Lakers vs. Thunder score, takeaways: OKC takes advantage of poor shooting night by L.A. to pull out a win

NBA: Sacramento Kings at Oklahoma City Thunder
USATSI

In what should have been an exciting matchup between the Lakers and the Thunder, turned into a poor shooting night for L.A. as the top team in the West fell to the Thunder 105-86. The Lakers have struggled to get their shots to fall from deep since arriving in the bubble, and this game was no exception. It wasn't just the long ball that wasn't falling, though, the Lakers looked out of sorts as a whole offensively throughout the game, which led to Anthony Davis putting up just nine points after exploding for a 42-point performance on Monday against Utah. James and Davis combined to shoot just 33.3 percent from the field, and didn't get much help anywhere else on the roster.

The Thunder, on the other hand, were able to take advantage of an off night for LeBron and the Lakers, and eventually blew the game wide open in the second half. While the Lakers did struggle heavily, OKC deserves some credit, especially considering Sixth Man of the Year hopeful Dennis Schroeder wasn't in the lineup. Rookie Luguentz Dort stepped up defensively to keep James in check, and Chris Paul orchestrated the Thunder's offense perfectly to pull out a win on a night where OKC shot just 20 percent from 3-point range. The win helps the Thunder in terms of playoff positioning, while the Lakers are still searching to solve their shooting struggles.

Here are three takeaways from the Thunder's win against the Lakers:

Lakers' shooting woes continue

It was another slow start for L.A. out of the gates and it didn't get much better from there. The Lakers shot an abysmal 13.5 percent from beyond the arc, and despite trying to stage a comeback in the fourth quarter, the 3s still weren't falling. It could be chalked up to guys like Danny Green, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Dion Waiters still getting their legs under them, but this is the fourth-straight game where the Lakers have shot well below their season average of 35 percent from 3. These seeding games don't mean much for L.A. at this point considering it has the No. 1 seed locked up already, but the fact that its shooters have yet to get their shots to fall is a bit of a problem. There's obviously still plenty of time before the Lakers should be really concerned, but as this team prepares for the postseason, that should be a focal point.

Luguentz Dort ... that's it

Dort has built a reputation in his rookie season for being an absolute menace on defense. Earlier in the season, he was tasked with guarding elite players like James Harden and Damian Lillard, and he more than held his own. Tonight, he was given the incredibly tall task of checking LeBron James, and it was pretty eye-opening. On several occasions, James tried to impose his size on Dort in the low post, but quickly realized that this rookie is built like a brick wall. Aside from one instance where LeBron just bulldozed straight through Dort for a nice finish, the Arizona State product made life difficult for James, picking him up the full length of the court. He finished the game a plus-15, and racked up 14 points and four rebounds. 

Without Dennis Schroeder's 18 points per game to help shoulder some of the offensive load for OKC, Dort was asked to produce more on that side of the ball. While he still needs to improve upon his 3-point shooting -- he went 0 for 4 on the night -- it was a solid showing for a player who was on a two-way contract earlier this season. Chris Paul and Danilo Gallinari certainly did most of the heavy lifting on offense, but Dort's impressive defense and ability to contribute on offense was a difference maker for the Thunder.

Thunder's win makes things interesting in the West

With the win tonight, Oklahoma City now pulls even with the Houston Rockets for the No. 5 spot in the Western Conference standings. It also puts the Thunder just a 1/2 game back of the Utah Jazz for the No. 4 spot with five games remaining on their seeding schedule. This is a crazy position for OKC to be in, considering this team wasn't even expected to sniff the postseason this year. Now, the Thunder could be as high as the fourth spot in the West, with a very real opportunity to win a playoff series. The path to secure that No. 4 seed won't be easy, though, as OKC still has to play Miami, the Clippers and a surprisingly undefeated Phoenix Suns team in the bubble. However, if we've learned one thing from this upstart Thunder team, it's that we should never underestimate a team with Chris Paul as its leader. Paul is having one of the best seasons of his career, and has willed this team of mainly role players to be one of the best surprises in the West.

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WED 6:30 P
LAL -5.5, o217.5
ESPN
LAL -5.5, O/U 217.5

Season Leaders

points
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C. Paul 21.3 PTS, 5.3 AST, 7.4 REB
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C. Paul 21.3 PTS, 5.3 AST, 7.4 REB
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A. Davis 28.5 PTS, 3.7 AST, 10.0 REB
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A. Davis 28.5 PTS, 3.7 AST, 10.0 REB
assists
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C. Paul 21.3 PTS, 5.3 AST, 7.4 REB
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C. Paul 21.3 PTS, 5.3 AST, 7.4 REB
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L. James 25.9 PTS, 8.8 AST, 10.0 REB
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L. James 25.9 PTS, 8.8 AST, 10.0 REB
rebounds
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S. Adams 10.1 PTS, 1.3 AST, 11.6 REB
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S. Adams 10.1 PTS, 1.3 AST, 11.6 REB
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L. James 25.9 PTS, 8.8 AST, 10.0 REB
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L. James 25.9 PTS, 8.8 AST, 10.0 REB
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August 6, 2020, 1:43 AM
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August 6, 2020, 1:25 AM

And that's a final for the Lakers-Thunder. L.A. looked pretty rough offensively, and OKC was able to take advantage of that. Takeaways from this game are coming soon.

Well, some deep bench reserves come in for the Lakers and it looks like this game is a wrap.

Lakers trail by 14, and there still a theoretical path to winning this game, not sure L.A. could navigate it though with its poor shooting.

Adams again with the bucket on the inside.

Not much resistance inside to stop that Adams bucket.

Vintage Chris Paul mid-range game.

.....and that's an airballed free throw by Adams.

Chris Paul just LAUNCHED a 3 and it went in. Wow.

LeBron stopper Lu Dort back in the game

AND-1 for Steven Adams, Lakers getting caught with silly fouls again.

The Lakers are looking a bit more organized offensively, the 3 ball still isn't falling though.

Suddenly it's a 10-point game just like that. Wow.

Diallo with the monstrous dunk!

Geez, LeBron just went 0-2 from the FT line, that sums up the Lakers night so far.

Steven Adams checks back in, so clearly he's okay.

Kuzma connects for 3... uh oh

LeBron back in the game, let's see if this gap closes suddenly.

Nader for 3! OKC now up by 20 points, wow.

AD just picked up his fifth foul, he'll go to the bench. Will be surprised if he comes back in this game given how out of hand this has gotten.

...meanwhile Waiters hit the side of the backboard on that 3-pointer.

And then connects on the 3-pointer. The game opening up a bit for OKC.

Galo puts his head down and gets the difficult finish at the rim.

Caruso missed a wide open Quinn Cook in the corner and opted to take it himself. He got the foul call, but Cook was right there. Considering how the Lakers have shot from deep tonight, though, it was probably the better idea.

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