NBA: Backed by LeBron James' 33 points, Lakers roll past Thunder

Field Level Media/Reuters

Posted at Dec 11 2021 01:40 PM

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) shoots as Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kenrich Williams (34) defends during the second quarter at Paycom Center. Alonzo Adams, USA TODAY Sports via Reuters
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) shoots as Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kenrich Williams (34) defends during the second quarter at Paycom Center. Alonzo Adams, USA TODAY Sports via Reuters

LeBron James scored 33 points to lead the Los Angeles Lakers to a 116-95 win over the host Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday.

Twice earlier this season, the Lakers had built big leads — of 19 and 26 points, respectively — before the Thunder came back to win.

But James played in neither of those games.

In this one, James made his presence felt from the start, scoring the Lakers' first six points in helping Los Angeles build a 25-point lead by midway through the second quarter.

James hit all five of his second-quarter shots, scoring 14 points.

But the Thunder cut the lead to 12 with a 16-3 run. Oklahoma City was 7 for 8 from the field during the four-minute stretch while the Lakers missed seven consecutive shots.

Los Angeles stemmed the tide by scoring the last seven points of the half, and less than two minutes into the third quarter, the Lakers' lead was back up to 25.

Avery Bradley fueled the Lakers on both ends of the court in the third, with 11 points and three steals. Bradley scored a season-high 22, going 8 of 14 from the field with six 3-pointers.

James was 13 of 20 from the field, including 9 of 10 in the first half.

Oklahoma City missed its first 12 3-pointers, not hitting one from beyond the arc until early in the second quarter. The Thunder finished 10 of 44 on 3-pointers.

Rookie Tre Mann led Oklahoma City with a season-high 19 points.

While the Lakers won comfortably, they struggled on the defensive glass, giving up 19 offensive rebounds. But the Thunder couldn't take advantage much, scoring just nine second-chance points on 3-of-11 shooting.

The Lakers were without Anthony Davis for just the second time this season. Davis was out with left knee soreness one night after scoring 22 in a loss at Memphis.

The loss snapped a two-game winning streak for Oklahoma City, which has lost nine of its last 11.

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