The Oklahoma City Thunder held off a late flurry for the Los Angeles Lakers to win 114-108. The win was Oklahoma City’s seventh straight win, and a great way to start their home stand. Kevin Durant added 36 points, nine rebounds and four assists, along with Russell Westbrook’s career first half, finishing with 33 points, 8 assists. The win improved Oklahoma City to 20-4, and 10-2 at home. They’ve won four consecutive games over the Lakers dating back to last year’s playoffs.
In a battle of two teams that met in last year’s playoffs, both teams are going in different directions. The Los Angeles Lakers are reeling and the Oklahoma City Thunder are surging. This first quarter didn’t look like it as much, as Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard were scoring and rebounding to give the Lakers an early lead. Los Angeles led by as many as six points at 27-21 with 45 seconds to go in the first quarter.
Russell Westbrook who started hot continued his hot streak as the buzzer sounded for the first quarter. He nailed the first two threes for the first points for Oklahoma City to start the game. Ending the quarter, he walked up confidently and drained a three at the buzzer to cut the Lakers lead to one point at 27-26. He ended with 13 first quarter points.
The Lakers tried to make it a game, but Kevin Durant and Westbrook took over in the second quarter and basically put this game away. After the Lakers took a 37-35 lead with nine minutes to go. The Lakers didn’t have much to say after that. Westbrook and Durant combined to go 8-for-10 from the floor for 26 points in the final nine minutes. Oklahoma saw a deficit turn into a 16 point lead. Westbrook hit a career high five three-pointers in the first half. Those were the most for an entire game, he did it in the first half.
In the big win, Serge Ibaka quietly had 14 points and six rebounds. Kevin Martin was quiet in the second half. He finished with nine, the same total he had in the first half. Thabo Sefolosha chipped in five points. Unfortnuately, Eric Maynor struggled shooting and playing again. He was the lowest +/- for the Thunder at 0.
It was a different half for Russell Westbrook. He came out and was 0-for-6 in the second half. However, he were able get his team involved. Westbrook accounted for four assists in the second half, and three of them were to Nick Collison. Collison contributed 13 points in 16 game minutes. Collison also chipped in seven points.
Oklahoma City pushed their lead to as much as 17 points in the third quarter, before Kobe Bryant tried to make a run in the quarter. Los Angeles couldn’t get within 12 points of Oklahoma City in the third quarter. It seemed every time the Lakers tried to make a push, Durant had an answer for the Lakers. Durant popped 10 points in the quarter.
It seemed the Thunder were cruising in the fourth quarter up 100-81 with 7:42 left in the game. Bryant tried his best to will the Lakers to a victory. However, wasn’t meant to be. Even though, the Lakers outscored Oklahoma City 27-14 in the final 7 1/2 minutes.
Keys to the Game
Thunder Defense: B
Oklahoma City forced the Lakers to shoot just 43 percent from the floor. However, the Lakers shot almost 40 percent from three-point range, keeping them in the game. Los Angeles accounted for 11 made threes in 28 attempts. For three quarters, Los Angeles was really shut down for most of the game.
After just four first half turnovers, the Thunder were sloppy in the second half. Oklahoma City turned the ball over 10 tiems in the second half, accounting for 11 points for the Lakers. However, for the most part, the Thunder took care of the ball for the most part, and it was key in Oklahoma City’s victory.
Offensive Rebounds: C
It was a bad night on the glass for the Thunder. They allowed 15 offensive rebounds, accounting for 15 seconds chance points for the Lakers. The reason why they get a C is due to the fact that they grabbed 11 of their own offensive boards, and it was for 11 Thunder points. Could have been a lot worse though.