Wednesday night the Lakers blew a 26 point lead to the Oklahoma City Thunder. As I type this, the press is almost certainly ripping the Lakers to shreds after this type of meltdown. The Lakers deserve the bad press, however. The Lakers handed the Thunder their first win of the season, which makes the disastrous upset even worse. The Lakers have a problem, and even in their two wins this season, the problem is easy to see.
The Third Quarter
The 2021-22 Lakers come out of halftime looking like they're running in molasses. Over their last four games, the Lakers have been outscored in the third quarter by an embarrassing 147-95. That is very bad, in the simplest terms. This includes two of the games in which they managed to squeak out a win. If the Lakers don't fix their issues playing defense and keeping up the scoring coming out of halftime, get ready to see these kinds of tweets all season.
Tonight, it was their inability to stop Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and their turnovers. Alexander scored 27 points for the game, and 22 of those points came in the 3rd quarter. Overall, the Lakers were outscored 41-23 tonight in the third quarter, and that's the ball game.
The Lakers can't just blame the lack of LeBron James. With respect to the Oklahoma City Thunder, they are in a rebuilding phase. Alexander is a superstar in the making, but even an understaffed Lakers team should have run this Thunder team out of the building. LA needs to fix the bleeding coming out of the locker room at halftime. Who is going to be the spark? If not a single-person spark, how are they going to lockdown defensively to stop letting teams average 37 points in the third quarter? These questions are coming. It's up to Frank Vogel and company to fix it.