Big Second Half Lifts Thunder To Win Over Los Angeles
LOS ANGELES - After struggling in the first half, the Oklahoma City Thunder was dominant in the third quarter to propel itself to a 102-93 win over the Los Angeles Lakers Thursday, the second of the season.
After shooting an abysmal 7-of-25 from the floor in the first quarter, which expanded to 19-of-53, the Thunder trailed the Lakers 49-44 heading into the locker room at halftime. However, it was all OKC in the third quarter.
Oklahoma City came out of the break firing, opening the half on an 8-0 run, capped off by back-to-back dunks from Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka, taking a 52-49 advantage and forcing a Mike Brown timeout. Out of the timeout, Thunder star Kevin Durant knocked down a 3-pointer to put Oklahoma City in front 55-49.
The game evened out over the next five minutes, but the Lakers snapped off a quick six points to cut the deficit 65-62 with just 2:53 left in the quarter, but that's when Oklahoma City took over yet again.
The Thunder closed the quarter on a 13-6 run, nine from Westbrook – including a buzzer-beating 3-pointer – to take a 78-68 lead into the final frame.
Oklahoma City once again opened the quarter hot, after a Matt Barnes layup, the Thunder snapped off 10-unanswered points, book-ended by Durant baskets, to take an 18-point lead just four minutes into the quarter.
Two minutes later, the Lakers tried to spark a comeback, putting together a quick seven points cutting the lead to 10 points, but the Thunder matched them basket-to-basket to close out the game.
Westbrook was lights-out, playing 42 minutes on the evening, finishing with 36 points and six assists on the night, while Durant finished with a double-double, notching 21 points and 11 rebounds in the win. Kendrick Perkins was the only other Thunder player to finish in double-figures, scoring 12 points and grabbing eight boards.
Andrew Bynum set the pace for the Lakers, finishing with 25 points on 10-of-15 shooting from the floor, while grabbing 13 rebounds. Kobe Bryant wasn't far behind, finishing with 23 points, but made just seven of his 25 attempts.
With the win, Oklahoma City moves to 39-12 on the season, extending its Western Conference lead over the San Antonio Spurs to a full three games. The Thunder will take two days off before hosting the East-leading Chicago Bulls at 12 p.m. Sunday.