The Los Angeles Lakers reached the end of their five-game road trip with a matchup against an Oklahoma City Thunder team that had won the first two head-to-head meetings by an average of 30.5 points.
Lakers head coach Luke Walton lamented his team’s lack of toughness in both losses, particularly after the most recent of which came at Chesapeake Energy Arena. However, Super Bowl Sunday saw a much different result.
In the end the Thunder did finish with a 46-40 edge in rebounding, but the Lakers controlled the glass for much of the game. That coincided with L.A. jumping out to an early lead, though the Thunder eventually jumped ahead.
The Lakers led at halftime, briefly found themselves trailing in the third quarter, and took an 82-79 advantage into the fourth.
They never trailed over the final 12 minutes and stretched their lead to 107-97 on a Julius Randle slam dunk that came on an outlet pass from Brandon Ingram after he blocked Carmel Anthony’s shot attempt.
But as the Lakers have been prone to this season, they began to turn the ball over and missed free throws. That allowed the Thunder to make it a one-possession game when Paul George connected on a 3-pointer.
The Lakers eventually did just enough to squeak out a 108-104 victory that gave them a 3-2 record on the road trip. Brook Lopez led the team with 20 points, which also marked a second consecutive game in which he scored at least 19 points.
Ingram, again handling point guard duties, had 16 points, five rebounds and five assists. Josh Hart also shined in a second straight start, contributing 14 points on 5-for-6 shooting, to go along with 11 rebounds.
Jordan Clarkson, who hit multiple key 3-pointers, led Lakers bench players with 18 points. The team shot 13-of-30 from deep, which was markedly better than the seven makes Oklahoma City had on their 25 attempts behind the arc.
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