From the start of this contest, the Thunder were the more efficient, energized team. They were forcing turnovers, making shots and challenging every attempt the Lakers took at the rim.
L.A. couldn’t handle the athleticism of OKC, and that would prove to be a problem the entire way through.
The Lakers didn’t score their first bucket until about the six-minute mark of the opening period. Their offense was struggling, but defense would be the theme when it was all said and done.
By halftime, L.A. had given up 71 points to the Thunder. It had turned the ball over 11 times to OKC’s one, and it had given up a combined 39 points to Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.
But as bad as the first half was for the Lakers, the third quarter began, and momentum turned in their favor.
L.A. began attacking the rim, which ultimately opened up looks on the perimeter. The big difference, though, was pace, as the Lakers took away OKC’s ability to score in transition by sticking to their half-court offense.
The Lakers outscored the Thunder 34-26 in the third period, and they had cut the lead to eight for the final 12 minutes.
Unfortunately for Los Angeles, it proved to be too little, too late. The team expended all its energy in the early stages of the comeback, and the final three minutes belonged once again to the Thunder at home.
A competitive fourth quarter kept this one interesting, but horrible ball control and subpar athleticism proved to be the Lakers’ downfall in Oklahoma City.