LOS ANGELES, CA (News4usonline) – LeBron James makes history. Anthony Davis serves up another dominant performance. The Lakers dominate the painted area once again, and yet Los Angeles found themselves in a dogfight with the undermanned and underwhelmed Oklahoma City Thunder team.
It wasn’t until Kentavious Caldwell Pope nailed down a deep 3-pointer with 55 ticks remaining in the game that the Lakers finally was able to put away the Thunder with a 112-107 win at Staples Center.
“Not our best defense performance but we hung in there,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said afterwards. “We did enough to get the W. Like we have been saying all along, this part of the season our foundation is laid, but we are far from a finished product. We’re going to have nights where some things look good and some things don’t look so good and we’re capable of being better on that end of the floor, for sure.”
As the Lakers navigated their way to their 12th (12-2) win of the season, Davis went off for 34 points, while James had one of his patented triple-doubles, going for 25 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists. Notching his fifth triple-double of the season, James became the first player in NBA history to accomplish such a feat against every team in the league.
“It’s unbelievable,” Vogel said. “He’ll say it’s because he’s been in the league for so long, but we all know that it’s because he’s remarkable. For him to be doing it as long as he’s been doing it, that’s how you knock out all 30 teams with a star like that. I don’t know if that’ll ever get accomplished again.”
James has had a habit throughout his career of making the extraordinary look like the ordinary, and this is what makes him special. When you consider that James averages nearly a triple-double on the season (25 points, 11 assists and 7.9 rebounds), it is not too surprising that the Lakers hybrid guard-forward is able to do the things he wants to do on the basketball court.
James, of course, downplayed the historical moment and tried to keep the focus on the team winning.
“I don’t know what to think about it to be honest,” James said. “I’ve had some great teammates and great coaches that have put me in the position to be able to facilitate. My teammates have made shots for me throughout my career. Coaches have just put me in position to be successful scoring the ball and I’ve just tried to read and react to the ball off the rim, as far as getting rebounds. Hopefully throughout all those triple-doubles, I hope I’ve got a winning record in those games because that’s what’s most important. I really don’t know what to really think about it, I think it’s a pretty cool stat and I’m glad it happened in a win.”
The Lakers were able to beat the Thunder because Oklahoma City had no answers to stopping the dynamic duo of Davis and James, who tallied 55 points between themselves. The Lakers also won the game down low where their length and height made a difference on the block.
The Lakers outscored OKC 50-42 in the paint and outrebounded the Thunder 46-39 to control the pace of the game. Oklahoma City coach Billy Donovan talked about the Lakers’ size advantage and their ability to control the boards Besides their great rebounding efforts, the Lakers also recorded eight blocked shots against the Thunder.
“I give credit where credit is due,” Donovan said. “I thought in the first quarter we were really, really careless with the ball and didn’t do a really good job taking care of it. I thought we got better. I think we had 10 turnovers at the half and I think we had 15 or 14 for the game. So, we did a better job in the second half, but it was like we did a good job there then the rebounding was a problem. We fixed up a couple things, then other things become an issue. I think overall the guys competed and battled and fought. We just probably didn’t do enough things well enough to get the win—from transition defense, to turnovers, to offensive rebounding and then the other part is we didn’t shoot it well from the three-point line.”
Oklahoma City point guard Chris Paul, who is a noted close friend of James, said the Thunder simply didn’t do enough down the stretch to pull out the win.
“We couldn’t get stops,” Paul said. “They were getting out in transition, getting lobs, offensive rebounds, KCP [Kentavious Caldwell-Pope] hit a big three-pointer when we were down by two points. Dennis [Schroder] was amazing. He kept us in it all night. Then Deonte Burton did a great job of guarding LeBron [James]. We just dug ourselves too big of a hole and never really got back into it.”
Dennis is the editor and publisher of News4usonline. A news and sports reporter, Dennis has written about social justice, civil rights, education, politics, and crime. He also covers the NFL, NBA, MLB as well as other sports. Based in Southern California, Dennis earned a journalism degree with a minor in criminal justice from Howard University. The real HU!!