Lakers Defeat Thunder 116-104, Clinch Season Series

Los Angeles Lakers, Oklahoma City Thunder, NBA News
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

D’Angelo Russell and Anthony Davis led the charge as the Los Angeles Lakers claimed a convincing 116-104 victory against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Russell’s sharpshooting from beyond the arc and Davis’s dominance in the paint underscored a well-rounded team performance during Monday’s NBA action.

LeBron James contributed across the board with 19 points, 11 rebounds, and eight assists, helping the Lakers notch their 10th win in 14 games. Austin Reaves‘s accuracy from three-point range added a critical dimension to the Lakers’ offense, marking their third consecutive win against the Thunder this season.

“They’re so well-coached that you can’t relax,” Russell said. “That team has got everything you need to win and to be efficient at this level. You’ve got to be ready to play against those guys. It’s no fluke (to beat them).”

The game also marked LeBron James’s first appearance since achieving a major career milestone. Yet, the Lakers’ cohesive effort ensured his earlier than usual rest, alongside Davis, thanks to a significant lead in the latter stages of the match. Russell’s trio of three-pointers in a crucial third-quarter rally epitomized the Lakers’ decisive break from the Thunder.

“My teammates find me when I’m hot,” Russell said. “It makes it easier when I can stretch the floor like that. That’s what shooting does. It’s a pleasure.”

NBA NEWS & SCORES: LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers, Oklahoma City Thunder Updates

In a moment of on-court drama, Russell’s chemistry with James shone brightly, with a memorable exchange leading to a standout three-pointer that symbolized the Lakers’ dominance on the night.

“I didn’t know I made the shot,” Russell said. “I just kind of threw it up there. Lucky shot.”

The Thunder, led by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, faced an uphill battle, with their leading scorer halting a remarkable scoring streak and the team struggling with shooting accuracy, particularly in the first half. The physicality and size of the Lakers posed significant challenges, as acknowledged by Thunder coach Mark Daigneault.

“Our start was good offensively, but our overall sharpness just wasn’t there,” Daigneault said. “Defensively, we turned them over a bunch of times, and that kept us in it. But certainly not our fastball tonight. … I just didn’t think we were as sharp offensively as we needed to be. A team like that that’s got size and physicality, that’s a requirement to hit shots against them, but we just didn’t do that enough.”

NBA NEWS & SCORES: LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers, Oklahoma City Thunder Updates

Despite early promise, the Thunder could not maintain their initial lead, hampered by a tough schedule and the Lakers’ strategic plays. The game also featured debuts and returns, with Harry Giles III making his Lakers debut and Mike Muscala reappearing for the Thunder.

Up next, the Thunder will face the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday, while the Lakers are set to host the Sacramento Kings on the same day.

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