Well, so much for an exciting return to Oklahoma City for Russell Westbrook.
How bad was it? So bad that the Lakers blew a 26-point lead and Westbrook got ejected.
Other than that, things went great for LA — who played for a second straight night without LeBron James, and it proved costly.
Final score: Lowly Thunder 123, Lakers 115.
James was out with a sore ankle, and the Lakers ended up sore because of it.
Westbrook wasn’t terrible, just sort of sporadic. He actually erupted for a quadruple-double of 20 points, 14 rebounds and 13 assists … and a whopping 10 turnovers.
With Anthony Davis going for 30 points, you could make the case that the Lakers without James are nothing more than Davis’ old Pelicans had they traded for Westbrook. Good, but probably going nowhere.
Not without James, anyway.
It truly was the tale of two halves, as the Lakers put on an absolute clinic in the first 24 minutes, resembling the Harlem Globetrotters to the Thunder’s Washington Generals.
“Not one, not two, but three Lakers had reverse alley-oop dunks in the first half, as Davis, DeAndre Jordan and Malik Monk all yammed on the rim without much interference from the Thunder defense,” wrote Kyle Goon of the LA Daily News.
Then came the collapse.
It got so bad that Westbrook’s second technical — and the ensuing ejection — almost seemed to be by design. He threw so many passes to nobody in particular that he probably just wanted to get out of the place.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led the Thunder with 27 points and nine rebounds. He was, in a word, fantastic. Oh, and this was the first win for OKC (1-4).
The Lakers return home Friday to face the Cavaliers, LeBron’s old team. He remains questionable to play.