Russell Westbrook led a balanced attack as the surging OKC Thunder (41-30) beat an energetic Lakers team 127-117 in Oklahoma City. Jeremy Lin was in the Lakers starting lineup for the first time since the 20th game of the season, when Lin’s roller coaster ride of playing time under Byron Scott began. But despite 30 solid minutes–scoring 19 points with 7 assists against 2 turnovers–Lin couldn’t push the outmatched Lakers past the Thunder, who had five players score in double figures.
The Lakers (18-51) have lost 10 of their last 12. In an experiment, Lin started next to Jordan Clarkson at guard. Clarkson was also highly effective in the combination, scoring 30 points with 7 assists and 3 turnovers. It’s difficult to judge–despite giving up 127 points–whether the Clarkson-Lin backcourt is a defensive liability. Because right now, nobody in the NBA can stop Russell Westbrook.