Call it an epic meltdown or a gutsy comeback, but the winless Thunder stormed back from a 26-point deficit to defeat the Lakers as OKC rookie Josh Giddey put his name in the NBA record books.
Giddey, who turned 19 this month, scored 18 points and dished out 10 assists, becoming the third-youngest player ever to record 10 assists in an NBA game behind LeBron James.
It was Giddey’s first double-double and the team’s first win of the season at the expense of the Lakers, who were without James for the second game in a row.
“For me, it’s more than the stats. Tonight, I would rather have zero points and get the win than have big figures and to lose a game,” said Giddey during the post-game press conference. “I’m happy we got a win tonight. It was a big one for us. Hopefully, it gives us some momentum going forward.”
Los Angeles started strong, leading by 22 points at the end of the first quarter and finishing the half up 72-56, but LA’s bad defense, turnovers, and missed shots gave OKC all the opportunity they needed to come back.
“The second half, we were good. We were really good. We flipped the switch,” said Giddey. “It would have been easy for us to lay down and let them roll over us, but to the guys’ credit, we came out full that second half and we gradually kept chipping away at it.”
OKC played energetic, inspired ball, outscoring the Lakers by 18 points in the third quarter to take the lead.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led six Thunder players in double-digit scoring with 27 points, plus 9 rebounds, and 5 assists, while Anthony Davis led all scorers with 30 points.
But Davis’ effort couldn’t undo the Lakers’ lackluster second-half play or Russell Westbrook.
Russ notched another triple-double, but his quadruple-double of 10 turnovers was getting all the attention after the game.
Still, credit must be given to the young, scrappy Thunder and their rookie standout.
“It’s just about making plays in the crunch time,” said Giddey, who, despite a late errant inbound pass to LaMelo Ball, helped lead his team to victory.
“I thought we were good tonight. We handled ourselves pretty well.”
The Thunder will go for their second win of the season Saturday against Golden State.