Lakers Gameday | 03/26/10 | Thunder

Box Score
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2 Blocked shots by Congo Cash (D.J. Mbenga). Sorry, had to get excited about something.

8 First half turnovers for Kobe Bryant, who had trouble holding onto the ball and keeping his footing.

30 Minutes played by Bryant, a silver lining since the Lakers go to Houston on a back-to-back tomorrow. Pau Gasol played just 28 minutes, while Lamar Odom and Ron Artest played 33 each.

39.2 L.A.’s shooting percentage for the game, which is actually far better than it had been thanks to a 28-11 fourth quarter. The Lakers made only 32.1 percent of their shots through the first three quarters.

47 L.A.’s point total through three quarters, getting 15, 19 and 13 points in each of the first three. They’d finish with a season-low 75 points in the contest.

Mike Trudell,

Lakers 75, Thunder 91: Running Diary
Kevin Durant Pregame Interview

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Thunder snap Lakers' 7-game win streak, 91-75


OKLAHOMA CITY(AP) Kevin Durant scored 26 points, Russell Westbrook added 23 and the Oklahoma City Thunder snapped the Los Angeles Lakers' seven-game winning streak with a resounding 91-75 victory Friday on a turnover-filled night for Kobe Bryant.

Bryant turned it over eight times as Oklahoma City built a 19-point lead by halftime, then proceeded to hold the Lakers to their lowest-scoring output of the season.

The Thunder added an exclamation point with a 16-2 run to finish the third quarter, capped by back-to-back two-handed dunks by Nick Collison and Durant. Oklahoma City took a 33-point lead into the fourth quarter, but coach Scott Brooks put Durant and Westbrook back in the game after Los Angeles scored 10 straight points to open the period.

Lamar Odom scored 15 points, and Bryant finished with 11 points and nine turnovers in three quarters. It took a late charge by the Lakers to ensure they wouldn't break the franchise's record for fewest points in the modern era (70).

The loss ended up being the third-most lopsided of the season for the Lakers, behind only a 26-point loss at Denver and a 20-point defeat against San Antonio. Los Angeles shot 39 percent, made only two of 15 attempts from 3-point range and finished with a season-low seven assists to go with 18 turnovers.

Oklahoma City snapped a 12-game losing streak against the Lakers, earning its first win in the series since Nov. 5, 2006, in Seattle. Two nights earlier, the Thunder snapped a 13-game skid against Houston that also dated to 2006.

While Los Angeles kept its reserves on the floor, Durant, Westbrook and Jeff Green rubbed salt in the Lakers' wounds with a series of highlight-reel plays. Oklahoma City led by 25 in the final 6 minutes when Green drove the lane in transition for a right-handed throwdown. Durant followed with a two-handed alley-oop jam on the Thunder's next possession, and Brooks then sent his reserves to the scorer's table to check in.

At this point, losses by any margin do little to damage the Lakers in the Western Conference standings, but hamper any chance of catching Cleveland for the best record in the NBA. Los Angeles entered Friday 6 1/2 games clear of everyone else in the West but 3 1/2 games behind the Cavaliers in the chase for home-court advantage throughout the playoffs.

The Thunder solidified their hold on sixth place in the West.

Westbrook had nine points as Oklahoma City built an early 19-7 lead, capitalizing on four turnovers by Bryant in the opening 7 minutes. And Bryant didn't fare much better after checking back in during the second quarter. He turned it over four more times and the Thunder closed the first half on an 11-4 run to go up 53-34 after Thabo Sefolosha's fast-break layup.

Bryant had to pick himself up off the floor after concluding the first half with one last turnover, with Westbrook ending up with the ball after a collision in the lane.

NOTES: Coach Phil Jackson said he might be compelled to return for an 11th season in Los Angeles if the Lakers win their second straight title. ``If we win, it's almost imperative that I give it another shot. But that's a lot of ifs in there,'' he said. ``There's four playoffs that you have to get through before you can say that you won and we've got a chance to do something special again, unique again. So, that's a long shot.'' ... Bryant had a career-high 11 turnovers in a 90-89 loss at Detroit on Jan. 31, 2008. ... Among those seated courtside were Bob Stoops and Barry Switzer - in seats occupied two nights earlier by Gov. Brad Henry and first lady Kim Henry - plus NFL prospect Gerald McCoy and Oklahoma basketball coach Jeff Capel. Former Oklahoma State basketball coach Eddie Sutton was also in attendance.

Copyright 2010 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

Lakers vs. Thunder Game Preview


Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant is blossoming into the superstar many expected him to become and is battling for the NBA scoring lead. Against one former scoring champ, however, he has still looked a bit out of his league at times.

Kobe Bryant has outscored Durant in all three meetings this season, and he can help the Los Angeles Lakers run their overall winning streak to eight and their run against the Thunder franchise to 13 on Friday night at the Ford Center.

Durant upped his 20.3-point average as a rookie by five last season, and he has taken the next step in 2009-10. In doing so, he has transformed Oklahoma City (43-27) from a lottery regular to a team in contention for home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

While Durant's 29.7 points per game are just behind LeBron James' 29.8 average, the NBA's fourth-leading scorer has consistently gotten the best of Durant this season. Bryant, who won the 2005-06 and 2006-07 scoring titles, has averaged 32.3 points in leading the Lakers (53-18) to three wins over Oklahoma City, outscoring Durant in each game.

Durant averaged 25.7 points in those matchups, but struggled with his shooting in the first two. He finished with 28 points but went 0 for 8 from 3-point range in a 101-98 loss Nov. 3, then shot 8 for 20 from the field and scored 19 in a 101-85 defeat Nov. 22.

He had his best game of the series Dec. 22, scoring a team-high 30 points on 11-of-19 shooting, but Oklahoma City fell short 111-108. Bryant helped Ron Artest guard Durant down the stretch and drew Durant's sixth foul.

Bryant has averaged 34.1 points per game in Los Angeles' 12 consecutive victories over the Thunder franchise. He had a game-high 40 on Dec. 22.

Since that meeting, the Thunder are 30-13 - a half-game better than the Lakers. Los Angeles' 23-4 start, though, gave the team a leg up on the Western Conference, and it is peaking again with 11 games left in the season.

The Lakers have pulled away in the race for the No. 1 seed with seven straight wins, beating San Antonio 92-83 on Wednesday.

The Spurs shot 37.5 percent and were held to 35 second-half points as Los Angeles began a five-game road trip.

"I think we understand that we're at the point of the year where we're really tuned in and focused about what we have to do out there,'' said forward Pau Gasol, who had his fourth straight double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds. "Defensively, in that good mindset so it carries on to the offensive end.''

The Thunder are sixth in the West, and certainly want to avoid falling to No. 8 given their recent history against the Lakers.

Perhaps Oklahoma City's latest victory served as an omen that its drought against Los Angeles is about to end. Durant had 25 points and rookie James Harden returned from an injury to score 23 in a 122-104 win that snapped a 13-game skid against Houston on Wednesday.

"That was a great game for us, we played great basketball," coach Scott Brooks said. "The pressure we put on our team is to play hard and play for each other. We can't worry about what other teams are doing. We can't control any of that."

Perhaps the player the Thunder need to focus on slowing even more than Bryant is center Andrew Bynum, who has averaged 19.3 points in the season series.

The Lakers are 28-4 when Bynum scores 16 points or more.

Copyright 2010 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

Ron Artest
(sprained left thumb) will play.
Shannon Brown
(sprained right thumb) will play.
Kobe Bryant
(avulsion fracture, right index finger) will play.
Andrew Bynum
(left Achilles strain) is out.
Sasha Vujacic
(sprained right shoulder) is probable.
Luke Walton
(pinched nerve, back) is out indefinitely.




The Lakers lead their current season series with Oklahoma City 3-0 after sweeping last season’s series with the Thunder (3-0) for the second straight year, having gone 4-0 against the Thunder in 2007-08. The Lakers have won each of the last four season series with the Thunder and not lost to the Thunder since their relocation to Oklahoma City. The two teams have met 217 times but just six times since the Thunder relocated to Oklahoma City prior to the 2008-09 season. Los Angeles leads the all-time series 134-83. The Lakers are 13-1 in their last 14 games against Oklahoma City and are winners of 12 straight against the Thunder. On the road against the Thunder, the Lakers have gone 8-2 in their last 10 overall and are 8-1 in their last nine games as the visitor. The Lakers have now played five times during the regular season at Ford Center in Oklahoma City, going 0-2 against the New Orleans Hornets while the team was temporarily relocated from 2005-07 but 3-0 against the Thunder. At home, the Lakers have gone 8-2 in their last 10 games against the Thunder and are 14-7 all-time against Oklahoma City at STAPLES Center. Under head coach Phil Jackson, the Lakers are 26-11 against the Thunder. In 2006-07, Kobe Bryant established a Lakers series record with 46 points 4/6/07 at KeyArena only to surpass it nine days later with 50 points 4/15/07 at home against the then Sonics. In those games, he surpassed the old mark of 45 points established by himself in January of 2003 and Jerry West in December of 1970. In 49 career games including 42 starts, Bryant is averaging 25.4 points against the Thunder.


With 24 points 3/24 at San Antonio, Kobe Bryant passed Alex English (25,613) for 12th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. Bryant (25,636), who earlier this season moved past Jerry West (25,192) for 1st on the Lakers all-time scoring list and 14th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, passed Reggie Miller (25,279) for 13th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list 2/24 at Dallas. Next on the all-time list ahead of Bryant are John Havlicek (11th/26,395) and Dominique Wilkins (10th/26,668).

Bryant passed West with a slam dunk at the 4:14 mark of the third quarter February 1 at Memphis, finishing the game with 44 points (West’s retired number). Less than a month earlier, with 22 points 1/5 vs. Houston, Bryant moved past Patrick Ewing (24,815) for 15th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. In November, with his free throw at the 6:07 mark of the third quarter 11/19 vs. Chicago, Bryant moved past Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (24,176) for 2nd on the Lakers all-time franchise scoring list while with 41 points 11/6 vs. Memphis, Bryant moved past Allen Iverson for 16th on the all-time list. Bryant has been steadily moving up the list the last few years and last season alone, passed Charles Barkley (23,757) for 17th, Robert Parish (23,334) for 18th, 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.

With their 99-92 victory over Washington March 21st, the Lakers posted their 7th wire-to-wire victory of the season. The Lakers recorded their 1st wire-to-wire victory of the year with a 104-88 win 11/8 vs. NO and proceeded to win their 2nd 11/28 @ GS (130-97), 3rd 12/6 vs. PHX (108-88), 4th 1/5 vs. HOU (88-79), 5th 1/10 vs. MIL (95-77) and 6th 2/10 @ UTAH (96-81). Last season, the Lakers claimed nine wire-to-wire victories (games in which they never trailed) during the regular season, tied for 3rd most in the league (Phoenix) behind Cleveland (14) and Orlando (13). The Lakers also won in wire-to-wire fashion twice during the 2009 Playoffs (4/29 vs. Utah & 5/17 vs. Houston). Additionally, the Lakers were one of only two teams last season (Cleveland) to never lose in wire-to-wire fashion during the regular season. In the playoffs, however, the Lakers played two games in which they never led, falling twice to Houston in the Conference Semifinals (5/10/09 at HOU and 5/14/09 at HOU). This season, the Lakers have lost one game in wire-to-wire fashion (98-107 loss 1/8/10 @ POR), their first regular season wire-to-wire defeat since 1/17/08 vs. PHX.

On March 22, the NBA announced that Pau Gasol had earned Western Conference Player of the Week honors for games played Monday, March 15 through Sunday, March 21. The award is the 6th of his career (previous awards came for weeks ending 2/22/09, 2/8/09, 3/26/06, 3/2/06 and 1/2/05) and 3rd as a Laker. One of four Lakers (Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum, Shaquille O’Neal) to win the award since it became separated by Conference and one of nine to win the weekly honor overall since its inception, Gasol averaged 24.8 points (.685 FG%), 11.8 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.00 blocks in helping lead Los Angeles to a 4-0 week: 3/15 @ GS: 26 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists; 3/16 @ SAC: 28 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists; 3/19 vs. MIN: 17 points, 14 rebounds, 4 assists; 3/21 vs. WAS: 28 points, 12 rebounds, 3 assists.

With their victory over Minnesota and the Rockets loss to Boston on March 19, the Lakers became the 1st team in the West to clinch a playoff spot, marking their 57th postseason appearance in 62 NBA seasons as well as their 29th playoff berth in 31 seasons since Dr. Jerry Buss purchased the team prior to the 1979-80 season.

In the Lakers 106-99 victory over Sacramento March 16, Pau Gasol scored 28 points on 12-of-14 shooting while grabbing 12 rebounds. Gasol is the third different player this season to shoot at least 85% from the field (minimum 10 attempts) while recording at least 10 rebounds in a game. Earlier this season, Andrew Bynum totaled a season-high 27 points on 12-of-14 shooting and 12 rebounds 1/27 vs. Indiana. Dwight Howard has had two such games this season as well: 2/24 at Houston (30 points, 11-11 FG, 16 rebounds) and 3/14 vs. Charlotte (27 points, 12-14 FG, 16 rebounds).

With their victory over Sacramento March 16, the Lakers reached the 50-win mark for the 31st time in franchise history (30th time since moving to Los Angeles prior to the 1960-61 season and the 28th time since the NBA adopted an 82-game schedule prior to the 1967-68 campaign). Since Dr. Jerry Buss took over the team prior to the 1979- 80 season, the Lakers have posted 22 50+ win seasons. It is Phil Jackson’s 16th 50-win season in 19 seasons as an NBA head coach.


Friday’s game at Oklahoma City is the first of a back-to-back set against the Thunder and Rockets. This season, the Lakers are 11-6 in the first game and 11-6 in the second game of back-to-backs. On the year, the Lakers will play 20 sets of back-to-back games, the most the team has played in a single season since playing 22 sets of back-to-backs during the 1999-00 campaign. Last year, the Lakers played 19 sets of back-to-backs, going 14-5 in the first game and 14-5 in the second as well. Charlotte, Detroit and Milwaukee lead the league with 23 back-to-backs each in 2009-10 while New Orleans (15) and San Antonio (17) will play the fewest sets this season.


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