The game opened with an onslaught from the Lakers, who finished the first quarter leading 41-19 despite missing superstar LeBron James. Their lead topped out at 26 points late in the second quarter. Given that the Thunder entered the night 0-4 and are expected to again be one of the worst teams in the West, the game should have basically been over.
And yet, the game was not over. The Lakers’ lead narrowed to 16 by halftime, then the Thunder outscored the ostensible contender 41-23 in the third quarter, taking the lead at the buzzer via this heave from Shai Gilgeous-Alexander:
Gilgeous-Alexander finished the game with 27 points, nine rebounds and five assists. The Thunder held the lead for the entire fourth quarter, but things got weird in the final minute.
Up three points, the Thunder inbounded the ball only for another old friend, Carmelo Anthony, to steal the ball and attempt a game-tying 3-pointer.
MELO FOR THE TIE…airball pic.twitter.com/wMDEtM1wMK— The Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) October 28, 2021
On the next possession, Darius Bazley stole the ball and put the game away with an emphatic dunk. A furious Westbrook apparently felt disrespected enough to confront his old team, leading to an ejection.
Bazley steals the inbounds and dunks, Westbrook takes exception and get tossed, then yells at the referee when she tells him to go pic.twitter.com/rhBiwSuiBi— Internet #BlackLivesMatter (@cjzero) October 28, 2021
Westbrook finished his night with a pseudo-quadruple-double, with 20 points, 14 rebounds, 13 assists and 10 turnovers, plus four personal fouls and 8-of-20 shooting from the field.
Overall, not the night the Lakers wanted. It has been a rough start to the season for a team many expected to be best in the West. James and Anthony Davis (30 points, eight rebounds on Wednesday) remain stars, but the team’s supporting cast has so far been an awkward fit.