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Caldwell-Pope, Lakers trounce short-handed Thunder, 106-81

LOS ANGELES (AP) The Los Angeles Lakers spent the morning giving themselves the financial flexibility to sign two free agents to max deals. When the day was over, a win by their largest margin this season showed they have more to sell than cap space.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 20 points, and the balanced Lakers defeated the short-handed Oklahoma City Thunder 106-81 on Thursday night.

Brandon Ingram added 19 points, Julius Randle scored 17 and Kyle Kuzma had 16 for the Lakers, who won their fourth straight. Los Angeles is 12-4 in its last 16 games, including eight in a row at home.

''We have a core of guys that if we all stick together and grow can be really special,'' Kuzma said. ''If we can add two more players to that, then I don't know what can happen.''

Lakers coach Luke Walton wasn't sure how the team would respond after the Lakers traded Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Isaiah Thomas, Channing Frye and a 2018 first-round pick earlier in the day.

After a slow start, Walton got his answer. The Lakers closed the first quarter on a 22-8 run and turned an 11-point deficit into a lead they would not relinquish at 30-27 on a three-point play by Randle with 3.8 seconds left.

''I didn't know how long it would take, but the energy before the game was already much better. I was curious to see how long it would take and if our guys would be able to perform after two of their teammates got traded away and, obviously, they did a nice job,'' Walton said.

After knocking off the Thunder 108-104 in Oklahoma City on Sunday, the Lakers breezed to a lead as large as 27 points in the fourth quarter. Rookie Josh Hart had 10 points, eight rebounds and five assists.

Paul George scored 29 points for the Thunder, who played without Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony as each was hampered by a sprained ankle. Steven Adams had 13 points and nine rebounds as the Thunder lost for the fifth time in six games.

George started strong with 12 points in the opening 6:52, hitting his first five shots including three 3-pointers. He had 22 points at the break, making 8 of 14 shots from the field and 4 of 6 from the 3-point line, while the rest of the Oklahoma City lineup shot 27 percent (10 of 37).

''With as difficult as it was to put the ball in the basket, we kept trying to battle and fight defensively and did some good things,'' Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. ''We just didn't make enough shots at the end of the day to make it competitive.''

TIP-INS

Thunder: Raymond Felton had seven points, five rebounds and three assists as he took Westbrook's place in the starting lineup. Patrick Patterson, who replaced Anthony, was scoreless in 26 minutes. Jerami Grant and Alex Abrines each scored eight points.

Lakers: G Lonzo Ball (left knee) missed his 12th straight game.

CLEARING THE DECKS

With Thomas and Frye on expiring contracts, the Lakers now have a path to add two marquee players in free agency this summer or in 2019. Their fans made it clear who they would like to see join the team, giving George a loud ovation when he was introduced.

Kuzma declined to say if he tried to sell George on joining the Lakers during the game.

''I don't think we need any more fines,'' Kuzma said with a laugh, referencing the $50,000 tampering fine the Lakers received for Magic Johnson's praise of Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo.

NO TIME FOR I.T. DEPARTMENT

Walton was so caught up in preparing for the Thunder that he had yet to begin figuring out how Thomas might fit in with the surging young roster. Walton hadn't even spoken to Thomas, as the two traded voicemails in an attempt to reach one another.

''If there was no game today, then, yeah, most of today would have been spent watching film on him and calling people that I know around the league that may either have played with him or coached him and coming up with game plans,'' Walton said.

UP NEXT

Thunder: Host the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday.

Lakers: Open a three-game trip at the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday.

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Key Players
R. Westbrook
0 PG
B. Ingram
14 SF
33.9 Min. Per Game 33.9
15.9 Pts. Per Game 15.9
3.7 Ast. Per Game 3.7
5.4 Reb. Per Game 5.4
44.5 Field Goal % 45.8
44.5 Three Point % 45.7
71.7 Free Throw % 68.1
+ 2 Kyle Singler made layup, assist by Daniel Hamilton 0:16
  Defensive rebound by Kyle Singler 0:26
  Thomas Bryant missed 3-pt. jump shot 0:29
  Defensive rebound by Ivica Zubac 0:43
  PJ Dozier missed jump shot 0:48
  Defensive rebound by PJ Dozier 0:56
  Gary Payton II missed 3-pt. jump shot 1:00
  Defensive rebound by Tyler Ennis 1:06
  Dakari Johnson missed layup, blocked by Alex Caruso 1:10
+ 1 Ivica Zubac made free throw 1:29
  Shooting foul on PJ Dozier 1:29
Team Stats
Points 81 106
Field Goals 32-90 (35.6%) 42-96 (43.8%)
3-Pointers 8-34 (23.5%) 10-31 (32.3%)
Free Throws 9-19 (47.4%) 12-13 (92.3%)
Total Rebounds 64 59
Offensive 17 13
Defensive 33 38
Team 14 8
Assists 16 28
Steals 6 5
Blocks 4 7
Turnovers 13 8
Fouls 11 19
Technicals 1 0
29 PTS, 9 REB, 3 AST
19 PTS, 2 REB, 6 AST
1234T
away team logo Thunder 31-25 2719201581
home team logo Lakers 23-31 30223123106
Team Stats
away team logo Thunder 31-25 101.2 PPG 44 RPG 16.3 APG
home team logo Lakers 23-31 PPG RPG APG
Key Players
P. George SF 21.9 PPG 5.7 RPG 3.3 APG 43.0 FG%
K. Caldwell-Pope SG 13.4 PPG 5.2 RPG 2.2 APG 42.6 FG%
Top Scorers
P. George SF 29 PTS 9 REB 3 AST
K. Caldwell-Pope SG 20 PTS 7 REB 1 AST
35.6 FG% 43.8
23.5 3PT FG% 32.3
47.4 FT% 92.3
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
P. George 34 29 9 3 2 1 6 2 11/25 5/12 2/6 2 7 41 -16
S. Adams 33 13 9 1 0 0 0 1 4/11 0/0 5/8 7 2 24 -13
R. Felton 31 7 5 3 2 0 1 0 3/8 1/2 0/0 0 5 19 -17
P. Patterson 25 0 4 2 1 0 0 0 0/6 0/5 0/0 2 2 9 -12
J. Huestis 16 0 4 0 0 0 0 1 0/3 0/2 0/0 0 4 4 +2
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
P. George 34 29 9 3 2 1 6 2 11/25 5/12 2/6 2 7 41 -16
S. Adams 33 13 9 1 0 0 0 1 4/11 0/0 5/8 7 2 24 -13
R. Felton 31 7 5 3 2 0 1 0 3/8 1/2 0/0 0 5 19 -17
P. Patterson 25 0 4 2 1 0 0 0 0/6 0/5 0/0 2 2 9 -12
J. Huestis 16 0 4 0 0 0 0 1 0/3 0/2 0/0 0 4 4 +2
Bench MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
A. Abrines 24 8 3 1 1 0 0 1 3/10 1/6 1/1 0 3 14 -28
J. Grant 22 8 8 1 0 2 2 3 4/9 0/1 0/0 5 3 18 -11
D. Hamilton 15 5 3 3 0 0 2 0 2/5 1/2 0/0 0 3 12 -8
N. Collison 7 4 2 0 0 0 2 0 2/2 0/0 0/2 0 2 4 -8
K. Singler 5 3 1 1 0 0 0 0 1/2 0/0 1/2 0 1 6 -1
D. Johnson 6 2 1 0 0 1 0 2 1/2 0/0 0/0 1 0 4 -4
P. Dozier 2 2 1 0 0 0 0 1 1/2 0/0 0/0 0 1 3 -1
T. Ferguson 12 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0/5 0/4 0/0 0 0 2 -8
R. Westbrook - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
A. Roberson - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
C. Anthony - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 232 81 50 16 6 4 13 11 32/90 8/34 9/19 17 33 160 -125
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
K. Caldwell-Pope 30 20 7 1 1 0 0 2 7/10 3/5 3/3 1 6 30 +19
B. Ingram 33 19 2 6 1 0 1 1 7/11 3/4 2/2 0 2 33 +19
J. Randle 28 17 6 2 0 1 2 1 8/16 0/1 1/1 3 3 26 +10
J. Hart 32 10 8 5 1 1 3 2 4/9 2/5 0/0 1 7 27 +8
B. Lopez 24 9 9 2 0 1 0 1 4/14 0/4 1/2 4 5 23 +10
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
K. Caldwell-Pope 30 20 7 1 1 0 0 2 7/10 3/5 3/3 1 6 30 +19
B. Ingram 33 19 2 6 1 0 1 1 7/11 3/4 2/2 0 2 33 +19
J. Randle 28 17 6 2 0 1 2 1 8/16 0/1 1/1 3 3 26 +10
J. Hart 32 10 8 5 1 1 3 2 4/9 2/5 0/0 1 7 27 +8
B. Lopez 24 9 9 2 0 1 0 1 4/14 0/4 1/2 4 5 23 +10
Bench MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
K. Kuzma 23 16 9 2 1 2 0 3 6/15 2/8 2/2 0 9 32 +19
I. Zubac 17 7 5 1 0 1 0 3 2/6 0/0 3/3 1 4 15 +10
C. Brewer 18 6 2 3 0 0 1 3 3/6 0/0 0/0 2 0 13 +23
T. Bryant 4 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 1/3 0/1 0/0 0 0 4 -1
T. Ennis 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 1 1 -1
G. Payton II 3 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0/2 0/1 0/0 1 1 2 +2
A. Caruso 18 0 0 5 1 1 1 3 0/4 0/2 0/0 0 0 11 +7
I. Thomas - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
L. Ball - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
L. Deng - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
C. Frye - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 234 106 51 28 5 7 8 19 42/96 10/31 12/13 13 38 217 +125