The LA Lakers pulled off an impressive win against the Oklahoma City Thunder, 123-117, despite missing four starters including LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The bench players stepped up to give the Lakers a much-needed victory. Dennis Schroder, Rui Hachimura, and Austin Reaves led the bench mob and battled to secure the win.
The game was expected to be led by Anthony Davis, but he was a late scratch and was replaced by Mo Bamba. The Thunder also missed their best player, Shai-Gilgeous Alexander, who was averaging 31.0 points and 5.7 assists per game. His absence was felt as the Thunder’s offense struggled to score and make plays.
The Lakers took control of the game in the fourth quarter after a back-and-forth battle in the first three quarters. They had a 90-84 lead going into the final 12 minutes of the game. With timely shots from Schroder and Reaves, and solid defense from Hachimura, the Lakers built a 13-point lead and held off the Thunder.
The Lakers desperately need Davis and D’Angelo Russell to return to the team. LeBron James’ injury has put their plan to land the sixth seed in the Western Conference in jeopardy. The Lakers went to the free-throw line 39 times, hitting 31 of them, compared to OKC’s 18-24 clip. Despite the huge disparity in that area, the Lakers still struggled to put away the Thunder.
Anthony Davis and D’Angelo Russell are expected to return on Friday when the Lakers host the Minnesota Timberwolves. Their return will be crucial in at least trying to grab a play-in ticket. Every game after the All-Star break is crucial for the Lakers, and they need their best players on the floor to have a chance of stringing together wins. While the sixth seed may be out of reach, a play-in ticket is still within their grasp.