Oklahoma City At L.A. Lakers
When: 10:30 PM
ET, Friday, December 19, 2014
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
The Los Angeles Lakers looked surprisingly frisky during a three-game winning streak as the team helped push Kobe Bryant into third on the all-time scoring list. The high from that accomplishment dropped off in a big way at Indiana on Monday, and the Lakers will look to avoid back-to-back losses when they host the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday. The Thunder are hoping to have Kevin Durant available after he was forced to leave early on Thursday with an ankle injury.
Bryant passed Michael Jordan on the all-time scoring list at Minnesota on Monday but the strain of three road games in four days seemed to get to Los Angeles as it slumped to 33 percent from the field in the 110-91 loss to the Pacers. The Lakers are last in the NBA in average points allowed (109.5) and were reportedly among the teams inquiring about Rajon Rondo in an effort to improve the defense in the backcourt and take some of the ballhandling pressure off Bryant. Los Angeles needs all the backcourt defense it can muster to deal with Thunder star Russell Westbrook, who scored 33 points in a 114-109 loss at Golden State on Thursday.
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN, FSN Oklahoma, TWC SportsNet (Los Angeles)
ABOUT THE THUNDER (12-14): Durant scored 30 points in 19 minutes before stepping on Marreese Speights’ foot in the paint and rolling his right ankle. X-rays came back negative and his right ankle sprain was graded as mild, leaving him day-to-day. Westbrook did his best to drag Oklahoma City past Golden State by himself in the second half and added eight assists, continuing his streak of at least 20 points and seven assists to 10 straight games.
ABOUT THE LAKERS (8-17): Los Angeles began its road trip with a thrilling overtime victory in San Antonio and road the wave of Bryant’s accomplishment past the Timberwolves but could not come up with the effort on the defensive end to sweep the trip. The Lakers are starting Ronnie Price at point guard and Ed Davis at the power forward spot in order to get some more defense on the first unit but neither played more than 23 minutes against the Pacers. Carlos Boozer, who was banished to a reserve role in favor of Davis, is at least offering Bryant some support on offense with three straight double-doubles.
1. Davis is averaging 2.7 points in the last three games and was held scoreless on 0-of-5 shooting Monday.
2. Oklahoma City has taken four of the last five in the series but fell at Los Angeles 114-110 in the last trip on March 9.
3. Bryant is averaging 25.2 points but has shot better than 46 percent from the field only once on the season.
PREDICTION: Thunder 112, Lakers 98
Stats and Records
L.A. Lakers Off vs
Oklahoma City Def
102.2 Points For
94.7 Points Against