Oklahoma City thumps LA side, Raptors and Celtics notch wins
Friday, August 7th, 2020
Having clinched a Western Conference top seed in the NBA playoffs, the Los Angeles Lakers began experimenting for the post-season Wednesday and found they still have some work to do.
In their first game since taking the top spot, the Lakers were routed 105-86 by Oklahoma City, never leading for the first time all season.
Chris Paul scored a game-high 21 points and Italian forward Danilo Gallinari added 19 as the Thunder, 42-25, stayed one game behind Utah for fourth in the West.
Three-time NBA champion LeBron James led the Lakers with 19 points and 11 rebounds in 30 minutes on the court while Anthony Davis had nine points, eight rebounds and five assists.
“Some things we need to continue to work on,” James said. “We’ve been out 4 1/2 months.
“When you put in the hours, put in the reps, you can’t worry to much. You’ve got to go get it.”
Everyone on the Lakers’ roster played as the purple and gold looked to the playoffs by testing combinations and talent to see who might work well together when needed later in the Orlando bubble, where games resumed last week after a four-month COVID-19 hiatus.
“We have some guys who are new to the system,” James said. “We’re just trying to fit everybody in, do it on the fly, but at the same time get our legs back underneath us.”
The Orlando Magic and Brooklyn Nets each could have clinched an Eastern Conference playoff berth with a victory, but both were beaten by title contenders.
Fred VanVleet scored a game-high 21 points and matched Kyle Lowry’s game-high 10 assists to spark the defending NBA champion Toronto Raptors over Orlando 109-99.
The Magic fell to 32-37, a half-game behind the seventh-place Brooklyn Nets, who fell to Boston 149-115.
Jaylen Brown led the Celtics with 21 points and Jason Tatum added 19 as Boston had seven double-figure scorers and unleashed the team’s highest one-game point total of the season despite playing without rested star guard Kemba Walker. -AFP