One big question for the Lakers leading into the trade deadline was whether they would upgrade at point guard.
The answer seemed to come in the form of Ramon Sessions, whom the Lakers acquired from Cleveland for a first-round pick, Luke Walton, Jason Kapono and less than $1 million in cash. The Lakers noticed an impact right away with his quickness on the court. Coach Mike Brown and teammates appreciated how quickly he learned the offense.
But Oklahoma City stole the Lakers' thunder Thursday night in a 102-93 victory over the Lakers at Staples Center. Sessions had no answers for Thunder guard Russell Westbrook, who drove to the basket with ease and scored from outside on the way to 36 points. Sessions scored seven points, with five assists and five turnovers.
The Lakers are 4-4 since Sessions' arrival.
"It's not one of those things that's 100% yet," Sessions said. "But that's no excuse."
Sessions has scored only seven points in each of the last two games after averaging 15.8 points in the previous five. He has started the last four games, and that apparently has been an adjustment.
"Coming in with the second unit, he had a little bit of freedom to go out and play the game and not worry about taking too many shots," Brown said. "Or not getting the guys enough touches or the right spot."
Brown is also working with Sessions on how to run the offense and move without the ball.
"I was always in a pick-and-roll system," said Sessions, who has also played with Milwaukee, Minnesota and Cleveland in his five-year NBA career. "I'm used to having the ball. That's definitely something I have to adjust to."
He also needs to work on his defense, which was clear Thursday.
Sessions' arrival has helped the Lakers increase their scoring (100.63 points a game with him compared with 96 on the season). But they are giving up more points (99.5 compared with 93.4) and allowing opponents to shoot better (45.2% to 42.7%).
Thursday, when Sessions played underneath screens set for Westbrook, the Thunder guard simply took open jumpers. When the Lakers played over the picks so their front line could double on Westbrook, he simply drove past them.
"All five guys have to be involved with him," Sessions said. "When he's hitting a 15- or 17-footer, it's tough for our coverage."
Brown sees Sessions' improvement as a process.
"It's going to take a little bit of time for him," Brown said, "to figure out how to continue to help us."