At the end of a Lakers meltdown in blowing a 26-point lead that led to an inexplicable 123-115 loss to an Oklahoma City Thunder team that had entered the game winless, Russell Westbrook lost his composure and was ejected from the game.
In reality, though, this was a loss every Laker has to share in even it was the second of back-to-back games.
And all LeBron James could do was watch from the bench because his sore right ankle had kept him out of a second consecutive game.
But even James had to be bewildered at what he was seeing from his teammates blowing a lead that had been 72-44 in the second quarter.
Anthony Davis decided to give it a go despite having sore right knee soreness. He played 36 minutes 32 seconds and had 30 points and eight rebounds.
“It’s really not much to be said, to be honest,” Davis said. “We got a veteran ballclub. We know we’re not supposed to lose that game. It’s a tough one, for sure, just because this team was struggling and the way we had the lead. We was up 41-19… And we’re supposed to win this one. But I think it’s one that we just flush it.”
The game was essentially over for the Lakers when Thunder forward Darius Bazley stole a Rajon Rondo pass with 3.1 seconds left and Oklahoma City up 120-115. But instead of running out the clock, Bazley raced in for a dunk with 1.5 seconds left for the fallen Lakers to walk out of Paycom Center on Wednesday night.
Westbrook took exception and exchanged words with Bazley.
That earned Westbrook a technical foul, his second of the game, and an ejection.
“Just how I play the game and I’m more old-school and when [stuff] like that happens I don’t let it slide,” Westbrook said. “So, I take it on the chin and move on. But the game of basketball, there are certain things you don’t do. Like in baseball, you don’t flip the bat.
“It’s certain things you don’t do. It’s certain things in sports. The game is already over. And I didn’t like it. Simple as that.”
He had produced his first triple-double with the Lakers with 20 points, 14 rebounds and 13 assists. But even that was muted because it became a quadruple-double with his 10 turnovers.
Throw in two technical fouls and getting tossed it obviously wasn’t the kind of night Westbrook had envisioned upon his return to the city where he spent the first 11 years of his career.
The fans had cheered Westbrook when he was introduced, but they booed him as he walked to the Lakers locker room after being thrown out of the game.
With the entire Thunder starting five scoring in double figures and a reserve doing the same, the Lakers didn’t have enough fight or firepower to match the 1-4 Thunder.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led the Thunder with 27 points and Bazley had 20.
Despite their poor play in the second half that got the Lakers down by eight points in the fourth, they still had three opportunities to tie the score on three-point attempts.
Westbrook missed a three-point try with the Lakers trailing 118-115.
The Thunder got the rebound, but were called for an eight-second violation, giving the ball back to the Lakers.
After another Lakers timeout with 17.7 seconds left, Malik Monk, who started in place of James for the second straight game, shot an airball three-pointer.
But even then, the Thunder couldn’t close the game, turning the ball over.
As the ball rolled toward him near the three-point arc, Carmelo Anthony also shot an airball with 5.7 seconds left.
Perhaps, Davis was asked, the Lakers are still adjusting to one another this early in the season and that led to the loss.
“No. This ain’t no adjustment period at all. Not this game. That’s just straight on us. It’s not. No,” he said. “Other games, possible. But this isn’t an adjustment game where I feel like it’s, ‘Oh, we’re still learning each other. We’re still …’ Nah. Not this game.”