LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Chris Paul had 21 points, seven rebounds and six assists in the Oklahoma City Thunder's 105-86 victory over the poor-shooting Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday night.
Danilo Gallinari scored 19 points and Steven Adams had 18 for the Thunder (42-25), who never trailed in their first win over the Lakers in four meetings this season. Oklahoma City pulled even with Houston for the fifth seed in the Western Conference playoff picture with five games left.
The 86 points were the fewest by the Lakers — and by a Thunder opponent — this season.
“We just tried to stick to the game plan,” Paul said. “We tried to keep those guys off the (free throw) line as much as possible. We tried to build a wall up on LeBron when he’s pushing it. Just trying to make it hard for them.”
LeBron James had 19 points and 11 rebounds for the Lakers (51-16), who had another possibly concerning offensive performance while dropping to 2-2 in the bubble. Los Angeles, which has already clinched the top seed in the West and the Pacific Division title, never held a lead for the first time all season.
“I think we had some great possessions,” James said. “I think sometimes we have some bad shot selection throughout the course of these games, but I think we got some great looks. Our defense is pretty good. We only allowed the Thunder to shoot 43% from the field. We’ll get our rhythm and start making some.”
The Lakers went a season-worst 5 for 37 on 3-pointers and made only 35% of their shots overall. Los Angeles dropped two games behind Milwaukee for the NBA's best overall record, which won't provide a real home-court advantage in the NBA Finals this year.
“We’re building habits, and every time we’re out there we have a chance to build and find rhythms,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “These games are still really important for us to do that.”