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In a real turning-of-the-tables event for this season, the undermanned Thunder handled the Lakers rather than the other way around. Oklahoma City got it done with defense, including an admirable group effort on LeBron James (7-19, for 19 points) and Anthony Davis (3-11, 9 points). Other than a meh scoring night from Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (3-11, 13 points), the starters all churned out their standard, balanced offensive output: 18 or more from Steven Adams, Danilo Gallinari, and Chris Paul, plus 14 from Lu Dort in an encouraging performance driven more by his aggression (6-6 from the line) than fluky shooting (0-4 from three).
The big caveat: Los Angeles recently clinched the #1 seed in the West and have basically nothing to play for the rest of the way. This felt very much like a low effort tune-up for their key players, and Frank Vogel opted to sub Davis out when they drew within 14 points with 3:36 left in the fourth quarter, rather than subbing James in to try and complete a comeback. Still, a win is a win, and OKC grips their own seeding fate a little bit tighter by sliding into the 5-seed with tiebreakers held over multiple teams jostling around them from the 4 to 7 range.