The Oklahoma City Thunder will play a matchup against the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night at the Staples Center. The rise of the Thunder has come with the decline of the Lakers in the past few seasons. The Lakers have been one of the better teams of this century (2000-present), but they have lost a step or two since the loss of owner Jerry Buss. This team failed to make the playoffs last season, which was the first time since 2004 that they missed the postseason. They have only missed the playoffs 6 times in their history, and are dangerously close to a seventh.
This is still one of the best swingman matchups in the NBA. Kobe Bryant, who just passed Michael Jordan on the all-time NBA scoring list, is still playing at an elite level. Bryant has been averaging 25.2 points per game, as well as 5 assists and 1.4 steals. He’ll likely be on Kevin Durant-duty. Durant has been averaging 25.5 points per game in his 8 games so far this season. Because of this, ticket prices still remain high despite LA’s poor record (8-17).
According to Totally Tickets, prices for this game have increased by 7% in the past seven days. This could be due to Oklahoma City’s seven-game win streak, and just the return of Durant and Westbrook in general. Also, it will be on a Friday, which makes it easier for fans to go to the game. This puts the average price for this game at $255.99. Despite being one of the worst teams in the NBA, the Lakers tend to attract higher ticket prices. You can pay as low as $41.00 to get into the Staples Center on Friday night. Although not by much, you might see Thunder ticket prices drop now that Durant’s status for this game is questionable.
One unique matchup to watch is Lakers’ center Jordan Hill against Steve Adams. Hill is a promising player, and has been very effective from his center spot this season. Hill is averaging 13 points per game, and is the best rebounder on the Lakers. Durant may not play due to a sprained ankle that he suffered against Golden State on Thursday. If he doesn’t play, look for Bryant to cause major problems for the defense of OKC.
If Hill and power forward Carlos Boozer can beat Adams and Perkins up on the boards, Oklahoma City may be in trouble. Oklahoma City cannot look past L.A., because a win like this could catapult the Lakers into a position to put a run together. They could be in a ton of trouble if they lose the reigning NBA MVP for an extended period of time.