The Los Angeles Lakers will travel to the Chesapeake Energy Arena to take on the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night to take on the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Lakers are 8-3 and are on the second leg of a back-to-back after facing off in Houston against the Rockets last night. The Thunder are 5-4 on the year and are also on the second of a back-to-back after facing off against the San Antonio Spurs. The Thunder lost three of four meetings against the Lakers last season but won the last game inside the Bubble.
These teams have been around the same level in the beginning stages of the season. Let’s take a deeper dive into the Los Angeles Lakers and Oklahoma City Thunder to figure out where we should be placing our wagers.
King James in the Building
The Oklahoma City Thunder have been an average defense to this point of the season as the 108.9 points per game, which is 11th in the nation. In the game against the Nets, they allowed 116 points on 43-of-85 (50.6 percent) from the floor, 10-of-34 (29.4 percent) from beyond the arc, and 24 free-throw attempts. They have to stop allowing easy baskets if they want to get a streak going.
Smooth Like ShaiThe Thunder have been depending on shooting guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to carry the offensive load in the beginning stages of the season. He is averaging 21 points, 5.3 rebounds, 6.8 assists, 0.6 blocks, and 1.1 steals in 33.6 minutes per game. He is continuing to improve his shooting as he is 47.9 percent from the floor, 35.3 percent from beyond the arc, and 77.1 percent from the charity stripe. In the game against the Nets, Gilgeous-Alexander played 36 minutes and finished with 31 points, six rebounds, seven assists, a block, and two steals. If he can continue improving his shooting, the Thunder will be in a better position.
The Los Angeles Lakers have been excellent on the defensive side of the ball this season as they are the fourth-ranked defense by giving up 106.2 points per game. In the first game against the Rockets, they allowed 102 points on 37-of-90 (41.1 percent) from the floor, 12-of-41 (29.3 percent) from deep, and 23 free-throw attempts. They need to continue defending the three-point shot at a high clip if they want to maintain their solid start.