Notebook: Thunder 116, Lakers 101



Posted Jan 12, 2013 2:18 AM

By Dan Arritt, For NBA.com

THE FACTS: Right about the time the Lakers announced they'd be without one of their key reserves for the remainder of the season, the Thunder rubbed more salt in their wounds Friday night. Oklahoma City (28-8) exploded for 39 second-quarter points against an injury-riddled L.A. (15-21) team and rode a season-high 42-point performance by Kevin Durant to a 116-101 victory at Staples Center.

QUOTABLE: "Kevin [Durant] had a hot hand and they missed some shots. We have to put things in perspective; they have some of their best players not playing tonight and they're shorthanded."

--Thunder coach Scott Brooks

THE STAT: In the 416th game of his NBA career, Durant recorded at least 40 points for the 24th time. Lakers guard Kobe Bryant needed 469 games to hit that mark.

TURNING POINT: Despite having its starting frontcourt of Pau Gasol (concussion symptoms) and Dwight Howard (shoulder) on the shelf, the Lakers went toe-to-toe with the Thunder for the first 17 minutes, even outscoring Oklahoma City 11-0 to close out the opening quarter and get the score tied heading into the second. Then came news that Lakers backup forward Jordan Hill would need hip surgery, causing him to miss the remainder of the season, and everything seemed to go south for the Lakers from that point on. The Thunder went on a 9-2 burst to go ahead by 10 points, then followed with a 9-0 run to take a 59-45 with 1:23 remaining in the first half. The Lakers never got back within single digits.

HOT: Durant was 16-for-25 from the floor, just the sixth time in his six-year career he's made at least that many field goals in a game. It's the first time he's hit that number since last February, when he made a career-high 19 en route to career-best 51 points.

QUOTABLE II: "Kevin Durant was just unstoppable and we tried a little bit of everything on him. They were just longer, faster, better team-wise, and we crumbled away."

-- Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni

NOT: The Lakers missed their first 12 shots from 3-point range before finishing 6-for-28, continuing a trend of being woefully cold from beyond the arc on their home floor. In the last six games at Staples Center, they're 41-for-156 from 3-point range (26.3 percent). Individually, Metta World Peace went 1-for-9 on 3s, but that wasn't his ugliest number. He was a minus-34 in 35 minutes of play. As for the Thunder, they were uncharacteristically poor from the free-throw line, shooting 19-for-28 (67.9). They came in leading the league with an 84.5 percent success rate.

QUOTABLE III: "The first half, we were 0-for-11 and they were all wide open."

--Mike D'Antoni on his team's 3-point shooting

GOOD MOVE: Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook was only partially overshadowed by Durant, finishing with 27 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds. If he can continue to average at least 21 points, eight assists and five rebounds throughout the season, he would join LeBron James, Chris Paul and Gary Payton as the only NBA players to average those numbers for a season.

BAD MOVE: The Lakers just finished a five-game stretch against Western Conference teams that are ahead of them in the standings and L.A. lost all five, falling five games out of the eighth and final playoff spot. To reach 48 victories, the average number of playoff wins by the eighth seed the last five seasons, the Lakers will need to go 33-13 the rest of the way.

NOTABLE: The Lakers have lost six in a row for the first time since 2007. The Lakers and Magic are the only teams who haven't won a game in 2013. ... Bryant scored a team-high 28 points for the Lakers, but shot under 43 percent from the floor for the fourth consecutive game (8-for-23). He's still on pace to shoot better than 47 percent from the floor for the first time in his 17-year career. ... The Thunder led by as many as 27 points early in the fourth quarter.

UP NEXT: For the Lakers, Sunday vs. Cleveland, Tuesday vs. Milwaukee, Thursday vs. Miami. For the Thunder, Sunday @ Portland, Monday @ Phoenix, Wednesday vs. Denver.