OKLAHOMA CITY – Carmelo Anthony is settling into his new role.
He scored 27 points to help the Thunder beat the Lakers 114-90 on Wednesday night.
Anthony became one of the most prolific scorers in the NBA history playing mainly isolation ball, but coach Billy Donovan has asked him to become more of a catch-and-shoot scorer. It worked in this case: the 33-year-old forward made 10 of 15 shots in total and threw 4 of 6 in triples in one of his best performances of the season.
"Once you accept something, regardless, that is, you feel comfortable with that," he said. "I think you start putting everything into it and you start working on that role and that acceptance and it becomes fun." I think at this moment, I accepted that role in early December and the game is starting to be fun again. Fun for me and fun for us as a team. "
Steven Adams had 21 points and 10 rebounds and Russell Westbrook added 19 points and seven assists for the Thunder, who won his third straight game. The Thunder shot 48 percent overall and outscored the Lakers 54-30.
"They gave us a big hug," said Lakers rookie forward Kyle Kuzma. "Steven Adams, we could not stop him from getting rebounds today, he was the head of the snake in that department."
Lakers rookie point guard Lonzo Ball missed his second straight game with a left knee injury. The Lakers are 0-8 when they do not play, and have scored less than 100 points in six of those games.
Injury news worsened for the Lakers. Kuzma left with a sprained finger joint and did not return, and striker Kentavious Caldwell-Pope left with an Achilles tendon injury and did not return.
"Play as a defensive team, just be solid," Kuzma said. "There must be a lot of basketball equipment."
Seven of Adams' rebounds were on the offensive side. The Thunder have gotten used to him by rescuing them.
"We can take any shot we want because he will go for it," said Thunder forward Paul George. "We feel that, Russ feels that, Melo feels that, he puts us in a better rhythm knowing that there is a guy that, whether it's a good or bad shot, it's possible to get an offensive basket anyway for Steven. to be more aggressive, there are not many guys that can physically match him, he's in a category of his own. "
Julius Randle scored all 16 points in the first half for the Lakers.
The Thunder led 60-54 at halftime, behind 16 points from Anthony and 14 from Adams. Westbrook had only two points to score eight in the final three minutes of the second quarter.
Oklahoma City started strong in the second half. A triple from George increased the lead to 11, and a 3-pointer from Westbrook midway through the fourth pushed the margin to 14.
Westbrook got Corey Brewer out of balance with multiple crossed dribbles before blowing him for a layup that gave the Thunder an 86-70 lead. A triple by Anthony put the score 91-70 and forced the Lakers to call a timeout at the end of the third quarter. The Thunder controlled the game the rest of the way.
"Only hit the shots," said Kuzma. "We really do not defend them too well, they have a lot of good players."