While addressing reporters 75 minutes before tipoff, Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni tried to keep a straight face when asked if he was surprised Thunder power forward Serge Ibaka had not been suspended for Tuesday night's game at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
D'Antoni insisted he wanted OKC to be at full strength.
“I want them all to be there and see where we are, and see where we have to go,” D'Antoni said, trying to gauge exactly where his .500 team stood against one of the league elite teams.
Where the Lakers stood was on the lower end of a 122-105 final as the Thunder improved to 27-4 at home on the season.
OKC (44-16) never trailed and led by as many as 18, but the game actually was much closer than the final. The Thunder closed out the game with a 12-0 run after the Lakers (30-31) had pulled to within 110-105 with 6:14 remaining.
It wasn't known until roughly 5½ hours before Tuesday's 8:40 p.m. start that Ibaka was cleared to play after punching Los Angeles Clippers forward and former Oklahoma standout Blake Griffin in the groin during OKC's 108-104 victory Sunday afternoon at Staples Center.
Rather than being sidelined with a one-game suspension, Ibaka was fined $25,000 and his Flagrant I foul was upgraded to a Flagrant II.
The first basket of the game was a running hook in the lane from Ibaka that bounced high off the rim before going through.