Anthony Davis unloaded 15 of his 37 points in the first quarter and added 15 rebounds as the Los Angeles Lakers got off to a fast start and held on for a 116-111 victory over the visiting Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday, March 24 (Saturday, March 25, Manila time).
The Lakers registered their third consecutive win and reached .500 for the first time this season. They are 37-37 after starting 2-10.
Dennis Schroder scored 21 points and Lonnie Walker IV added 20 for the Lakers, who defeated the Thunder for the second time this month and moved one game ahead of Oklahoma City (36-38) in the Western Conference standings as both teams duel for a postseason spot. The Lakers won the season series 2-1.
The Lakers also won for the seventh time in their past 10 games and improved to 8-5 since star LeBron James went down with a tendon injury to his right foot.
Josh Giddey scored 27 points and grabbed 17 rebounds and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander added 27 points for the Thunder, who dropped consecutive games for the first time since losing five in a row from February 23 to March 1.
Luguentz Dort scored 15 points and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl added 14 for Oklahoma City.
Prone to slow starts, the Lakers instead built a 41-25 lead after one quarter by shooting 58.3% from the field and 46.2% (6-of-13) from three-point range. It was the highest-scoring first quarter for Los Angeles this season.
The Thunder charged back with 41 points of their own in the second quarter as the Lakers led 74-66 at halftime. Davis had 23 points in the first half, while Gilgeous-Alexander had 17.
Oklahoma City continued to creep back into the game, tying it 102-102 on a jumper from Gilgeous-Alexander with 5:25 remaining in the fourth quarter.
The game was tied again at 105-105 with 4:15 to go before the Lakers went on a 7-2 run for a five-point lead with 1:20 left as Schroder scored four points in the spurt.
Davis sealed the victory on a free throw with 25.4 seconds remaining for a 114-109 lead.
The Lakers were without D’Angelo Russell (right hip soreness).
The teams met in LA for the first time since February 7, when James set the NBA’s all-time scoring record. – Rappler.com
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