Imagine this: you’re 23. You’re a rookie, a second round draft pick with all of 17 minutes under your belt. Kobe is out with a sore elbow, and you finally get your big break: your first NBA start. The excitement quickly turns to anxiety and perhaps nausea as you remember your defensive assignment–who, by the way, is still the second best player in the world.
It doesn’t take much of an imagination to figure out what comes next. Durant absolutely torched Brown and the Lakers en route to a pedestrian 118-78 victory. It was a wire to wire blowout for the OKC over a dismal Lakers team.
In fact, the score at the end of the first quarter was Kevin Durant: 14, Lakers: 15. He ended the game with a relatively run-of-the-mill statline, notching 22 points on 7-13 shooting with eight rebounds. Maybe in this kind of blowout, it’s best for Durant to save some energy for a night the Thunder will need it.
“These guys looked like they were scared tonight,” said Byron Scott, head coach of Los Angeles. “Or intimidated by Durant and (Russell) Westbrook.” Young players like Julius Randle and D’Angelo Russell disagreed with their coach, but there isn’t a whole lot of room to speak after a 40 point blowout loss.
Enes Kanter was impressive in his time off the bench, scoring 19 and grabbing 15 boards.
The Thunder are now 18-9, while the Lakers fall to 4-23.
None of the Thunder starters played in the fourth quarter, so they should be well-rested for Monday’s road test against the Los Angeles Clippers. Tipoff is at 9 p.m. central.