Thunder Ties NBA Record In Win Against Lakers
OKLAHOMA CITY - The Lakers have clearly improved lately but Tuesday night in Oklahoma City served as a wake-up call to re-establish the pecking order in the Western Conference.
OKC scored an NBA season-high 71 points in the first half and then held Los Angeles at arm's length in the second en route to a 122-105 Thunder victory.
Russell Westbrook continued his torrid shooting streak, leading all scorers with 37 on 15-of-29 shooting, and Kevin Durant chipped in a cool 26 on 9-of-22 to hand L.A. its sixth-straight loss at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
But the Thunder scoring a league-best 71 first-half points wasn't even the team's most impressive accomplishment of the night. OKC, one of the league's worst turnover teams, only had two on Tuesday. The two miscues ties an NBA record.
Milwaukee set the record for fewest turnovers in a game against Indiana on April 1, 2006, and Cleveland tied it against Portland on March 19, 2009.
The Thunder didn't play one of its best defensive games of the season by any stretch but the offensive efficiency and ball protection proved enough to allow its superior talent to win out.
And the defense showed up when it needed to. The Thunder never trailed, but had its 18-point lead cut to five midway through the fourth quarter. The OKC didn't allow Los Angeles to score for the last 6:14.
In addition to his 37 points, Westbrook hauled in 10 rebounds, dished out five assists, recorded two steals and turned the ball over once. He has consistently been a matchup nightmare for L.A. and proved January's 6-of-22 performance against the Lakers was just an aberration.
KD struggled a bit from the floor but he converted 13-of-14 free throws and dished out four assists for the Thunder.
Serge Ibaka had 13 points, six rebounds and two blocks and looked to have no hangover effect from the $25,000 fine he was handed earlier in the day.
Three Thunder players came off the bench to score double figures, led by Kevin Martin's 11. Reggie Jackson and Derek Fisher added 10 points each.
Kobe Bryant scored a team-best 30 points for the Lakers despite missing more than four minutes in the first quarter in the locker room with a shoulder injury. Steve Nash scored 20 points and Metta World Peace added 16 for L.A.
OKC shot 47.9 percent from the floor and a whopping 92 percent from the free-throw line (22-24). The Lakers shot 40.3 percent and outrebounded the Thunder 46-42 but turned the ball over 16 times on the night.
The Laker turnovers – and the Thunder's lack of them – led to OKC outscoring L.A. 22-6 in fastbreak points.
The Thunder improved to 44-16 overall and 27-4 at home with the victory. Los Angeles dropped back below .500 to 30-31 and just 10-20 on the road.
Oklahoma City will head to Madison Square Garden on Thursday to take on the New York Knicks at 7 p.m.