Lakers Gameday | 11/03/09 | Thunder

Box Score
Play by Play

45:41 - minutes played by an under-the-weather Kobe Bryant on his way to 31 points.

25 - Turnovers by the Lakers after averaging just 16.6 through the first three games of the season.

6 - just six points from the bench tonight, four by Josh Powell and two from Sasha Vujacic.

5 - steals by Ron Artest to go along with 20 points as he carried the load on both ends early in the fourth quarter.

3 - double-doubles in four games for center Andrew Bynum, 22 points and 10 rebounds in 48:42 minutes played.

Ty Nowell,

Lakers vs. Thunder Running Diary


Durant's regulation miss opens door for Lakers OT victory

by Randy Renner, for

OKLAHOMA CITY ( exclusive) -- With the score tied 90-90, Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant stood just beyond the 3-point stripe with the clock winding down through single digits, a sellout crowd roaring and the game on the line.

Instead of driving in and challenging Lakers center Andrew Bynum, Durant took a couple of dribbles and fired a 3-point shot that could have won the game for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Instead of swishing through the net, the basketball hit nothing but air and the Lakers beat Oklahoma City in overtime 101-98.

The 3-point shot was not what Thunder coach Scott Brooks wanted from his star.

"I thought he had a chance to attack Bynum," Brooks said. "Kevin thought he could make that shot."

Durant finished with 28 points but they all came in the first three quarters. His only shot in the fourth quarter was the miss at the end of regulation and he was 0-for-4 in the overtime period. He also committed seven turnovers.

The Thunder star was coming off a 3-for-21 performance against Portland and Durant barely talked to reporters after the game.

"I had a chance to win the game and I missed the shot," Durant said with his head down. A reporter asked if this loss hurt more because the Thunder had a chance to beat the defending world champions.

"Yeah," was all Durant said and he left the room.

Lakers coach Phil Jackson was happy to escape Oklahoma City with a win.

"They hit some tough shots. Many things happened that kept the complexity of the game tight.," Jackson said.

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant led his team with a game-high 31 points. Bynum had a double-double with 22 points and 10 rebounds. The Lakers shot 52.1percent but turned the ball over 26 times.

Bryant was ill before the game and missed the team's shoot-around, but it was the Thunder who looked sick at the beginning of the contest. Oklahoma City missed its first six shots of the game while the Lakers were hitting their first eight on the way to 9-0, 13-2 and 28-15 leads.

"I liked him [Bryant] sometimes and sometimes I didn't like him," Jackson said. "I think he was a little dehydrated. But he was able to control the game at the end."

While Durant was scoreless from the fourth quarter on, Bryant scored eight points in the fourth and four more in overtime to help lead L.A. to the win.

The Lakers seemed to be cruising early in the game. They led by 13 at 32-19 when things started to turn around. Durant scored six straight points while the Thunder held the Lakers scoreless in the last 1:44 of the quarter to bring the game to within seven points at 32-25.

Oklahoma City charged ahead in the second quarter going on a 22-8 run from late in the first quarter to midway through the second. Durant hit two free throws to give the Thunder its first lead at 41-40.

The Lakers then went on a 10-2 run as Oklahoma City's Nenad Krstic missed a wide open mid-range jumper and then fumbled a pass on the next trip down. Durant was trapped in the corner on the following trip, turning the ball over and L.A. was up 50-43. But the Thunder dominated down the stretch going on an 8-1 run fueled by stout defense and Laker turnovers to trail only 52-51 at the half.

The Thunder and Lakers played even-up in the second half, with Oklahoma City outscoring the defending champs 39-38 to take the game into overtime.

"Our guys really showed a lot of enthusiasm during the game," Brooks said. "We fought back early and competed. You have to give the Lakers a lot of credit. They made great plays when they needed to."

Oklahoma City shot 43.2 percent for the game and turned the ball over 21 times. In addition to Durant's 28 points, Jeff Green added 18 and Thabo Sefalosha and Russell Westbrook scored 12 apiece.


On tonight’s win:
“They hit some tough shots. Many things happened that kept the complexity of that game tight. They brought in (Etan) Thomas and he did a better job of high-siding and making it difficult to get the passes in. We didn’t go back in again until overtime. We just didn’t get back in the post very often and we needed to.”

On Kobe Bryant’s performance:
“I liked him sometimes and sometimes I didn’t like him. I think he was a little dehydrated when he ran off at the end and let (Thabo) Sefalosha have a wide open three. He made plays that he makes in ballgames. He got to the free-throw line and made some free-throws. He was able to control the game at the end.”


On winning in overtime:
“We were able to get a couple of stops at the end of the game. After the first quarter we slowed down and didn’t stop them. They did a much better job defensively (after the first quarter). Etan (Thomas) did a great job tonight. We had a lot of turnovers tonight, especially down the stretch.”

On Kobe Bryant’s performance while playing sick:
“It doesn’t surprise me. That’s what he does. He does it all the time.”


On air balling a free throw:
I shot the first one a little too long and I told myself do everything I can not to shoot the second one long. It was a lack of concentration. There was no excuse for that. It has to at least touch the rim.”

On his clutch three-pointer in overtime:
“They were playing off of me in the corner to not allow Kobe to catch the ball in the post. That’s what got me open.”

On how they were able to come with a win:
“Persistence and just staying after it. We weren’t worrying about calls and things that didn’t go our way. We just make the game our way as the game went along.”


Opening statement:
“Well that was a heck of a ball game. Our guys really showed a lot of enthusiasm during the game and we fought back early when we were down and competed. You have to give the Lakers a lot of credit, they made a lot of great plays when they needed to and obviously we all know what Kobe is about, he makes great plays, winning basketball plays constantly.

On message to the team:
“I said we had a good effort. That’s four games in a row of good effort. I’m proud of the way our guys played. I’m not into close games, I understand we played against the defending champs but we are a good enough team because we battle, we fight and we are a team I am proud of. It’s fun to coach when we play with this type of heart and desire.”

On offense becoming stagnant in the last five minutes:
“They turned up the heat. They are a physical team. They don’t get enough credit for being a physical ball club but they are physical at a lot of positions. Derek is as strong and as tough as a point guard gets and Artest, Byum, Kobe and even Lamar. They turned it up and really put a lot of pressure on us. In the last six or seven minutes we really have to buckle down. We still have to figure that part of our game out.”



Lakers vs. Thunder Game Preview


Ron Artest is still trying to get comfortable with the Los Angeles Lakers' triangle offense, but the 2004 defensive player of the year is as usual having no problem on the other end of the floor.

Artest and the Lakers play their first road game of the season Tuesday night, when they look to win their 10th straight over the Oklahoma City Thunder franchise.

Artest, who signed a five-year deal with Los Angeles in the offseason, is averaging 8.3 points on 32.1 percent shooting - far below his career averages of 16.1 and 42.2 heading into 2009-10.

"You can't look at the numbers," Lakers guard Kobe Bryant said following Sunday's 118-110 win over Atlanta. "Obviously, we know he's capable of putting up big numbers. But tonight his defense was outstanding."

After Joe Johnson scored 18 first-quarter points, Artest helped the Lakers (2-1) limit the Hawks' star guard to nine over the final 36 minutes.

"We picked up our intensity, and it all started with No. 37,'' Bryant said of Artest. "He picked up the energy level defensively, and I told him the game was on him. I felt like the energy really changed the whole complexity of the game, and we all kind of rallied behind him.''

While Artest could be called on to defend Thunder forward Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City has a tall challenge in slowing down Bryant.

That task will likely fall on the shoulders of guard Thabo Sefolosha.

"There's not a lot you can take away from (Bryant) but just make every shot he takes difficult with a hand near his face or close to his shooting hand," Sefolosha told the Thunder's official Web site. "You know he's going to go with different moves. He can do it all. He can penetrate and shoot the outside shot. You can't really take it away, just stay in front of him."

Coming off a 41-point effort against Atlanta - his 97th career 40-point game - Bryant looks for another big performance against the Thunder.

In three wins versus Oklahoma City in 2008-09, Bryant averaged 29.7 points on 49.2 percent shooting.

He scored 19 before sitting the entire fourth quarter of a 107-89 win at Ford Center on March 24. That was the Lakers' ninth straight victory over the Thunder franchise since a 117-101 loss at Seattle on Nov. 5, 2006.

Oklahoma City (2-1) returns to the Ford Center following Sunday's 83-74 home loss to Portland.

Looking for the franchise's first 3-0 start in six seasons, the Thunder shot a season-worst 34.3 percent from the field while committing a season-high 19 turnovers.

"Offense is what killed us tonight,'' Durant said after scoring a season-low 16 points and shooting 3 of 21 from the field. "We didn't take care of the ball, we didn't make shots. I think we made up for it on the defensive end. We put ourselves in a position to win the game, but we've got to score points.''

Durant is 0-7 in his career versus the Lakers, but averaged 29.0 points and 8.7 boards against them in 2008-09.

Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook looks to bounce back from a career-high nine-turnover game against Portland. His 274 turnovers last season were the most in the league, and he had four in each of the three games versus the Lakers.

Los Angeles could again be without Pau Gasol, who has yet to play this season due to a strained right hamstring. Gasol accompanied the team to Oklahoma City, but the results of an MRI from Monday won't be available until Tuesday.

The Lakers were a league-best 29-12 on the road last season.

Copyright 2009 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited

Pau Gasol (right hamstring strain) is out.
Luke Walton (sore back) is probable.

None to report.

For the 17th time since moving to Los Angeles prior to the 1960-61 season, the Lakers opened the regular season at home. In those games, the Lakers now have a record of 13-4. Overall, Los Angeles has a mark of 35-15 in their 50 REGULAR SEASON openers. With their victory over the Clippers on October 27th, the Lakers have now won 6-of-their-last-7 opening night games and are 16-2 in their last 18 opening night games overall dating back to 1992.

Additionally, the Lakers improved to 3-0 in regular season openers against the Clippers, defeating the Los Angeles Clippers 114-102 in overtime 11/6/92 at the Los Angeles Sports Arena and the San Diego Clippers 103-102 10/12/79 at the San Diego Sports Arena.

In HOME OPENERS (first home game of the year), the Lakers are now 33-17 since moving to Los Angeles. With their victory over the Clippers on Tuesday, the Lakers improved to 15-3 in their last 18 HOME openers overall.

The 2009-10 season marks the 10th title defense for the Lakers since moving to Los Angeles prior to the 1960-61 season. In SEASON OPENERS coming off of an NBA Championship, the Lakers are now 8-2 overall but just 3-2 when the season opener is at home. In HOME OPENERS following an NBA Championship, the Lakers are 6-4.

1972-73: Season opener: 129-94 victory at K.C. Omaha (10/11/72)
1980-81: Season opener: 99-98 victory at Seattle (10/10/80)
1982-83: Season opener: 117-132 loss vs. Golden State (10/29/82)
1985-86: Season opener: 121-116 (2OT) victory at San Antonio (10/26/85)
1987-88: Season opener: 113-109 victory vs. Seattle (11/6/87)
1988-89: Season opener: 116-113 victory at Dallas (11/4/88)
2000-01: Season opener: 96-86 victory at Portland (10/30/00)
2001-02: Season opener: 98-87 victory vs. Portland (10/30/01)
2002-03: Season opener: 82-87 loss vs. San Antonio (10/29/02)
2009-10: Season opener: 99-92 victory vs. LA Clippers (10/27/09)

Home opener: 126-104 victory vs. Portland (10/20/72)
Home opener: 114-103 victory vs. Houston (10/12/80)
Home opener: 111-129 loss vs. Cleveland (11/5/85)
Home opener: 128-110 victory vs. Denver (11/9/88)
Home opener: 92-97 loss vs. Utah (11/1/00)

The 2009 preseason marked the second consecutive year that the Lakers went 6-2 in exhibition games. Since the Lakers first year of complete preseason records in 1982- 83, their best preseason finish was a 7-1 mark in 1987-88. Under head coach Phil Jackson, the Lakers have had three winning preseasons, going 6-2 in each of the last two preseasons and 6-2 in 2005-06 as well. Overall, Jackson’s Lakers teams have posted preseason records of 6-2 (2009-10), 6-2 (2008-09), 3-4 (2007-08), 4-4 (2006- 07), 6-2 (2005-06), 3-5 (2003-04), 4-4 (2002-03), 4-4 (2001-02), 3-5 (2000-01) and 3-5 (1999-2000).

The 2009-10 Lakers preseason roster includes 12 players from last season’s NBA Championship team, one more than in 2008-09 when the Lakers brought back 11 players from the Western Conference Championship squad. This will be the 4th consecutive season in which the Lakers have returned at least 11 players, having brought back 12 players to start the 2007-08 season and 11 to start the 2006-07 campaign. However, only Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher remain from the Lakers 2000-02 title runs with Fisher rejoining the team prior to the 2007-08 season after spending the previous three years in Golden State and Utah. The longest tenured Laker after Bryant and Fisher is Luke Walton, who joined the team as a rookie in 2003-04. Shannon Brown, Andrew Bynum, Jordan Farmar, Pau Gasol, DJ Mbenga, Adam Morrison, Lamar Odom, Josh Powell & Sasha Vujacic all return from a year ago while Ron Artest is the lone new addition to the Lakers roster.

With his first two free throws of the Lakers April 10 game at Portland last season, Kobe Bryant moved past Charles Barkley (23,757) for 17th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. Barkley reached his scoring total in 1,073 games over 16 seasons in contrast to Bryant, who did so in his 946th career game. In all last season, Bryant (23,853) passed Robert Parish (23,334) for 18th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, Adrian Dantley (23,177) for 19th, Elgin Baylor (23,149) for 20th, Clyde Drexler (22,195) for 21st, Gary Payton (21,813) for 22nd and Larry Bird (21,791) for 23rd. Additionally, in passing Baylor, now only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (24,176) and Jerry West (25,192 points) have scored more points with the Lakers than Bryant. Next on the NBA’s all-time list are Allen Iverson (23,983) and Patrick Ewing (24,815).

A season after earning his record 10th NBA Championship as a head coach, Phil Jackson (1,042-435) is now just three wins shy of tying Charlotte Bobcats head coach Larry Brown (1,045-847) for 5th on the NBA’s all-time coaching win list. The only coach in league history to win better than 70 percent of his games (.705), Jackson ranks 12th in all-time regular season games coached and 1st in playoff games coached (300), won (209) and playoff winning percentage (.697). Last season, Jackson became the fastest coach in NBA history to reach 1,000 career victories, needing 1,423 games to reach the mark. Earning induction in his first year of consideration, on September 7, 2007, Jackson was enshrined into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

On Sunday, September 20, Pau Gasol posted 18 points, 11 rebounds and three blocked shots in leading Spain to an 85-63 victory over Serbia at the final of the 2009 European basketball championship in Poland. Gasol, who was named tournament MVP, helped Spain earn its first European title after six runner-up finishes. With the victory, Gasol is currently a member of the reigning NBA Champions, the reigning FIBA World Champions (led Spain to the 2006 FIBA World Championship while earning tournament MVP honors) and the reigning European Champions. Additionally, last summer, the highly decorated Spaniard helped his country to a silver medal in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing as well, coming up just short with a loss to a United States team led by Lakers teammate Kobe Bryant in the Olympic finals.

On October 1, 2009, the NBA announced that Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers tops the list of most popular NBA jerseys in Europe for the second straight year. Coming off his fourth NBA title in 2009, Bryant also has the most popular jersey in the U.S. The top four most popular jerseys remain unchanged from last year with Kevin Garnett (Boston) at No. 2, Pau Gasol (LA Lakers) at No.3 and LeBron James (Cleveland) at No. 4. The Most Popular NBA Jerseys in Europe list is based on sales from retail locations across Europe during the 2008-09 NBA season.