In the last road game of Kobe Bryant’s legendary career, the Thunder was ready and willing to spoil the party and locked up a 112-79 win over the Lakers in front of a sold out Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Russell Westbrook dazzled the crowd with a first half triple-double—his 18th of the season—and finished with 13 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds in only 28 minutes of playing time.
Russell Westbrook just made history. pic.twitter.com/Dvy4HQsSQB— CBS Sports NBA (@CBSSportsNBA) April 12, 2016
After the Thunder organization honored Bryant’s career with a pre-game tribute video that brought the crowd on its feet, the 19-year vet and five-time NBA Champion clocked in and went to work. The “Black Mamba” played the entirety of an entertaining first quarter and totaled 13 points on 10 shot attempts.
Bryant drained a 3-pointer halfway throughout the frame to bring his Lakers within one point, but that score was a bit too close for comfort for OKC. Russell Westbrook quickly assisted a Steven Adams slam on the ensuing possession and then Westbrook boarded an LA missed shot and took it coast-to-coast for an easy layup to put the Thunder up 18-13.
Seeing the game was surrounded by the sentimental vibes of Bryant’s retirement, it was no surprise to see the first quarter have the feel of an all-star game, with both teams combining to shoot 23 3-pointers as OKC led by six points after one.
Game w way too many 3-pt attempts. Expecting Billy D to tap the breaks on that. Mass cramping could strike LA from excessive hoists. @NEWS9— Dean Blevins (@DeanBlevins) April 12, 2016
With Bryant sitting out the entire second quarter, both Westbrook and Kevin Durant thoughtfully dissected the Los Angeles’ defense on their way to increasing the Thunder lead. Durant found Anthony Morrow in the corner for a 3-pointer that put the Thunder up 48-38. While the shot by Morrow put the Thunder up double-digits, it wasn’t even his most impactful shot of the quarter. Westbrook assisted another Morrow money ball with 11 seconds in the half that gave the point guard his tenth assist, along with a first half triple-double.
Russell Westbrook is the 1st player to get a triple-double in the 1st half since Kevin Johnson in 1997. pic.twitter.com/2mt2D0gWiR— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 12, 2016
If this were a competitive game Russell Westbrook would have flirted with a 20p/20r/20a game.— Chris Martin Palmer (@ChrisPalmerNBA) April 12, 2016
While the second quarter is where the Thunder built the foundation for the win by taking a 10-point lead into halftime, it was the third frame where the Thunder really began to pull away. In just over three minutes of game action, the Thunder ripped off a 21-2 run after Durant drained a jumper over the outstretched arm of Bryant to put OKC up 82-54 with 5:39 left in the third.
OKC was pouring it on in the second half, and with OKC’s starters resting the entire fourth quarter, Kyle Singler swished a 3-pointer with 7:15 left to put the Thunder up 43 points and put the Lakers away for good.
Durant finished with 34 points in 27 minutes, while 16 of his points came in the first six minutes of the second half when OKC really elevated its level of play. Durant has now scored at least 20 points in 64 consecutive games.
Kevin Durant has joined LeBron, Kobe, and Dirk as the only active players with 5+ career seasons with 2,000 Pts. pic.twitter.com/UL29eQ6E2s— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 12, 2016
Durant has six 3's, need all of that in the playoffs. #News9Thunder— Steve McGehee (@SteveMcGehee) April 12, 2016
Adams added 13 points and 15 rebounds for the Thunder while Anthony Morrow scored 10 points off the bench. OKC had 11 blocks in the game while totaling 57 rebounds and 27 assists.
Regardless of the Lakers’ mammoth deficit, the OKC crowd chanted, “WE WANT KOBE” throughout the fourth quarter, but was unsuccessful in getting the legend to shed his ice pack and get back into the game. Bryant only took two shots after the first quarter and finished with 13 points.
Metta World Peace added 12 points for LA while Jordan Clarkson, DeAngelo Russell and Robert Sacre each totaled 11 points as the Lakers shot 28.4 percent from the field and only made nine field goals in the second half.
The Thunder (55-26) will end its regular season on Tuesday night against the Spurs (65-15) in San Antonio. Tip is set for 7 p.m.