Oklahoma City trailed early in the first quarter, but never looked back after taking the league at halftime. Oklahoma City outscored the Lakers by 12 points in the second half en route to a 100-85 victory. The Thunder improved to a league best 27-7 overall. Oklahoma city also won their 12th straight home game, improving their record at home to 15-1 overall.
Oklahoma City came out hot in the second half and turned a three point halftime lead into a 11 point lead after the end of three quarters. With Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook on the bench to start the fourth quarter, it was James Harden leading the charge for the Thunder. He helped facilitate the offense and defense, keeping the Lakers at arm’s length while the starters rested.
When the starters came in the Lakers tried to make a run. However, Oklahoma City’s offense was just a little too much. The Lakers cut the lead to 90-81 with 2:55 remaining in the game. Harden hit a big three and KD got to the line, to give Oklahoma City the 95-81 lead with 1:50 to go in the game. The Lakers would not get any closer than that.
Post Game Grades
Oklahoma City out rebounded the best rebounding team in the league. They also only allowed eight offensive rebounds in the game. If you take away Pau Gasol’s 13 rebounds, the Thunder REALLY did a number in the rebounding category..
Oklahoma City had 12 turnovers, down from their average of 17 a game. They forced 13 this game, however, they really were in control for 99% of the game. They didn’t make too many mental mistakes and took care of the basketball. Westbrook and KD accounted for 5 of OKC’s 12 turnovers
Three-Point Shot: B
Oklahoma City didn’t shoot too well. However, this was more focused on the three-point defense. OKC held the Lakers to just 4-14 from deep for 28.6%. Bryant finished 0-3 from behind the arc. Oklahoma City finished 7-25 from deep, nothing special. However, their perimeter defense was exceptional if you ask me.
- I REALLY want to know what Harden and Kobe Bryant were saying late in the fourth quarter. Harden seemed to really be giving Kobe all he could handle verbally and on the court.
- Kevin Durant could not be held tonight. A couple of years ago in the playoffs, Metta World Peace really defended Durant so well. It’s obvious that the MWP has lost a step. KD took that advantage of that. He finished 12-22 from the floor for 33 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds and 3 steals.
- James Harden showed why he should be the sixth man of the year. Also showed why his defense has really just improved as he’s is in the league. He was all over Kobe, all night long. He finished with 13 points on 6-10 shooting. He was a big reason why Kobe just finished 5-17 from the floor.
- Serge Ibaka collected his seventh double-double of the season. HIs 22nd of his career. (He has 12 last season, and 4 his first season). It’s Ibaka’s fifth double-double in 11 games. Ibaka also collected another three blocks. That gives him 109 on the season now.
- No one is worried about his early season struggles now, are they? He finished with a +17 and was so great tonight.
- Pau Gasol was 8-13 from the floor for 19 points, 8 rebounds. This was a big sign that OKC misses Nick Collison.
- Oklahoma City’s bench outscored the Laker bench 26-11. It was the bench of the Thunder that really kept the team’s head above water when the starters rested. It’s something that really had suffered early in the season. Really have been stepping up lately.
- Russell Westbrook struggled a bit shooting, was 6-17 from the floor. He did other things tonight though. 6 assists, 5 rebounds. Finished 5-7 from the free-throw line.
- Oklahoma City has now won 12 straight home games. That is the best in franchise history since 1997-1998 when the Seattle SuperSonics had two streaks of 12 straight wins. Record in the franchise is 16 straight games, spanning the 1994-1995 season.
- Kendrick Perkins’ worth on this team is not measured on a stat sheet. I want you to see what he did to Andrew Bynum. Bynum shot 5-15 from the floor and really wasn’t much of a factor. He had 12 rebounds, 10 on the defensive end. They were just some missed shots. Bynum had been great this season, and was regulated to just very average tonight.
- OKC now has a 9 game lead over the rest of the division. Plus a three game lead on the conference.
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