NBA

Streaking Lakers overcoming Oklahoma 'no fluke', claims Russell

By Sports Desk March 05, 2024

D'Angelo Russell insisted the Los Angeles Lakers proved their quality by overcoming the Oklahoma City Thunder, in a win he labelled as "no fluke".

Russell was the star of the show for the Lakers in their 116-104 triumph on Monday, sinking five 3-pointers in a 26-point haul.

Anthony Davis backed Russell up with 24 points and 12 rebounds, while LeBron James added 19 points and 11 rebounds.

The Lakers have now won 10 of their last 14 games, while the Thunder were knocked off of their perch at the Western Conference summit.

"They're so well-coached that you can't relax," Russell said of facing the Thunder, who have now lost two of their last three games after going on a six-game winning streak.

"That team has got everything you need to win and to be efficient at this level. You've got to be ready to play against those guys. It's no fluke [to beat them]."

Austin Reaves, who shot four 3s, added: "Obviously, they're coming off a tough back-to-back.

"But any time you can beat a team confidently going into the fourth of that calibre, it speaks to what you did offensively and defensively.

"Anytime you beat a team like that that’s been playing really good basketball, it feels good and it gives you some momentum going forward."

The Lakers managed to keep Shai Gilgeous-Alexander under wraps, limiting him to 20 points, ending a run of eight successive 30-point performances for the Thunder's talisman.

"Our start was good offensively, but our overall sharpness just wasn't there," Thunder coach Mark Daigneault reflected.

"Defensively, we turned them over a bunch of times, and that kept us in it. But certainly not our fastball tonight.

"I just didn't think we were as sharp offensively as we needed to be. A team like that that’s got size and physicality, that's a requirement to hit shots against them, but we just didn't do that enough."

The Thunder were replaced at the top of the West by the Minnesota Timberwolves, who beat the Portland Trail Blazers 119-114.

Rudy Gobert recorded his 43rd double-double of the season, and the Timberwolves have now swept the Trail Blazers in their four meetings with Portland this term.

"We absolutely had to have this one," said Timberwolves coach Chris Finch, whose team had lost their previous two games.

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