National Basketball Association wrap: Lakers survive Balls gaffe to beat Thunder in OT

Westbrook missed two critical shots at the rim in the final minute, but the Thunder put the game back into his hands in the final seconds and it paid off.

Los Angeles Lakers guard Rajon Rondo has received clearance to resume full-contact practices, the team announced Friday. Even Lakers superstar LeBron James took to Twitter to question why the referees made a decision to call it a shooting foul.

The Lakers face the Thunder and Houston Rockets on Thursday and Saturday respectively.

James was said to be fond of the team's young core, yet trade speculation involving Kawhi Leonard persisted. Kyle Kuzma scored a game-high 32 points for the Lakers, while pulling down eight rebounds and dishing out four assists.

Indeed he did. Ball opened the OT scoring with a deep 3-pointer, and later added a layup towards his 18 points, 10 assists and six boards with a steal, while holding Westbrook scoreless in OT.

James Harden has been on a scoring tear through the first 41 games he is averaging a league leading 35.4 points, 6.3 rebounds and 8.5 assists a game.

The coach's latest update will be music to the ears of everyone connected to the Lakers, especially after ESPN's Brian Windhorst indicated that the injury was not getting better and that the forward faced another couple of weeks on the sidelines. With the much-needed win, Los Angeles improved to 24-21 overall and 15-9 at home.

Steven Adams delivered another productive showing, but the Oklahoma City Thunder can't shake their recent losing struggles.

While LeBron is expected to return to practice next week, the worries of reinjury will be plaguing the minds of the players and management of the Lakers alike. This is his first season with the Lakers, who signed him in July as a free agent. Assuming that's true, he will have missed more games (14) than in any previous season.

"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.

  • Rosalie Stanley