able to make their final four shots of the quarter, however, including a buzzer beater by Ibaka to cut the Lakers lead to five. The Lakers headed into the locker room on top at halftime with a 49-44 lead.

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Third Quarter

Oklahoma City came out in the second half with something to prove, cutting the Lakers lead to just three within the first 90 seconds. The Lakers began turning the ball over and committing fouls early. L.A. were also unable to hit a basket within the first four minutes of play,  giving Russell Westbrook the opportunity to gain the lead for the Thunder for the first time since the first quarter. The blows kept coming for the Lakers, as Kevin Durant drained a three to complete an 11-0 run while the Lakers had missed their first seven opportunities of the quarter.

As the Thunder gained their strongest lead of the game, the Lakers were needing to start finding their big men in the paint again to retake control, which began with a pass to Andrew Bynum on the inside to hit their first field goal of the half. Kobe Bryant made his presence in the half as well with a steal, to which he drew a hard foul from Kevin Durant to take himself to the line to cut the lead to six. Metta World Peace hit his first field goal of the night with a three after missing seven shots, but Westbrook continued to lead the Thunder offense, who at one point were on a 21-7 run.

With Gasol on the bench, the Lakers needed something to re-spark their energy if they wanted to tie this series 1-1. Steve Blake stepped up to the plate, getting a steal and back to back baskets to cut the trailing margin by five. Kendrick Perkins shined in the third, putting up 10 of his 12 points in the quarter alone. Bynum hit an impressive bucket with less than 20 seconds remaining in the quarter, but a Westbrook buzzer beating three-pointer kept the Thunder’s lead to a healthy 10 points, as the Lakers entered the final quarter down 78-68.

Fourth Quarter

If the Lakers wanted to end this game with another home victory, they were needing to find a solution to the hot shooting Russell Westbrook, who had 17 of his 26 points in the third quarter. L.A. started off the quarter with Bryant on the bench, giving the second string an opportunity to impress and get the game back within grasp. All of Kevin Durant’s first quarter woes were clearly behind him, he continued to find the baskets to keep the Thunder ahead, which was the complete opposite of World Peace who was shooting 1-11 from the field.

With the Thunder up 14 points with only eight minutes remaining in the game, Kobe Bryant came back into the game earlier than desired to lead a final charge for a win. Bryant hit his first field goal in 21 minutes with a 17-foot two point jumper, and the Lakers forced back to back turnovers on the Thunder until James Harden hit another three to take a 19 point lead. The home side were able to keep fighting back little by little, with even Metta World Peace hitting a second three to cut the Thunder’s lead to 10. Westbrook’s explosiveness continued to be  too much for Kobe Bryant and the rest of the Lakers’ defense as he blasted down the court to gain another layup, but World Peace struck back again with another three, helping put L.A. on a 15-5 run.

As the two minute marker struck by on the clock, Pau Gasol gave up another turnover and the game looked to be over. Russell Westbrook hit another jumper, completing a 34 point game and putting the Thunder up nine with only 50 seconds remaining. Gasol was able to answer with two free throws after drawing a foul off of a missed layup, but Durant put in a floating layup after driving into the paint to give Oklahoma City a 100-91 lead that L.A. could never recover from. Andrew Bynum tipped in a missed Bryant three-pointer, but Westbrook drew in yet another foul to get himself to the line to finish off the game. The Lakers were unable to capture a victory against Derek Fisher and his young Thunder, as they fell to the Thunder 102-93.



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About The Author

Hannah has been a staff writer for Lakers Nation since 2011. To read more of Hannah's work for Lakers Nation click here. Follow Hannah on Twitter @hannahbrad.

Number of Entries : 45
  • Lakerfan4life1970

    this goes to all the mother @#$%s managment like jim buss, jerry buss, gm mitch, what the @#$% all of your dumb asses thinking of hiring mike brown to be a lakers coach. this coach was good for someone that was desperated to have a coach. but not my lakers. we had an assistant coach ( brian shaw) that play for us and was an asst for phil jackson he knew the triangle very good but @#$% like all this dumb asses managers that lakers have sucks. before the season started you had to trade our 6 man of last yr for nothing. troy murphy sucks, steve blake sucks big time, mcroberts is okay but cant shoot sucks, and the only player that you made on the trade deadline was (ramon sessions) but our bench still continue to struggle and our starters playing heavy minutes everytime, we lose or sometime we win by 1 or 2 points to team under .500.

    if the lakers are going to make noise in the playoff, we need 2 more pieces that can help us win it all like 1 power foward, 1 back up center and why i say about this is paul gasol is weak on the defensive and sometimes he get out rebound by a small player just like tonight.

    just look at everybody right now miami pick someone that was let go turiff,
    san antonio got diaw – bobcats
    oklahoma got fisher – lakers
    portland got hickson – sacramento
    miami rony turfias ex laker

    and the lakers nothing why? that is the question that i dont understand about our managers. everybody is getting ready for the post season (playoff)

    • Zxrated

      Everybody cried, we need a young fast PG! Now we got that and its still a problem? Sessions got smoked by Westbrook, we played better team defense with Fisher. Fisher was the catalyst that got them over the hump against us in the second quarter. Fish is always that guy ready for the big moment or moments. HUGE mistake discounting his value on our squad. You can’t replace leadership.

      If you haven’t figured it out yet, our FO is bound by large contracts and trying to find a way to save money more so then winning. Gerald Green, Malcolm Thomas and Courtney Fortson were all in our back yard, ready to be called up on ten day contracts.

      Elijah Millsaph is playing good ball at SG right now. Kobe needs a solid back up to spell him minutes. If the FO was serious about winning they would give those LA Defenders a look like the rest of the league is.

      The one area I’m critical on Brown about is, bailing on developing Ebanks and the rookies. The Spurs are the example we needed to copy. Coach Pop suffered growing pains for the long run developement. Now it’s paying off for them. 

  • http://twitter.com/mlwebco Michael Locke

    KD was contained for the most part, but Westbrook single handedly killed us. His speed, first step, his mid-range unstoppable jump shot was way too much for us. He made Kobe look like he’s 3 years from retirement. But the Lakers struggle in this game came down to a couple things… we miss a player like Lamar Odom (for rebounding purposes) and Kobe is struggling. I don’t care about his shooting %, that has always been an issue. But he’s having a hard time breaking away from defenders. It’s just getting worse. He used to score 35pt with ease, now he’s fighting for a hard 25pt. We’re in trouble. 

  • Al

    Black Snail was on his dismal 30% shooting again, and don’t start with me how great he is. He’s been shooting around 30% for the past two years and shot us out of games time and time again. When you get 25 point on 15 shots that’s an all star. When you get 25 points on 25 shots that’s a game killer. Metta was 3-13 (blocked 3 times on one play) as usual and could not keep up with Durant. When Blake is in the game, and it is in every game, we always lose 14 to 17 points. And he can’t even guard a 100 year old Fisher. G-Lock is better and should take his place. Mike Brown should be fired. My grandmother can make better rotations. Look at the 4th quarter…Thunder has their 1st unit and we have our 3rd string unit on the floor until the 8th minute mark. Instead of a come back, Brown solidified Thunder’s win.

  • Chadderx

    Why did we trade Fish if Jordan Hill is not Playing?  Why does  Goudelock get no minutes?  Murphy and blake are worthless.

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