GAMEDAY LINKS: Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Box Score Los Angeles Lakers 22 29 21 18 90
Play by Play Oklahoma City Thunder 28 28 13 18 87

Lakers edge Thunder 90-87

By JEFF LATZKE, AP Sports Writer

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Pau Gasol had 18 points and 11 rebounds, Kobe Bryant scored 17 points and the Los Angeles Lakers extended their cushion over Oklahoma City in the Western Conference standings by beating the Thunder 90-87 on Sunday.

Andrew Bynum added 16 points and 10 rebounds, but the Lakers weren't able to simply overpower a Thunder team that added Kendrick Perkins for interior toughness but won't get him in the lineup for a couple weeks.

Lamar Odom missed a pair of free throws with 10.9 seconds left to leave the door open for Oklahoma City, but Kevin Durant and James Harden each missed 3-pointers from the top of the key in the closing moments.

Russell Westbrook led Oklahoma City with 22 points and Durant scored 21. The Thunder were held to a season-low 31 second-half points in suffering their first three-game losing streak of the season.

The Lakers have gained three games on the fourth-place Thunder in the standings in the past five days and are now 4 1/2 games ahead.

The Lakers used a similar formula for their win against Oklahoma City earlier this season in Los Angeles, when they held the Thunder to just 39 points in the second half.

After shooting 61 percent in the first half, the Thunder managed just half that percentage in the second half and lost after Durant and Westbrook each had turnovers in the final minute.

Ron Artest stripped Durant of the ball after Bryant's jumper made it 90-87 with 56.4 seconds left, and Westbrook charged into Gasol for an offensive foul with 17.3 seconds remaining.

The Thunder still got one last chance but couldn't convert.

None of Oklahoma City's three trade deadline acquisitions - Perkins, Nazr Mohammed and Nate Robinson - played although Perkins was the only one unavailable. The Thunder still held their own in the paint after getting outscored there 54-26 in a blowout loss at Orlando on Friday night.

Oklahoma City actually outscored the Lakers 40-34 inside and held a 39-36 rebounding advantage behind Serge Ibaka's 13 boards.

Harden added 14 points off the bench for the Thunder.

Oklahoma City shot 61 percent and led 56-51 after a first half featuring wild back-and-forth swings. The Thunder ran out to a quick 12-2 lead after back-to-back 3-pointers by Thabo Sefolosha, then let that lead get whittled down to one before ripping off a 17-4 surge that made it 38-24 following Daequan Cook's consecutive 3s early in the second quarter.

Odom answered at the other end with a shot-clock beating 3-pointer and the Lakers came back to tie it at 42 with an 18-4 response that featured Shannon Brown's strangely banked-in 3-pointer from the right corner.

L.A. then clamped down on defense, limiting the Thunder to a season-low 13 points on 23 percent shooting in the third quarter and pulling ahead 72-69 on Steve Blake's 3-pointer at the end of the period.

The Lakers took the lead for good on Brown's two free throws that made it 78-76 with 8:10 to play. Bryant's 3-pointer from the right wing made it 87-80 with 4:38 remaining and L.A. hung on from there.

Notes: Bryant picked up his 11th technical foul of the season with 59.8 seconds left before halftime when he turned to official Steve Javie to apparently protest a non-call with Sefolosha guarding him. Players get a one-game suspension if they accrue 16 technical fouls in a season. ... Lakers coach Phil Jackson questioned just how much playoff knowledge Perkins can impart on the Thunder, despite the fact he helped Boston win the title against L.A. in 2008. "Kendrick's a pretty young guy. I don't know how much experience he has if Garnett's not talking in his ear and sending him where to go. I think he's got the notion but whether he can be a leader and lead that deal, that's another story." ... Mohammed and Robinson were both on the active roster but neither played even though coach Scott Brooks said both should be ready to contribute. "It probably doesn't say good about my playbook, but I think they picked it up pretty good," he said. "I should just lie to you guys. 'They're only on Page 1 right now."'

Copyright 2011 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

5 Blocks for Andrew Bynum, who was terrific on both ends of the floor, adding 16 points and 10 rebounds to his effort.

13 Points scored by Oklahoma City in a critical third quarter, the Lakers turning a 5-point halftime deficit into a 3-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.

14 Oklahoma City's biggest lead of the game, attained in the second quarter, which was trimmed in large part thanks to a terrific second period from Lamar Odom.

19 Turnovers for the Thunder, off of which the Lakers scored 22 points. The two biggest came in the final minute, when Ron Artest stripped Kevin Durant, and Pau Gasol drew a charge on Russell Westbrook.

48.7 L.A.'s quite good field goal percentage for the game, thanks to Bynum's 5-of-7, Pau Gasol's 7-of-13 (18 points) and Odom's 4-of-7 (nine points).

View More Photos

Points Gasol 18, 7-13 FG
Rebounds Gasol 11, 5 OFF 6 DEF
Assists Bryant 7
Steals Artset, Odom 2
Blocks Bynum 5



Opening statement:
"We were fortunate to come away with that win. Two shots like they had at the end of the game, (they were) good looks but we did the job in the second half defensively. We got things done we wanted to do…We had the advantage today. They are still a team that is putting their personality together. They played small and they out-rebounded us, but we had some things going for us."

On changing things defensively after the first half:
"They had too much penetration in the first half, the first quarter particularly and part of the second. (Russell) Westbrook and obviously (James) Harden were getting to the basket so we had to change that a little bit."

On taking so many charges:
"I can't remember our team doing this many. We talked to them about it and today they did it and tried it."

On what was said during timeouts when the score was 36-32:
"We were shading guys. (Eric) Maynor and Harden particularly both like to drive left and we were shading them to go left. They both had penetration but that's not how we wanted to play, we wanted to play straight up rather than force them in to the corner… I thought offensively we weren't getting things done the way we wanted to get them done. So I wanted to bark at them a little bit."


On what changed for the team after All-Star break:
"Nothing changed; we just got better in our system. It's as simple as that."

On charges taken by team
"I have been taking a lot lately. It is something we have been focusing on and we just have to all step up and do it."

On Thunder getting Perkins:
"It is great for them. Jeff Green was a big matchup problem for us though. He provided a lot of scoring for them but it does not seem like scoring is a problem for this team. Kendrick provides a big body for them inside and he is the best low post defender we have in the game."


On the Lakers big man:
"We played the same; we did not take more shots than we normally do just because they did not have Perkins yet. It was a focus however to get the ball inside and create penetration."

On defense:
"They attack the rim very well and we knew that. Westbrook and Kevin Durant do a good job of getting the ball inside. The plan was to get in front of them and that is why you saw so many charges."

What changed for the team after the All-Star break?"
"Better focus. We like where we are and we want to do what we have to do to get back to level we want to be at."


Opening statement:
"That was a very intense basketball game. I thought we played physical and we matched their physical play. Those 19 turnovers are pretty difficult to overcome. Other than that, I thought we played as hard as we could possibly play and they did the same. It was as intense as a regular season game can be."

On the Thunder's performance in the second half:
"We had a stretch there where we had good looks and we missed about four or five good shots in a row. The ten turnovers in the second half doesn't help. Their length and their size and their toughness, also bothers us. But that's something we have to continue to learn from and get better."

On the last play of the game:
"It was a tough look but those last 15 seconds of any ball game, you're not going to get great looks unless there's a complete meltdown on the defense. Ron Artest is a great defender. We had as good of a look and Nick (Collison) did a great job of keeping the ball alive and I think James (Harden) had even a better look. That's just the way it goes. Our intent was to get a good three or always take it to the basket and try to get a good draw and a foul to get on the free throw line and cut it to one."


On the game:
"I think this was another regular game for us. We just need to get over this hump."

On Thunder offense during the second half:
"We were just unable to knock down shots. Sometimes it happens like that where you are defending but you cannot make shots."


On the game:
"It felt like nothing could go our way. We missed shots and lay ups. Overall we missed a lot of opportunities. We have to give credit to those guys, they played great. We played hard all night and put ourselves in a position to win but we have to just stick together and learn from it. These losses are tough. We had that game. It was just a tough game."

On the final second three point attempt shot:
"I got a good look. Once I let it go, I thought it was good and James [Harden] felt the same way. Like I said that is how it felt during the game, that nothing could go our way but we just have to keep pushing it along with keeping fighting and staying positive. That was a great team we played out there tonight and we fought hard. We have to continue bringing that effort every game."

On what it is going to take to come back from this loss:
"As a team we have to practice well and be prepared. Along with that we have to keep playing defense. Hopefully we get a win next game."

On what they [Lakers] did defensively during the second half:
"They overall play good defense. I can count numerous times where we got to the lane and we missed. We have to finish those lay ups and be stronger."



The All-Star break seems to have re-energized the Los Angeles Lakers.

Maybe some new players can do the same for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The two division leaders face off for the second time Sunday, and the Thunder should haveKendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson available for the first time as they try to avoid losing a season-high third straight.

In possibly the most notable deal during the week of the trade deadline other than Carmelo Anthony going to New York, Oklahoma City (36-21) got Perkins and Robinson from Boston for Jeff Green, Nenad Krsticand a first-round pick.

The addition of Perkins, known as one of the league's top defensive big men, has Los Angeles especially on alert. The Lakers trailed 3-2 in last year's NBA finals before Perkins hurt his knee in Game 6, and the Celtics lost the series in seven.

"You know how I feel about Perk, how much respect I have for him defensively on the floor and how he plays," Kobe Bryant said of Perkins, whose knee injury caused him to miss all but 12 games this season.

Oklahoma City making that move was a bit of a surprise considering Green was a major contributor for a team which has the fourth-best record in the Western Conference, one spot behind Los Angeles (41-19). The Lakers didn't make any trades even though there were concerns for the two-time defending NBA champions before the break after they dropped three in a row.

However, Los Angeles has come out strong, winning three straight - two by double digits - and reaching at least 104 points in each while shooting 49.6 percent. During the three-game skid, they averaged 87.7 points and shot 41.8 percent.

"We're executing our game plan, moving the ball, doing the things that we do to win," Shannon Brown said after a 108-95 win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday. "It's not about the individuals, it's about the whole team and everyone's been on the same page for the most part."

Bryant scored 18 of his 24 points in the decisive third quarter despite banging his funny bone in the second. Though he couldn't fully extend his elbow after the game, Bryant said he didn't expect it to be a problem Sunday.

Pau Gasol scored 22 points on Friday and had 21 in the only meeting this season with Oklahoma City - as did Bryant - but he didn't have to deal with Perkins and the Lakers won 101-94 on Jan. 17. The teams also met in a first-round playoff series last season, with Los Angeles emerging in six games.

"We expect another dog fight," Brown said of Sunday's game. "They're a good, young, up and coming team that likes to run, get out and have fun."

The Thunder are looking to avoid their first three-game losing streak of the season. After defeating the Clippers coming out of the break, they have lost to San Antonio and Orlando.

Oklahoma City shot 33.3 percent in a 111-88 loss to the Magic on Friday. Kevin Durant had 23 points and 16 rebounds but shot 7 of 22.

Durant hopes the additions of Perkins and center Nazr Mohammed, also acquired in a trade earlier this week, will help them inside after Oklahoma City gave up 54 points in the paint to Orlando and was outrebounded 53-46. The Thunder have given up an average of 110.0 points the last two games.

"Hopefully Nazr and Perk will help us with that," said Durant, shooting 36.3 percent the last four games.

Copyright 2011 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 Matt Barnes (right knee surgery) is out.
Theo Ratliff
(left knee surgery) is out.

Kendrick Perkins (left knee) is out.

01/17 - OKC @ LAL W 101-94
02/27 - LAL @ OKC
04/10 - OKC @ LA

Oklahoma City made a couple trades this week that they think will make them championship contenders this season. By getting Kendrick Perkins and Nazr Mohammed they have added the bulk and defensive mindset that they need to complement the athleticism that Westbrook & Durant bring to the table. They will miss the three point shooting and occasional low post threat that Jeff Green gave them but as they say, you have to give up something to get something. Lakers fans are obviously aware of what Perkins brings to the table and this could turn out to be an excellent move for the Thunder. However, when it comes to the short term, we will have to take advantage of the fact that we are catching this team when the new players haven't had much time to get introduced to their system. Perkins is also nursing a minor injury and not expected to play. Jeff Green started but he also played a lot with their bench group giving their subs an offensive threat and stabilizing force. It will take some time for their bench to adjust and it will be up to James Harden to increase his production. We must look to win the bench battle in this game.

Read Full Scouting Report @ Lakers Courtside Connection


The Lakers currently lead their season series with the Thunder 1-0 after taking last season's series from Oklahoma City 3-1. The Lakers have now won the last five consecutive season series from Oklahoma City, sweeping the 2008-09 (3-0) and 2007-08 (4-0) series and taking 2006-07 3-1. Meeting last year in the First Round of the 2010 NBA Playoffs, the Lakers advanced past the Thunder in six games (4- 2) and improved to 6-2 in postseason series against the franchise. The two teams have met 219 times in the regular season but just eight times since the Thunder relocated to Oklahoma City prior to the 2008-09 season. Los Angeles leads the all- time series 135-84. In their most recent visit to Oklahoma City, the Lakers lost to the Thunder 75-91, snapping their 12-game win streak over the Thunder and marking their first loss to the Thunder since the team's relocation from Seattle. The Lakers are 14-2 in their last 16 games against Oklahoma City and have won 13 of their last 14 against the Thunder overall. On the road against the Thunder, the Lakers have gone 8-2 in their last 10 overall. The Lakers have now played six times during the regular season at Oklahoma City Arena in Oklahoma City, going 0- 2 against the New Orleans Hornets while the team was temporarily relocated from 2005-07 but 3-1 against the Thunder. At home, the Lakers have gone 9-1 in their last 10 games against the Thunder and are 15-8 all-time against Oklahoma City at STAPLES Center. Under head coach Phil Jackson, the Lakers are 27-12 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 51 career games including 44 starts, Bryant is averaging 25.0 points against the Thunder.

Kobe Bryant's 24 points in the Lakers victory over the Clippers (2/25) took him over the 1,500-point mark for the 11th consecutive season, marking the longest such streak by an NBA player since Karl Malone reached that milestone in 12 straight seasons (1986-87 to 1997-98).*

With 37 points in the Lakers overtime victory 2/23 at Portland, Kobe Bryant moved within 34 points of Elvin Hayes (7th/27,313) on the NBA's all-time scoring list. Earlier this season, Bryant moved past Hall-of-Famers Hakeem Olajuwon (26,946) 1/28 vs. Sacramento, Oscar Robertson (26,710) 1/7 vs. New Orleans, Dominique Wilkins (26,668) 1/4 vs. Detroit and John Havlicek (26,395) 12/10 at Chicago on the all-time list. At his current pace (25.2 ppg), Bryant (27,303) is poised to move into 6th on the all-time list by season's end. Next on the all-time list ahead of Bryant and Hayes (7th/27,313) are Moses Malone (6th/27,409) and Shaquille O'Neal (5th/28,590). Among the top eight scorers in NBA history, five have worn the Lakers uniform (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1st), Karl Malone (2nd), Wilt Chamberlain (4th), O'Neal (5th) and Bryant (8th)).

Bryant has been steadily moving up the list over the past few years. Earlier this season, with 23 points at Chicago (12/10/10), he passed John Havlicek (26,395) for 11th. Last season, he passed Alex English (25,613), Reggie Miller (25,279), Jerry West (25,192), Patrick Ewing (24,815) and Allen Iverson (24,368). In passing West with a slam dunk at the 4:14 mark of the third quarter February 1, 2010 at Memphis, finishing the game with 44 points (West's retired number), Bryant became the leading scorer in Lakers franchise history. In 2008-09, Bryant passed Gary Payton (21,813) and Hall-of-Famers Charles Barkley (23,757), Robert Parish (23,334), Adrian Dantley (23,177), Elgin Baylor (23,149), Clyde Drexler (22,195) and Larry Bird (21,791).

With their 104-80 victory vs. Atlanta on February 22nd, the Lakers recorded their league-leading NINTH wire-to-wire win of the season. Getting to seven wire-to-wire victories in just 39 games matched the Lakers regular season total from all of last season, while their eighth in 46 games surpassed that total. This season, the Lakers (9) lead the NBA in wire-to-wire victories, followed by the Celtics (7), Heat (7), Spurs (6) and Nuggets (6) through games played 2/25/11. The Lakers other wire-to-wire victories this season came against the Warriors (10/31 vs. GS, 11/21 vs. GS), Grizzlies (11/2 vs. MEM), Wizards (12/7 vs. WAS), Pacers (12/15 @ IND), 76ers (12/31 vs. PHI), Cavaliers (1/11 vs. CLE) and Jazz (1/25 vs. Utah). Last year, the Lakers claimed NINE wire-to-wire victories (games in which they never trailed); seven during the regular season and two during the 2010 Playoffs (4/18 & 4/27 vs. Oklahoma City). During their previous championship run in 2008-09, the Lakers claimed 11 wire-to-wire victories; nine during the regular season and two during the 2009 Playoffs (4/29 vs. Utah & 5/17 vs. Houston). Last season, the Lakers also lost twice in wire-to-wire fashion (98-107 1/8/10 @ POR and 75-91 3/26/10 @ OKC).

On Tuesday, February 16th, the Lakers concluded a seven-game road trip as well as their pre-All-Star break schedule with a 38-19 record (.667). Below is a breakdown of the Lakers pre & post All-Star break records under head coach Phil Jackson:

On February 21st, Kobe Bryant was named MVP of the 60th NBA All-Star Game at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, CA. rebounds, three assists and three steals, Bryant's MVP performance tied him with Bob Pettit (4) for the most NBA All-Star Game MVP awards in league history, surpassing Michael Jordan, Shaquille O'Neal and Oscar Robertson (3). In earning the honor, Bryant became the 7th player in the last 44 years to be named MVP of an All-Star game that was played in his own home arena, joining Jerry West (1972, Great Western Forum), Michael Jordan (1988, Chicago Stadium), Karl Malone & John Stockton (co-MVPs in 1993, Delta Center) and Shaquille O'Neal, who did it twice (2004, STAPLES Center & 2009, US Airways Center). Bryant's 37 points were tied for the 4th most points scored in All-Star Game history with Kevin Garnett (2003), trailing only Wilt Chamberlain (42 points, 1962), Jordan (40 points, 1988) and Rick Barry (38 points, 1967).

Additionally, Bryant's 37-point night and Kevin Durant's 34-point effort marked just the second time that two All-Stars on the same team scored 30-or-more points in the same game. The only other time that happened was in the 1977 game when Julius Erving and Bob McAdoo each scored 30 points for the Eastern Conference. Also, Bryant and Tim Duncan appeared on the same side in an All-Star game for the 12th time on Sunday night, marking the most appearances in an All-Star game as teammates for any two players in NBA history, surpassing Dolph Schayes and Bob Cousy (11 All-Star appearances as teammates).*

GASOL'S 30/20
With 30 points (8-15 FG, 14-14 FT) and 20 rebounds February 16th at Cleveland, Pau Gasol posted the first 30-point/20-rebound game of his career while becoming the 10th Laker in franchise history ever to do so, joining Shaquille O'Neal (10), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (19), Happy Hairston (1), Wilt Chamberlain (21), Rudy LaRusso (1), Elgin Baylor (77), Larry Foust (1), Clyde Lovellette (1) and George Mikan (10) in the 30/20 club (number in parentheses is with Lakers only). The last Laker to record a 30/20 game prior to Gasol was Shaquille O'Neal, who posted 31 points and 26 rebounds in an overtime victory over Milwaukee on March 21st, 2004.

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