Thunder stars Westbrook, Anthony out towards Lakers

Monday, 12 Feb, 2018

The Los Angeles Lakers (22-31) will host the Oklahoma City Thunder (31-24) at the Staples Center on Thursday (Friday AEDT), just four nights after travelling to the Chesapeake Energy Arena on Sunday (Monday AEDT).

Paul George has been a ideal fit next to Russell Westbrook in Oklahoma City's backcourt and has put together an All-Star campaign next to the league's defending MVP.

Thunder forward Carmelo Anthony sprained his right ankle in the first quarter and did not return to the bench. That left Russell Westbrook as the only guard in the starting five. The starters, including George (29 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists) and Steven Adams (13 points, 9 rebounds) along with Josh Huestis, Patrick Patterson and Felton helped pull the Thunder back within six at halftime, but the Lakers ran away in the third quarter. Both are L.A. -area natives. "We're ready for the big games", George told reporters after the win at Golden State. "Go back to those games where we lost to teams we should have beat, we wouldn't be in this situation, but the highlight of everything is consistency". "I don't want to get ahead of myself there", Donovan said. Meanwhile, the Lakers are 7-0 ATS in their last seven home games, 5-0 ATS in their last five games following a win of more than 10 points and 7-2 ATS in their last nine games overall. As a team, the Lakers shot 47 percent from the field and 11 of 26 from the three-point line but it was really about the second half where they took over the game and outscored the Suns by 55-36. Ingram handled point guard duties with rookie Lonzo Ball sitting out his 11th straight game with knee soreness.

The Lakers are 11-4 since January 7, making them the second hottest National Basketball Association team in the past month. The Lakers were led by a balanced attack that saw Kentavious Caldwell-Pope score 20 points, Brandon Ingram score 19 and three other score in double-figures. A day after the Lakers leaked they were shifting their focus to the 2019 free agency class, George said he wouldn't rule out considering them if they have space for him.