GAMEDAY LINKS: Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 OT1 OT2 Final
Box Score Oklahoma City Thunder 26 26 25 14 6 9 106
Play by Play Los Angeles Lakers 20 27 14 30 6 17 114




Lakers outlast Thunder 114-106 in double OT

By GREG BEACHAM


Posted Apr 22 2012 4:01PM

LOS ANGELES (AP) Kobe Bryant scored six of his 26 points in the second overtime, and the Los Angeles Lakers rallied from an 18-point deficit in the second half for a 114-106 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday.

Metta World Peace scored 12 points before getting ejected late in the second quarter for a vicious elbow to the back of James Harden's head while celebrating a dunk. Harden, who had 14 points, briefly returned to Oklahoma City's bench, but didn't play again.

Pau Gasol had 20 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists for the Lakers, who made an impressive comeback in their regular-season home finale against off-target Thunder stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, who combined to miss 42 of their 56 shots.

The Lakers did it with an unorthodox lineup featuring seldom-used Devin Ebanks and Jordan Hill alongside Bryant, Gasol and backup point guard Steve Blake, who hit three key 3-pointers. Ebanks had eight points and two key defensive plays in the final minute, while Hill had 14 points and a career high-tying 15 rebounds.

Durant had 35 points on 11-for-34 shooting and eight rebounds for the Thunder, who led by 11 points with 4 minutes left in regulation. Westbrook had 14 points on 3-for-22 shooting and 10 assists as Oklahoma City fell a full game behind San Antonio atop the Western Conference with its third loss in nine games.

Bryant struggled through the first three quarters of his first home game since April 6 before coming alive down the stretch, including two key 3-pointers in the final minutes of regulation. Bryant then hit the tiebreaking fall-away jumper with 52 seconds left in the second overtime, followed by two free throws as the Lakers hung on.

Serge Ibaka added 18 points and 14 rebounds for the Thunder.

World Peace was making major contributions to the Lakers on both ends of the court before his ejection for yet another unpredictable outburst in the erstwhile Ron Artest's long history of misbehavior.

He had just dunked on a fast break and was headed back upcourt when he ran into Harden, who already had 14 points for Oklahoma City. While pounding his chest with his right arm, World Peace raised his elbow over Harden's shoulder and cleanly hit Harden in the back of the skull.

Harden dropped to the court and stayed down for about a minute before heading to the locker room. Ibaka and other Thunder players challenged World Peace, but were kept apart, and World Peace was ejected after officials reviewed the tape.

World Peace, who changed his name last year, has been mostly well-behaved during his three seasons with the Lakers, yet he'll always be most famous for his 86-game suspension for participating in the brawl in the Palace of Auburn Hills stands while playing for Indiana in November 2004.

The Lakers pulled within one point on World Peace's dunk, but fell apart after the ejection, managing just 14 points in the next 14 minutes.

NOTES: Matt Barnes played sparingly while nursing an apparent ankle injury for the Lakers. ... The Lakers missed their first eight 3-pointers before Blake's 3 with 4:36 to play. ... Bryant wore no support on his knees, and Lakers point guard Ramon Sessions ditched the harness he has worn for several games on his sprained left shoulder. ... Derek Fisher got another loud ovation from his longtime Lakers fans when he checked in for the Thunder. The veteran point guard had five points. ... Jack Nicholson celebrated his 75th birthday in his usual courtside seat. Other fans near courtside included Denzel Washington, Will Ferrell, Mark Harmon, Ashton Kutcher, Steven Spielberg, Jerry Ferrara and Flea.


Copyright 2012 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 take on the Dallas Mavericks Sunday, April 15th at Staples Center at 12:30PM. Catch all the action on Fox Sports West, ABC, and 710ESPN.







View More Photos


Points Bryant 26, 9-26
Rebounds Gasol 14, 6 OFF 8 DEF
Assists Blake 9
Steals Bynum 5
Blocks Gasol 2


POSTGAME QUOTES



Mike Brown:

Lakers coach Mike Brown on the team’s defense:
“Our pick and roll coverage was horrible in the first half and the third quarter but we just stayed with it and our pick and roll coverage picked up, our intensity picked up, our physicality picked up and we were able to put ourselves in a position to win.”

Lakers coach Mike Brown on Kobe Bryant:
“Kobe hit big shot after big shot. He did what he’s supposed to do. His one-legged 40 footer to put us up by 1 for the first time was Kobe-esque. It’s kept the crowd in it and gave us energy. His 8 assists – it was a big night finding his teammates.”

Lakers coach Mike Brown on the contributions from Devin Ebanks and Jordan Hill:
“I would be wrong if I sit up here and didn’t say we got two huge contributions from guys that don’t play much. Devin Ebanks was 1 for 4 from the field but he got to the free throw line 10 times which was huge. His 3 offensive rebounds…it seemed like he had 8 offensive rebounds if not more and that was huge.”

Lakers coach Mike Brown on Ebanks defending Durant:
“To be asked to go out there and guard an all-star in Kevin Durant and just make him work… you’re not going to stop him, he’s still going to get his points – Kevin Durant takes 34 shots. He went out there and tried to do everything we asked him, showing his edge, trying to be as physical as possible and make Kevin Durant work. I thought he did a heck of a job for who he is compared to where Kevin Durant is in his career. I take my hat off to Devin Ebanks.”

Lakers coach Mike Brown on his decision to play Jordan Hill in today’s game:
“On my ride back from the airport after our loss to San Antonio I just had a gut feel. I picked up the phone and called Jordan Hill at 2 in the morning and I said ‘Jordan, you ready to play?’ ‘Coach, whatever you need.’ I said, ‘Okay, I’m thinking about throwing you out on the floor in this next game so there are things I need from you – I’m not sure if I’m going to do it, but if I throw you out there I want to see some athleticism, I want to see you sprinting to pick and rolls, I want to see you playing and defending pick and rolls right and blocking shots and patrolling that paint.’ He said, ‘Yes sir, I’ll do it.’”

Lakers coach Mike Brown on Jordan Hill:
“There was no rhyme or reason; I just wanted to see what he looked like on the floor. He goes out there and he comes up with 15 boards and 14 points which is a good night and just as importantly, 3 blocks. But, more important than that is the stuff that won’t show up on the stat sheets is his pick and roll defense. In the first half, our pick and roll coverage was not good. Jordan stepped up on the floor and played pick and roll defense and he was a presence.”




Pau Gasol:

Lakers’ Pau Gasol on why this game was important:
“It was important for different reasons. Playoff time is around the corner and there’s only one more game left. This is the kind of game that we’re going to be facing very soon. We haven’t been very consistent lately, we lost two really bad games against San Antonio and those are potential second round opponents, San Antonio an OKC. No matter how you look at it, you want to move on, be able to beat them and you have to play well.”

Lakers’ Pau Gasol on not being favored for either series:
“It doesn’t mean anything and it doesn’t guarantee anything. You have got to out there, you have got to compete, give your best effort, and then see who wins.”




Devin Ebanks:

Lakers’ Devin Ebanks on if he knew he would be thrust into a huge role in today’s game:
“I just had to stay ready like I’ve been doing all season and when your name is called, just be ready.”

Lakers’ Devin Ebanks on how he managed to stay focused despite not getting consistent playing time throughout the season:
“I wouldn’t let myself get too down, I’d keep confident. Whether he uses me or not, I just have to stay ready and be professional.”




Steve Blake:

Lakers’ Steve Blake on how the team managed to come back from a huge deficit:
“We stayed composed, stayed focused, played defense the way we’re supposed to be playing and on offensively, we made shots.”

Lakers’ Steve Blake on Jordan Hill’s play today:
“It was great to see have the success he had after not playing for a long time. It’s not easy to do. He definitely helped us get this win so I was proud of him.”

Lakers’ Steve Blake on the play of the bench today:
“Everyone that came into the game did what they were supposed to do. We brought energy, played defense and contributed on offense. Everybody played their role the way they were supposed to do.”

Lakers’ Steve Blake on how well Devin Ebanks defended Kevin Durant:
Great, great. He was always there, giving him fits. You’re not always going to stop those guys, but just to let them know you’re going to be there every possession is good.”

Lakers’ Steve Blake on how big this win was against one of the top teams in the league:
“It’s huge for us. Momentum is big going into the playoffs. We just had two bad losses against the Spurs, who are a top team. So it’s nice to get a win against one of the better teams just to have us feel good going into our next game and into the playoffs.”




Kobe Bryant:

Lakers’ Kobe Bryant on the play of Hill and Ebanks off the bench:
“They performed extremely well. They played at a high level and they were prepared. Devin has stayed the course all year long without complaining. When his number was called, he went out there, performed and performed well and Jordan did, too.”

Lakers’ Kobe Bryant on how the team was able to limit the Thunder on offense in that fourth quarter:
“We did a better job of executing our coverages. Up until that point, we didn’t do a very solid job of that on a consistent basis and gave them a lot of practice shots --- shots that are in rhythm and easy dunks at the basket. So we were able to minimize that and as a result, the percentages dropped.”

Lakers’ Kobe Bryant on how important it was to get a win like this after overcoming such a huge deficit:
“It was good to have one like that. We really hadn’t had a deficit that we overcame successfully throughout the course of the season against a good team. In playoff basketball, you’re going to see a lot of that, especially on the road when a crowd gets behind a team and all of a sudden, you find yourself down 15 or 17 points just off momentum. So you’ll have to keep chipping away and find the poise to get back in the game.”




Jordan Hill:

Lakers’ Jordan Hill on his performance today:
“I went out there and had fun, did what I had to do, stick to my game and help my team come out with a huge win.”

Lakers’ Jordan Hill on his talk with coach Mike Brown about possibly playing today:
“He wanted somebody to come out there and get rebounds, wanted more athleticism, somebody that could run the floor and score a little bit. We talked and I said, ‘Hey, I’m here.’ He called me and I did what I had to do.”

Lakers’ Jordan Hill on his frustration:
“Definitely. Coming in here, they already had their team chemistry. I knew I could play, but it was definitely frustrating coming from Houston and playing there, to coming here and not getting my opportunity. It was definitely frustrating, but I knew my time was going to come and I knew I had to stay ready. And that’s what I did.”




Scott Brooks:

Thunder coach Scott Brooks on today’s game:
“It was a heck of a game. It was hard fought, both teams competed, and we got cold when we needed to stay hot. They got to the free throw line in the fourth quarter, I thought that was the key. We were putting them on the line, they got 15 free throws to our zero, until Russell [Westbrook] got fouled at the end. We were taking jump shots. You’re not going to get an opportunity to get to the line when you take jump shots. But, we’ll take those shots. We had good looks, it wasn’t out of poor execution, we got good looks. Normally we make those shots and I’ll take those next game.”

Thunder coach Scott Brooks on today’s game being a Playoff preview:
“Anytime you’re playing against one of the best teams and the best player on their home court, it puts a tremendous amount of stress on your team. I thought we handled it well. We got a big lead and unfortunately we couldn’t sustain that. We had opportunities to make shots, like I said, I’ll take those same shots again. They weren’t bad looks, they were looks but, I do like to get to the free throw line more and that’s what we usually do when we don’t make shots.”

Thunder coach Scott Brooks on what went wrong:
“I thought the third quarter we had everything going for us, we were defending, we were making shots. In the fourth quarter we had 14 points. We missed a lot of good shots. I give our guys credit, they set great screens, their passes were on time, but we missed some shots. Kevin [Durant] had a lot of open shots and Russell [Westbrook] had some open shots that he would make. But, it’s part of it, it’s part of it. You have to adjust and get to the free throw line and we didn’t get to the free throw line. Fifteen to zero in free throws, we didn’t do a good job of attacking the basket.”

Thunder coach Scott Brooks on if he is concerned by today’s loss:
“I’m not worried at all. All I focus on in our guys is getting a good shot. You’re not going to make every shot, things aren’t always going to be perfect. You have to keep defending. We put ourselves in a place to still win the game, but we did not make shots in the fourth quarter. I believe in Kevin [Durant], I believe in Russell [Westbrook], I believe in what our guys do. Some nights, they’re not going to fall for you. But, as long as their execution and the shots are good, you’ve got to live with the results.”




Kevin Durant:

Thunder’s Kevin Durant on the loss:
“We played hard on both ends. We just couldn’t get shots to fall in overtime. That’s how the game is played. We’ve got to get past this. It was a good game for us. I was struggling shooting, Russ was, but we still came out and played hard. It didn’t affect our defense. We didn’t lose because we didn’t guard anybody. We made them shoot tough shots and they made some.”

Thunder’s Kevin Durant on the team’s poor shooting performance:
“We got good shots. I can name eight or nine times I missed wide open shots. Russell missed some wide open ones and Serge missed some wide open ones. We’ve got to live with that, but we played hard on the defensive end. We made Kobe Bryant take tough shots and make tough shots. We fought all game, it’s unfortunate we lost, but we’ve got to move on.”

Thunder’s Kevin Durant on the shot selection at the end of regulation and the first OT:
“You can always say that if you miss that you could have taken a different shot. I’ve made that before. I felt confident when it left my hand like a lot of other shots but it just didn’t go in.”




Russell West:

Thunder’s Russell Westbrook on his poor shooting night:
“It was a tough night for me all night long. Regardless of what’s going on I still have to be there to run my team. Unfortunately I didn’t do a great job of that tonight but hopefully next time.”

Thunder’s Russell Westbrook on the Thunder’s effort level:
“We played tremendously hard. They made a run in the fourth, but I feel like if we play like that we’re going to win 9 times out of 10.”




Kendrick Perkins:

Thunder’s Kendrick Perkins on the Lakers comeback:
“I thought they were in attack mode. They made the refs blow the whistle. They got to the line and we didn’t. They were in the bonus with eight minutes to go. We were settling for jump shots. Overall our effort was great on the defensive end. It was some of the best energy I’ve seen in a long time.”






Thunder - Lakers Preview

By JEFF BARTL


Kobe Bryant said he's feeling no effects from his injured shin after returning to the Los Angeles Lakers' lineup. Hosting Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder should provide another tough test.

Los Angeles tries to avoid a season sweep to Oklahoma City on Sunday in a matchup of teams fighting for playoff position toward the top of the Western Conference.

The Lakers went 5-2 without Bryant in the lineup as he nursed a bruised left shin, but he came back Friday and the team suffered its most lopsided loss of the season in a 121-97 defeat at San Antonio.

Bryant got off to a slow start but shot 5 of 6 from the field in the second half, when he scored 11 of his 18 points.

"I feel great and I feel healthy," Bryant said. "I'm back now. I feel fresh and I'm back to 100 percent."

Andrew Bynum scored 17 points - he averaged 26.3 in the previous four games - and had a season-low two rebounds. Pau Gasol added 11 points and eight boards after averaging 21.1 and 10.1, respectively, over his previous seven games.

The Lakers (40-24) are one-half game ahead of the Los Angeles Clippers for the Pacific Division lead and the West's third seed, but Bynum isn't worried about where they finish heading into the postseason.

"If we want to keep the third spot we have to win. If not, then we will be fourth," Bynum said. "The way playoff basketball is with a seven-game series, it doesn't matter where we are. We play the same."

Oklahoma City (46-17) trails San Antonio by one-half game for the conference's top seed and has won both meetings with the Lakers. The Thunder haven't swept this season series since taking all four matchups in 2000-01 when they were the Seattle SuperSonics.

The Thunder won 100-85 behind Durant's 33 points on Feb. 23 and 102-93 in Los Angeles on March 29 as Russell Westbrook scored 36.

Bryant struggled in both contests, shooting a combined 28.6 percent (14 of 49) as he averaged 23.5 points.

He's averaging 27.9 this season and maintains a slight lead over Durant (27.8) as he tries to end the Oklahoma City superstar's two-year reign as league scoring champion.

Durant had 29 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists in Friday's 103-92 win over Sacramento.

"Kevin was solid, that was a solid game, he filled out the stat sheet on just about every positive," coach Scott Brooks told the team's official website. "He rebounded, he passed and he made his teammates get good looks.

"He has to continue to focus on making his teammates look better and get better and make them get easier shots and he did that tonight."

Kendrick Perkins added 10 points and seven rebounds for the Thunder, winners of six of eight since a season-worst three-game losing streak.

"We just have to make sure we get our rest," Perkins said. "We're going to L.A. for business and not fun, so we have to make sure we take care of our legs, our bodies and we'll be ready."

In 22 head-to-head matchups - 16 in the regular season and six in the postseason - Bryant is averaging 26.4 points with Durant averaging 25.0. The Lakers have won 16 of those contests, including a 2010 playoff series.

4/20/12
L SAS 121, LAL 97
4/18/12
W LAL 99, GSW 87
4/17/12
L SAS 112, LAL 91
4/15/12
W LAL 112, DAL 108
4/13/12
W LAL 103, DEN 97
Probable Starters
Lakers
#15 World Peace SF #35 Durant
#16 Gasol PF #9 Ibaka
#17 Bynum C #5 Perkins
#24 Bryant SG #2 Sefolosha
#7 Sessions PG #0 Westbrook



Lakers Kobe Bryant
(tenosynovitis, left shin) is day-to-day.
Ramon Sessions
(sprained left shoulder - ac joint) is probable.

Eric Maynor
(torn right ACL) is out.


Game 1: 2/23 - LAL @ OKC L 85-100
Game 2: 3/29 - OKC @ LAL L 93-102
Game 3: 4/22 - OKC @ LAL


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