Los Angeles Lakers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder: Postgame Grades and Analysis

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Los Angeles Lakers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder: Postgame Grades and Analysis
Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Kobe Bryant's Lakers were not happy with the way they played, but Durant and the Thunder were all smiles.

The Oklahoma City Thunder defended their unblemished home record, dominating Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers 122-97 on Friday night.

After falling behind early, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook took over for the Thunder and combined to score 37 points during the first half.

Five Oklahoma City players reached double digits, and the team grabbed 14 steals, translating takeaways into points off turnovers.

Even with Kobe Bryant, the injury-slowed Lakers could not overcome the talent of the Thunder's starting lineup. The Lakers connected on only 7-of-25 from behind the arc and were out-rebounded, 59-41.

Nick Young paced Los Angeles with 17 points, while Xavier Henry and Pau Gasol chipped in 15 and 14, respectively.

 

Key Player Grades

Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers, Point Guard

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Bryant played his third game this season, but due to injuries (Jordan Farmar and Steve Blake), he was the starting point guard.

The future Hall of Famer showed some aggressiveness once in a while, but Kobe was primarily a facilitator.

Bryant dished 13 assists but only made two shots all night long. He also committed seven turnovers throughout his 23 minutes.

Kobe is becoming more comfortable, but he definitely, and understandably, needs more work.

Grade: C+

 

Pau Gasol, Los Angeles Lakers, Center

Gasol jumped out to a quick start, logging six points, three rebounds, two assists during the first stanza.

But as the Thunder pulled away, Gasol's effectiveness trailed off as well.

Gasol was outplayed in the post but still managed 14 points and seven rebounds in a season-low 23 minutes.

Grade: C+

 

Jodie Meeks, Los Angeles Lakers, Shooting Guard

Layne Murdoch Jr./Getty Images

Jodie Meeks was bound and determined to make a long-distance shot—or any shot for that matter.

After knocking down his first triple, Meeks launched three more without hitting the net. Overall, he connected on 2-of-7 from distance and a porous 3-of-16 from the field.

Meeks managed nine points, failing to hit the 10-point mark for the first time in 10 games and also committed five turnovers.

Grade: D

 

Jordan Hill, Los Angeles Lakers, Power Forward

Jordan Hill was relatively quiet during the first half, managing just seven minutes of action.

Hill was the Lakers' most aggressive player after halftime and ended his night with six points and five rebounds.

Strangely enough, though, Hill played only 12 minutes, which seemed odd considering his improved play during the third quarter.

Grade: B

 

Wesley Johnson, Los Angeles Lakers, Small Forward

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Similar to Meeks, Wesley Johnson badly wanted to find a rhythm from outside.

Unfortunately, the sharpshooter couldn't find one and hit just one of six three-point attempts. He did, however, make five of his other seven attempts and was the fourth Los Angeles player in double digits.

Grade: B-

 

Nick Young, Los Angeles Lakers, Small Forward

Young came off the bench and dropped eight points during the first quarter, but he cooled off quickly.

But the Thunder started to pull away, and Young's final contributions came when OKC had the game in hand.

Young led the Lakers with 17 points, and he added two rebounds and two assists.

Grade: B-

 

Bench, Los Angeles Lakers

Henry dunked over Serge Ibaka, which is far from an easy task, and threw down another powerful slam. Henry played a decent game, attempting a game-high 16 free throws and scored 15 points.

Shawne Williams and Robert Sacre were relatively ineffective during meaningful minutes, though Sacre did grab eight rebounds.

Later, down by 20-plus points in the final frame, Los Angeles head coach Mike D'Antoni emptied his bench.

Reserve big men Chris Kaman and Ryan Kelly combined for 11 points and five rebounds in 17 minutes.

Grade: C+

 

Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder, Small Forward

Durant came out on a mission, and it was to dominate.

And dominate he did.

Durant netted 22 points before halftime alone, shooting 7-of-9 from the field and 6-of-6 from the line.

He played a complete game, making plays on both ends of the floor. In successive possessions, Durant absolutely swatted Henry, drained a three on the other end, stole the ball from Henry and Westbrook finished the impressive series with a layup.

Once again, Durant was a force to be reckoned with, finishing the game with 31 points, eight rebounds, five assists, four steals and one block.

Grade: A+

 

Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder, Point Guard

Though less efficient than Durant, Westbrook played equally as spirited and was close to recording a triple-double.

Westbrook led the Thunder's fast-paced break, drawing defenders and snapping passes to open teammates throughout the night.

Overall, Westbrook tallied 19 points on 7-of-19 shooting, 12 assists, eight rebounds and two steals.

Grade: A

 

Serge IbakaOklahoma City Thunder, Power Forward

Layne Murdoch/Getty Images

Ibaka was excellent on Friday night.

Ibaka played an above-average game in the post and was comfortable shooting 15-footers, draining a trifecta of jumpers.

Though playing just 25 minutes compared to his average of 34, Ibaka scored 19 points and 10 rebounds.

Grade: A

 

Kendrick Perkins, Oklahoma City Thunder, Center 

When Durant, Westbrook and Ibaka are all on fire, Kendrick Perkins performs his best.

Perkins was paid a substantial amount of money to chug up and down the floor to watch the trio throttle the Lakers.

Of course, Perkins did outscore Bryant six to four.

Grade: C+

 

Andre Roberson, Oklahoma City Thunder, Shooting Guard

Andre Roberson did not convert on a couple of open looks, including an uncontested attempt from the right corner that unceremoniously clanged off the side off the backboard.

Roberson had a decent defensive game, though, snatching a pair of steals and blocking a shot.

Grade: C

 

Reggie Jackson, Oklahoma City Thunder, Point Guard

Reggie Jackson was stellar off the bench.

Jackson shot 7-of-18 from the field and accounted for 19 points, five rebounds and four assists. Defensively, he grabbed two steals and was the most important OKC reserve.

Over the past five games, Jackson has averaged 15.8 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.2 assists, so he is definitely making up for Roberson's struggles.

Grade: A

 

Bench, Oklahoma City Thunder

Layne Murdoch/Getty Images

Jeremy Lamb was flying around the court, netted 11 points and grabbed four rebounds.

Steven Adams fought for rebounds and set up a Westbrook assist by scrapping for a loose ball and swatting it the point guard. His physicality did not go unnoticed, grabbing five boards, and he also dished three assists in 15 minutes.

Perry Jones was a noticeable factor during the Thunder's big runs, and Derek Fisher protected the ball during his 14 minutes, not committing a turnover.

Basically, Nick Collison and Hasheem Thabeet existed and were in the game to run out the clock.

Grade: B

 

What's Next?

Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers (10-12) will board a plane and fly to Charlotte, N.C. to take on the Charlotte Bobcats on Saturday night at 10 p.m. ET.

Los Angeles is still looking for its first win with Bryant in the lineup, but Kemba Walker and Al Jefferson will attempt to deny Bryant and Co.

 

Oklahoma City Thunder

The Thunder (18-4) get a day off before hosting the Orlando Magic on Sunday night at 8:30 p.m. ET. Orlando has lost seven of its past eight, so Durant and Westbrook could have back-to-back spectacular games.

OKC's next test is on Tuesday, Dec. 17, on the road against the Denver Nuggets.

 

Follow Bleacher Report NBA Writer David Kenyon on Twitter: Kenyon19_BR.

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