Since February, D’Angelo Russell and Anthony Davis have been lights out

In the Los Angeles Lakers’ 116-104 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday night, D’Angelo Russell scored 26 points and nailed five 3-pointers, while Anthony Davis had 24 points and 12 rebounds.

LeBron James led the Lakers to their 10th victory in 14 games, with 19 points, 11 rebounds, and eight assists. Austin Reaves scored 16 points and four three-pointers for the Lakers, who won their third straight game against the Western Conference-leading Thunder to win the season series.

“They’re so well-coached that you can’t relax,” Russell admitted. “That team has everything you need to win and perform well at this level. You have to be prepared to play against those guys. It is not a fluke (to beat them).”

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Chet Holmgren, center, works for a rebound between Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) and forward Anthony Davis during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, March 4, 2024, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

 In his first game since scoring his record 40,000th career point in a defeat to Denver, James nearly had a triple-double before sitting out the final six minutes due to the Lakers’ large advantage. Davis was able to sit out the whole fourth quarter, during which the Lakers made six 3-pointers in a row, increasing their lead to 25 points.

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Russell capped the Lakers’ stunning revival by nailing three consecutive 3-pointers with growing theatricality.

D'Angelo Russell scores 26 points, leads surging Lakers past West-leading  Thunder 116-104 | Nba | lancasteronline.com

“My teammates find me when I’m hot,” Russell remarked. “It makes it easier for me to spread the floor like that. This is what gunfire does. It is a delight.”

D'Angelo Russell scores 26 points, leads surging Lakers past West-leading  Thunder 116-104

Russell passed to James before his third 3-pointer with 9:06 left, but James whipped the ball right back to him for a shot that left Russell lying on his back from uncalled defensive contact, giving the Lakers a 103-79 lead and prompting a standing ovation.

“I didn’t realise I made the shot,” Russell admitted. “I just kind of tossed it up there. “Lucky shot.”

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 20 points for the Thunder, who fell for the second time in nine games, snapping an eight-game streak of 30-point performances. Lu Dort and Chet Holmgren added 15 points each.

“Our offence started strong, but our overall sharpness was lacking,” Thunder coach Mark Daigneault remarked. “On defence, we turned them over several times, which kept us in the game. But it’s not our fastball tonight. I just didn’t think we were as quick on offence as we needed to be. A club like that, with its size and physicality, need shots against them, but we just didn’t do it enough.”

Oklahoma City made a season-low 30.6% of its shots in the first half while playing on somewhat tired legs during the third stop of a four-game road trip that included a taxing win over Phoenix on Sunday.

“Obviously, they’re coming off a tough back-to-back,” Reaves told reporters. “But any time you can beat a team of that calibre with confidence going into the fourth quarter, it speaks volumes about your offensive and defensive performance. … It feels good to beat a team that has been playing really excellent basketball, and it gives you some momentum going forward.”

Both teams struggled in the first half. The Thunder stormed off to a fast 12-point lead, but then went 2-for-21, allowing the Lakers to establish a double-digit lead despite 12 turnovers.

Jaylin Williams, Oklahoma City’s big man, missed his second consecutive game due to a sprained left knee. Mike Muscala made his first appearance since returning to the Thunder from Detroit, scoring five points in 11 minutes.

Harry Giles III made his Lakers debut in the closing minutes.

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