One of the most luxurious places in all of basketball to play in is the Staples Center in Los Angeles, and there’s a reason for that. Famous people fill the stands, while the luminously lit court with a dim backdrop provides the perfect basketball setting.
It’s not rare to see NBA stars aim to have big games while in the arena, especially if their name is either Kevin Durant or Russell Westbrook.
OKC’s dominant duo did their part in securing a 117-113 win over the Lakers, which gives the Thunder three wins over the purple and gold this year. Westbrook scored 36 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, while Durant added 24 points and seven rebounds of his own.
While the Thunder win didn’t come near as easy as the previous two matchups, OKC was able to show why they’re one of the elite teams in the NBA by surviving a strong push by the Lakers to pull off the upset.
Lakers guard Lou Williams was playing like a man possessed, and scorched the Thunder for a career high 44 points while leading the Lakers on a furious fourth quarter rally.
Williams gave the Lakers a 110-107 lead with under two minutes to play, but Westbrook took matters into his own hands by converting an and-1 layup to tie the game. Then after a defensive stop by the Thunder, Westbrook crossed over and penetrated towards the basket before getting the Lakers’ defender off his feet and dishing a slick pass to a wide-open Steven Adams under the basket to give the Thunder a two-point lead with 1:21 left in the game.
The Lakers still had a chance with 13 seconds left and facing a two-point deficit, but Durant was able to contest Bryant’s game tying layup attempt just enough to seal the Thunder win.
Both Enes Kanter and Cameron Payne played solid for OKC off the bench with Kanter scoring 15 points and totaling nine rebounds while Payne played 25 minutes and scored 11 points. Bryant scored 19 points in the Lakers' loss.
Oklahoma City (26-11) will be back in action on Sunday when they travel to Portland to play the Blazers.