Behind Kyle Kuzma’s heroics, Lakers top Thunder in OT without LeBron

Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

The Lakers have upcoming games against three of the top teams in the Western Conference including the Warriors, Thunder, and Rockets. Though the Lakers have struggled without LeBron James, Buss could be the reason Luke Walton sticks around to see things through, according to Marc Stein of the New York Times. The Thunder opened the night as 10-point favorites against the short-handed Lakers and, if not for the grandeur associated with a TNT broadcast on a Thursday evening, the contest may have felt rather anonymous.

It took overtime, but the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 138-128 on Thursday night.

James was said to be fond of the team's young core, yet trade speculation involving Kawhi Leonard persisted. Unfortunately for Ball, Westbrook elevated for a shot as soon as Ball grabbed him, and the official blew the whistle for a shooting foul.

But the Lakers have confirmed James will miss both games in the hope of resuming training next week.

After building a big early lead thanks to the 3-pointer, the Thunder faltered from behind the arc in overtime, going 2-for-11 on threes. When the team returns to Los Angeles, LeBron will join them for his first practice of the new year.

Beasley finished with five points, two assists and two rebounds in his nine minutes of action, to go along with his Shaqtin' A Fool moment.

The Thunder, among the best defensive teams in the league during the first half of the season, have allowed an average of 130.2 points in their past six games.

Without LeBron, the Lakers will have to figure out how to cool down the red-hot James Harden, who dropped back-to-back 50-point games. This season's total already represents the most games he has missed consecutively in any season, eclipsing the eight straight he sat out in 2014-15 while dealing with back and knee pain.

"At one point a month ago, they were dangling Lonzo [Ball] a little bit, but now they don't want to trade him", one of the execs said.

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