West Notes: Lakers, LeBron James, Thunder, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Blazers


The Lakers have had an interesting — and fairly inconsistent — week. They beat the Cavaliers in Cleveland, lost to the 76ers by 44 points, beat the Pistons by 26 and then lost to the Thunder by 23.LeBron James is defended by Jaylen Williams

Basically, you never know which Lakers team you’re going to get these days.

But that’s what can happen when you’re a little injury-plagued, as Los Angeles was without several key rotation players vs. the Thunder. The list: Cam Reddish (right groin soreness), Rui Hachimura (nasal fracture), Jaxson Hayes (left elbow soreness), Jarred Vanderbilt (left heel bursitis) and Gabe Vincent (swollen left knee joint).

“I have no idea where we are,” star forward LeBron James told reporters of the 11-9 Lakers. “We don’t have a group yet. I know what some of us individually are.”

  • Coach Darvin Ham on the loss: “We knew this was going to be tough at the end of the road trip. Our guys fought to the best of their ability. You know, obviously, there’s some things we need to clean up and we could have done better. We tried our best under the circumstances.”


Thunder coach Mark Daigneault said the Thunder simply refused to be denied in racing past the Lakers on Thursday.

“I thought it was an energy, work win tonight,” he told reporters. “I just thought we really exerted ourselves on the game and our defense — how we scrambled, our running. We were just fast tonight.”

  • Guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was again outstanding with 33 points on 11-of-18 shooting. “I really like my teammates, like genuinely,” Gilgeous-Alexander said. “It’s a special group of guys, and I enjoy being around them. And then I prioritize winning, and you can’t win alone.”
  • Forward Chet Holmgren also gave reason to believe he’s in the Rookie of the Year running, scoring 18. Holmgren is starting to resemble a young Kevin Durant. “It starts on the defensive end, really playing as a unit, playing together and for each other, and then it kind of spirals into our offense,” he said of the win. “Everybody, when we get to that stage, that flow state, I guess — it really comes down to everybody playing confident. And not just themselves, but in others and playing for each other.”

Trail Blazers

The Blazers have won back-to-back road games over teams with winning records, defeating the Pacers and then the Cavaliers.

The win at Indiana marked their first of the season against a team with a winning record. The win at Cleveland was the second. And they nearly beat the Bucks in Milwaukee to start off the trip.

  • Guard Shaedon Sharpe was brilliant in the win over the Cavs, scoring 29 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. “Shaedon was special tonight and everyone else chipped in,” Blazers coach Chauncey Billups said. “He made big shots and got some grown-man rebounds. I got on him at halftime because he was playing like we was in the summertime, playing pickup basketball.”
  • The Blazers have been rewarded a $5.8 million player exception by the NBA following the season-ending injury to center Robert Williams III, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

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