Thunder Rallies To Edge Lakers, Takes 2-0 Series Lead

Thursday, May 17th 2012, 12:50 am
By: News 9

The NBA Playoffs produce some strange games and Wednesday's game two between the Thunder and Lakers was one of those games.

In a back-and-forth battle until the end, the Oklahoma City Thunder edged the LA Lakers 77-75 to take a 2-0 series lead.

The Lakers led by seven points with two minutes remaining in regulation, but would struggle from there on out and not score for the rest of the game. James Harden's driving layup with 1:59 to go ignited a 9-0 run by the Thunder that was capped off by five late game points by Kevin Durant to earn OKC the comeback victory.

Durant, who took only 19 shots the entire game, sank a runner from the corner giving OKC the 76-75 advantage with 18.6 remaining.

After a handful of timeouts, the Lakers in bounded the ball with 5.7 seconds remaining to Steve Blake who launched a three from the right corner that was too strong. Durant netted a final free throw with just hundredths of a second left and the confetti fell inside Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum led the Lakers with 20 points each. LA managed to out-rebound the Thunder, but only managed 38.5 percent shooting from the floor and a 2-of-15 performance from 3-point range.

In game one, OKC set a franchise low with four turnovers while shooting 53 percent from the floor but Wednesday night was a totally different story. The Thunder had four turnovers with just two minutes left in the opening quarter to finish with 13 and a 42 percent mark from the floor.

Both teams opened the game strong on both ends of the floor. OKC stepped up its defensive presence forcing the Lakers to two shot clock violations in three possessions midway through the opening frame.

Serge Ibaka helped control LA's big men in the lane, tallying five blocks in the first half. Kobe Bryant was held to just 4-of-11 shooting in the opening half of play while Russell Westbrook recorded 12 points to lead the Thunder and LA's Andrew Bynum led the team with 12.

At the break, OKC held on it a 48-45 advantage as Durant was 4-of-4 from the field and hit both free throw attempts for an early 10 points. Nick Collison contributed six off the bench as the Thunder shot 18-of-36 and 28.6 percent from the 3-point line. The Lakers managed 42.5 percent shooting from the floor but only made 1-of-6 from behind the arc.

Los Angeles opened the second half on a 6-0 run to take a three point lead in the first four minutes while OKC was 0-for-7 out of the break.

After scoring just 12 points in the entire third quarter, Oklahoma City found itself down by three entering the final quarter. Harden found the bottom of the net with just under 10 minutes remaining to knot the score at 63, but the Lakers found some steam to swing the game back in their favor by the two minute mark, but couldn't sustain the effort.

Before the two minute mark, Oklahoma City had made only 7 of 27 shots in the second half while committing eight turnovers.

Westbrook scored 15 and the league's sixth man of the year, James Harden finished with 13 in a game that was the fewest points scored by the Thunder in a win all season.

Game three of the series will tip off Friday in LA at 9:30 CST.