Aleksej Pokusevski learns valuable lesson in 1st encounter with Lakers

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Moke Hamilton
·2 min read
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The Los Angeles Lakers are the NBA’s defending champs, and on Wednesday night, they looked every bit like it.

The young Oklahoma City Thunder were on match for LeBron James and company, who soundly defeated Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and his team by a final score of 128-99.

Although occurring in a fairly lopsided loss, Thunder rookie Aleksej Pokusevski learned a valuable lesson from his first encounter with James and Anthony Davis — two players he said he recalls watching at just 10 years old.

Without question, the first encounter was quite the learning experience.

“From every game, we learn something,” Pokusevski said after the contest.

“Today, we probably learned that we gotta play —with those types of teams like the Lakers, they are a great team — you gotta play every minute. If you just stop playing for a minute, they’re gonna take the lead and then you gotta fight to get back. You just gotta run through the finish line, like coach says.”

By the end of the night, Pokusevski turned in a 10-point, four-rebound effort. It certainly wasn’t enough to help the Thunder pull out a win, but from a personal standpoint, for him, the motivation was there.

“It was great,” he said of the learning experience. “You always have motivation against those guys, for sure. It was tough, but of course I learned something. I’m gonna bring that to another game. It was a great experience, I was watching those guys playing when I was 10 years old… You just gotta keep fighting against those players.”

And hopefully, if things go according to plan, even if losses, head coach Mark Daigneault will see bits and pieces of Pokusevski’s progression. The neophyte, he says, is spending all his time in the gym.

“Right now, I’m working on everything: dribbling the ball, shooting, defense, I’m in the weight room like everyday tryring to improve my body, just working on everything because if you want to be a great player and help your team, you gotta be great at everything and be able to do everything on the court.”

Without question, greatness appears to be the goal here. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your perspective) Pokusevski got to see it firsthand on Wednesday night.

Oklahoma City will next take the floor on Friday when they play host to the Chicago Bulls.

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