The Los Angeles Lakers' struggles without Lonzo Ball continued Wednesday night as they fell to the Oklahoma City Thunder 114-90 at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
The loss dropped the Lakers to 15-29 on the 2017-18 season and 0-8 without Ball—who missed his second straight game with a sprained left knee.
The issue, as it's been in every game Ball has missed, was with a defense that has allowed 102.1 points per 100 possessions with him on the floor and a team-worst 108.3 with him off it, according to NBA.com's lineup data.
Two nights after the Lakers surrendered 123 points to the Memphis Grizzlies' 25th-ranked offense (103.0 points per 100 possessions), the Thunder torched them to the tune of 48.4 percent shooting from the field while boasting four double-figure scorers.
Bleacher Report @BleacherReport
Russ was cookin' 🔥 https://t.co/FUH5Ijg32I2018-1-18 03:15:18
Oklahoma City's offense was also buoyed by dominance on the boards.
Led by Adams, who pulled down a game-high seven offensive rebounds, the Thunder posted a 21-6 advantage on the offensive glass and parlayed that edge into 14 more field-goal attempts than the Lakers.
ESPN.com's Royce Young took notice:
Royce Young @royceyoung
Steven Adams is just manhandling the Lakers. Looks like a dad playing on a Nerf hoop against his kids.2018-1-18 02:34:21
The Norman Transcript's Fred Katz noted Oklahoma City's three-game winning streak has been aided by a tenacious approach in the rebounding department:
Fred Katz @FredKatz
For three straight games, one of the Thunder's best forms of offense has been missed shots.2018-1-18 02:34:07
"We weren't tough," head coach Luke Walton said, according to Southern California News Group's Bill Oram. "They beat us up."
The Lakers looked like they would be able to keep pace when they entered halftime down six points, but Julius Randle was held scoreless in the third and fourth quarters after erupting for 16 during a tight-knit first half.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope joined Randle in double figures with 10 early points. However, he was ruled out for the second half with a strained right Achilles tendon.
The hits kept coming in the third quarter, when rookie sensation Kyle Kuzma was forced to leave the game after he was diagnosed with a sprained left hand joint, according to ESPN.com's Ohm Youngmisuk.
Now banged up across the board, the Lakers will hope they can hang tough Friday at Staples Center against the Indiana Pacers.
The Thunder, who have four straight wins in their sights, will hit the road Saturday for a tilt with LeBron James and the sputtering Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena.