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The Rundown v110521 – Thunder Own the Lakers Again – ‘We Shouldn’t Have Lost This One’

It’s gut check time in Los Angeles – at least for the Lakers – who have now allowed the Oklahoma City Thunder to come back on them from double digit deficits twice in eight days’ time – putting the Thunder at 2-0 versus the Lakers.

It’s gut check time.

Granted, the Thunder at 2-6 aren’t going to win any tiebreakers with the Lakers come season’s end. But to lose the games you’ve earmarked as wins? I mean, c’mon … the Thunder isn’t exactly a murderer’s row of unprecedented athletic talent and prowess. 

As one former NBA player said after reading my story about Sam Presti and the Thunder, “Oklahoma City has become a farm team … ”

So what does that say for the Lakers, who have allowed 26- and 19-point comebacks by the Thunder in eight days, both Oklahoma City wins?

In the first game, LeBron James sat with right ankle soreness while Charlie Morton of the Atlanta Braves pitched 16 more pitches after breaking his tibia

Now, James misses a second game against the Thunder, this time with a rectus abdominis strain.

I’m sure that will be spun as he’s been busting his ass.

Usually this happens more after Christmas so James can attend whichever bowl game his home state Ohio State Buckeyes are playing in. If it’s truly happening with regularity, he should have it checked, because rectus abdominis strain is more a tennis injury than basketball.

That being said, Thursday night’s game was practically a cookie-cutter from the first game. Anthony Davis scored a point less (29 points Thursday night) in the second game and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored a point more (28 points Thursday night) than they did in the first matchup. 

The huge difference is that Russell Westbrook did not record a triple double in the second game like he did in Oklahoma City. Westbrook was also ejected from that first game for calling out Darius Bazley for a breakaway dunk in the waning seconds of the game.

The difference being that Westbrook was in the waning moments of Thursday’s game and turned the ball over with 21 seconds remaining to basically hand the win to the Thunder.

These two teams play each other again twice more – in Oklahoma City on December 10, 2021 and in L.A. on April 8, 2022.


Philadelphia 76ers   109 Seth Curry – 23 points

Joel Embiid – 9 rebounds

Shake Milton, Tyrese Maxey – 5 assists

Detroit Pistons   98 Jerami Grant – 27 points

Cade Cunningham – 10 rebounds

Cory Joseph – 5 assists

Nets at Pistons – Tonight
Sixers at Bulls – Saturday


Utah Jazz   116 Jordan Clarkson – 30 points

Rudy Gobert – 15 rebounds

Mike Conley – 11 assists

Atlanta Hawks   98 Trae Young – 21 points

Clint Capela – 10 rebounds

Trae Young – 7 assists

Jazz at Heat – Saturday
Hawks at Suns – Saturday


Boston Celtics   95 Jaylen Brown – 17 points

Robert Williams – 10 rebounds

Dennis Schroder – 6 assists

Miami Heat   78 Jimmy Butler – 20 points

Bam Adebayo, Kyle Lowry, P.J. Tucker, Tyler Herro – 7 rebounds

Kyle Lowry – 5 assists

Celtics at Mavericks – Saturday
Jazz at Heat – Saturday


Houston Rockets   111 Kevin Porter, Jr. – 20 points

Christian Wood – 15 rebounds

Alperen Sengun, Christian Wood – 5 assists

Phoenix Suns   123 Devin Booker – 27 points

Deandre Ayton – 11 rebounds

Chris Paul – 13 assists

Rockets at Nuggets – Saturday
Hawks at Suns – Saturday


Oklahoma City Thunder   107 Shai Gilgeous-Alexander – 28 points

Derrick Favors – 12 rebounds

Josh Giddey – 8 assists

Los Angeles Lakers   104 Anthony Davis – 29 points

Anthony Davis – 18 rebounds

Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook – 5 assists

Lakers at Trailblazers – Saturday
Thunder at Spurs – Sunday


Tracy Graven is the Senior NBA Analyst for
He has written the NBA, done NBA Radio, and appeared as a guest for the last 21+ years for HoopsWorld, Swish Magazine, HoopsHype, the Coach Scott Fields Show,, and is also tackling the NFL, NCAA, and will be pinch-hitting on some Major League Baseball coverage for BackSportsPage.
He’s spent 21 years in locker rooms in Orlando, Boise (CBA, G League), San Antonio, Phoenix, Denver, Oklahoma City, and Atlanta. 

A corporate trainer by day, he currently resides in SEC Country near Knoxville, Tennessee.
Reach him on Twitter at @RealTMoneyMedia  

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