#709 Los Angeles Lakersvs.#710 Oklahoma City Thunder
Written by Ricky Dimon
NBA: Sunday, October 30 at 7:00 p.m. EST
The Line: Oklahoma City Thunder -7.5. Total: 214.
The Oklahoma City Thunder will be trying to start their first season in the post-Kevin Durant era 3-0 when they host the Los Angeles Lakers at Chesapeake Energy Arena on Sunday night. Oklahoma City is coming off consecutive victories over Philadelphia and Phoenix. The Lakers opened with a home with over Houston before falling at Utah on Friday.
The Lakers looked good in a season-opening win over the Rockets and did not exactly play poorly in their next outing even though they lost at the Jazz 96-89 on Friday night. Getting the job done on the road simply proved tougher than playing in front of their home fans at the Staples Center two days earlier. Lou Williams scored 17 points and Luol Deng chipped in 12 points to go along with 12 rebounds. But L.A. would have had to score more than it did if it wanted to keep up with Jazz, who had five players reach double-figures–including 23 points from George Hill. Utah guards combined to go 17 of 38 from the floor.
“That it sucks to lose,” head coach Luke Walton said when asked what he wanted his team to take away from the loss. “Honestly. We played well enough to have a chance. I told the guys. I don’t think we gave this game away by any means. Utah earned that win tonight. They should have won the game. They played better than we did. But we didn’t go take it. On the road we have to learn that when you’re in a road game and you have the opportunity to take it, you have to go take it. We didn’t do that tonight.”
Everyone assumes that triple-doubles will not be a rarity for Oklahoma City guard Russell Westbrook this season given that he has sole ownership of the offensive show with Kevin Durant now in Golden State. One almost came in the opener against Philadelphia on Wednesday, when Westbrook produced 32 points, 12 rebounds, and nine assists. Needing one extra assist to get over the hump, that is exactly what he got in Friday’s 113-110 overtime win over the Suns. Westbrook finished with 51 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 assists for the first 50-point triple-double since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1975. The 27-year-old scored 39 of his 51 points in the second half and overtime, including 23 in the third quarter. His teammates were probably impressed–but not surprised.
“It was good,” center Steven Adams said. “Standard.”
The Los Angeles Lakers are:
The Oklahoma City Thunder are:
Lakers’ guard D’Angelo Russell will have to rebound from a 3-for-14 performance against the Jazz if the visitors want to keep up with Westbrook and company. After all, you can bank of Westbrook coming close to another triple-double, if he doesn’t get all the way there. Los Angeles is 1-8 ATS in its last nine on the road, 0-6 ATS in its last six on the road against opponents with winning home records, and 9-22 ATS in its last 31 against the Northwest Division. The Thunder are 5-2 ATS in their last seven at home against opponents with road winning percentages under .400, 5-1 ATS in the last six meetings between the two teams, and 6-0 ATS in their last six at home against the Lakers. Look for those trends to continue.
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A 2006 graduate of Davidson College, Ricky is a freelance sports writer based in Atlanta, Georgia. He has previously worked with various websites in the sports handicapping industry and is generally a fan of going with the hot hand while in most cases showing a willingness to take favorites and give the points. Beyond the four major sports, Ricky is an avid tennis fan—and writer—and covers the ATP Tour on a daily basis.