Lakers take 26-point lead over Thunder without LeBron James


One night after staging a double-digit comeback without LeBron James, the Lakers showed on Wednesday how desperate they were to get him back.

Los Angeles fell 26 points ahead of the previously winless Thunder, losing 123-115 as James missed his second straight game. Oklahoma City dominated the Lakers 67-43 in the second half, shooting 40.5 percent from deep for the game. The victory equaled the Thunder the biggest comeback in franchise history.

Returning to Oklahoma City, Lakers point guard Russell Westbrook notched his first triple-double of the season but also made 10 turnovers. It was Westbrook’s sixth game with 10 turnovers and a triple-double. Only James Harden (three times) has achieved this feat more than once.

James missed his second straight game after injuring his right ankle in Sunday’s 121-118 home win over the Grizzlies, which was the Lakers’ first win of the season. In three games with James this season, Westbrook has averaged 12.0 points, 8.7 assists and 7.7 rebounds per game with just 34.9 percent shots from the field. He averaged a triple-double in two games without James, increasing his shooting percentage to 48.9%.

It’s unclear how long James will be missing, but the Lakers can’t afford to go long without him. James injured his same ankle last season and was limited to just 45 games. The Lakers went 12-15 in his absence, ultimately finishing with the seventh best record in the Western Conference.

The Lakers will play next Friday at home against the Cavaliers, then two straight games against the Rockets before hosting Oklahoma City.

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