By: A. Suave Francisco/InsideThunder.com.
Oklahoma City’s big three had no problem with the Los Angeles Lakers defense at all, after weathering a storm where the Lakers outscored the Thunder 15-5 to start the game.
Carmelo Anthony, Russell Westbrook, and Paul George combined for 65 points, lifting their team over the Los Angeles Lakers 133-96 and didn’t play in the fourth quarter.
What extended the margin of victory for the Thunder was their rookie, Terrance Ferguson who scored half of his team-high 24 points in the fourth quarter, in his first NBA start.
It was one of those games where the Los Angeles Lakers showed absolutely no fight without their floor general Lonzo Ball, who’s missed eight-straight games now, due to injury. On the contrary, OKC didn’t stick to the season’s narrative where they underperform against teams with lesser talent.
In Westbrook and George’s return to their former stomping grounds, it was all gas and no brakes. Anthony decided to get in on the fun as well.
The Lakers youth stuck out like a sore thumb. After the first quarter, the game was tied at 26 and it looked like they may complicate things for the Thunder. That lasted until the final 7 minutes of the first half when OKC’s offense exploded, while Los Angeles imploded. They went from shooting 55.6 percent for the game to 39.5 percent with the swiftness and before you noticed, the Thunder went into halftime with a 63-44 lead.
The Thunder led by 26 at the end of the third quarter and Billy Donovan sat the big three to get some early rest before the second half of this back-to-back against the Clippers. Ferguson stayed in the game and that’s when he exploded for 12 points in the fourth quarter, including two Slam Dunk competition caliber dunks to cap off his special night.
Games like these for Ferguson are the types of games where stars are born. In our generation of everything being in the present, with everyone seemingly foregoing the process of development, we tend to forget that Ferguson is a 19-year old NBA rookie that has no college experience. He’s also very undersized for his height. Today he shot 7-for-10 from long-range and had the illuminating lights of L.A. shining on him late in the game, which could have boosted his confidence for the rest of the season. 24 points in the historic Staples Center may be precisely what he needed to jump-start his NBA career.
Starting Ferguson in Andre Roberson’s absence was a questionable call for Billy Donovan but ended up working spectacularly. Roberson won’t suit up Thursday night against the Los Angeles Clippers and a reasonable mind would assume Ferguson will get the start again, with the chance to capitalize on his impressive performance on Wednesday night.