Game Recap

4 Number of turnovers on the night for the Thunder, a season-low

10-for15 Shooting numbers for Russell Westbrook, who scored a game-high 27 points

13 Steals for the Thunder on the night, including two apiece by six different players

13-0  Advantage in fast break points for the Thunder on the night

20 Assists by the Thunder, including nine by Russell Westbrook, who also had seven rebounds

22  Points off turnovers for the Thunder, which forced the Lakers into 15 giveaways

25 Points for Kevin Durant on the evening, in addition to eight rebounds and four assists

50 Bench points on the night from the Thunder, led by 17 from James Harden

  119 Total points for the Thunder, which were scored by 12 different players. That is the most any team has scored in the 2012 NBA Playoffs

       
GAME IN REVIEW


RECAP:
From the very first possession of the game, it was clear that this Thunder team would stay constantly vigilant throughout the night, as it has all season.

Guard Russell Westbrook made a steal and dumped it off to Thabo Sefolosha for a layup to start the game, and then the Thunder took control with a 33-8 spurt that spanned halftime en route to a 119-90 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 1 of Round 2 of the Western Conference Playoffs. It took a team effort to do the job, as all 13 men played and 12 scored, and Head Coach Scott Brooks said that an identical, if not better effort will be necessary for Game 2.

"We played good basketball," Coach Brooks said. "Like I told the guys, it's one game. The first team to four wins this series. Come Wednesday night, regardless if you won by one or 20, it's going to have no impact on Wednesday night. We have to come back with the same energy."

That high intensity, egged on by Chesapeake Energy Arena's vociferous crowd, was steadied by the patient, exacting play of Westbrook, who racked up 27 points, nine assists and seven rebounds in 27 minutes of action. Center Kendrick Perkins said Westbrook played under control and helped get everyone involved, as both a balanced scoring and beautiful 20-4 assist to turnover ratio carried the day.

"I think it was a team effort," Westbrook said. "Everybody came out and did a great job of distributing the ball, finding open guys and getting easy shots. It was a good thing for us and we took care of the ball."

Kevin Durant also chipped in with four assists of his own to go with zero turnovers. His 25 points along with James Harden's 17 paced the Thunder in different stretches. When it came down to it on the offensive end, it was Westbrook and Durant's penetration, vision and ability to attack off the pick-and-roll that facilitated everyone's offense.

"Russell and Kevin did a great job of finding everyone and really controlling the ball," Harden said. "That was a key to the game… The first group did a great job of executing and getting a couple of easy baskets, and Kevin hit a couple threes. Everyone helped out and did a great job too."

Despite the final score, the game certainly wasn't without drama, as the Thunder wrestled with the Lakers for the lead throughout the first and the majority of the second quarter. In addition, Perkins re-aggravated his hip injury, but returned to the bench and was available for action. Fortunately for him, however, the game was well in hand. When Perkins briefly went back to the locker room, guard Thabo Sefolosha and center Nazr Mohammed stepped in and amplified the defensive intensity. After the game, Perkins praised Mohammed's ability to stay sharp and perform when called upon.

"They played well," Perkins said of Sefolosha and Mohammed. "I thought Nazr came in, not really playing the whole series last series and he's just a true vet. You can tell that he's been there before and won a championship because he stayed ready. He came in tonight and gave us some great minutes."

The team win was aided by the full week of practice the Thunder had ahead of this meeting, but also the way the team as a whole, down to every individual, approached the game with a dedication to doing the little things right. Durant, who has been a stoic, rock solid leader, said that the Thunder needs to bring the same passion, focus and effort into tomorrow's practice, Wednesday's shoot-around and Game 2, because after all, this is a best-of-seven series, with only one game in the books.

"For me I'm always saying that we can't get too high, we can't get too low," Durant said. "We just have to come out tomorrow and focus in on the film, see what we can do to get better from this game and just try to get ready for Game 2. You know those guys are going to come out and play extremely hard. We're just looking forward to tomorrow for a good practice to see how we can get better."

Turning Point
The turning point in this one came during a nine-and-a-half minute stretch that spanned the final 3:34 of the first half and the opening 6:09 of the second half. The Thunder's lead had been cut to eight points at 50-42, when Head Coach Scott Brooks' crew went on a dazzling 33-8 run that lasted until 5:51 remained in the third quarter, giving the Thunder an 83-50 lead. Sparked by Thabo Sefolosha and Serge Ibaka re-entering the game, the Thunder forced the Lakers into =six straight missed shots and a turnover to end the half, while Russell Westbrook facilitated the offense by dishing to Kendrick Perkins for a jumper. Westbrook then knocked down a three pointer and made a steal and drew a foul before Kevin Durant put the Thunder up 15 points going into halftime with a floater in the lane.

"Guys were just locked in," Perkins said. I thought we did a great job of helping each other, helping the helper. Guys were trusting each other defensively and offensively tonight. We just came out, you could tell by the focus in the locker room that it was there before the game. Guys were just on the same page. We stuck to the game plan tonight and that's what we have to continue to do."

Coming out of halftime, the Thunder reeled off nine straight points thanks to a Durant pull-up jumper, a Durant-to-Westbrook alley-oop, a Westbrook dump-off pass to Durant for a three-pointer and then a Westbrook to Perkins feed for a layup. By that point the lead was 24, and the Thunder continued to make shots and play great defense to build that 33-point margin.

"Coach emphasized to us at halftime coming out and playing the same way with the same intensity," Westbrook said. "I think we did that the first three or four minutes of the third quarter. From then on it was cruising for us."

Plays the box score won't show, first half
Russell Westbrook starts off the game with a steal and a dish to Thabo Sefolosha for a layup, then Kevin Durant comes around a screen and makes a lefty dunk over Andrew Bynum… Serge Ibaka keeps a play alive on the offensive glass and tips in a missed shot… Kendrick Perkins sets a screen for Westbrook who knocks down his second midrange jumper in a row… Perkins sets another great screen to free up Durant on a curl for a jumper… Great hustle by Sefolosha to knock the ball away, then Durant hits Ibaka for a midrange jumper… Westbrook stays in there and grabs an offensive board and feeds Ibaka for a layup… Great hustle by James Harden and Nick Collison to get on the floor for a loose ball, then Collison snares an offensive rebound that leads to a Harden layup with the foul… Derek Fisher forces Kobe to pass out, then grabs a defensive board and Kevin Durant follows up his miss for a dunk… Fisher then makes a steal leading to a Harden euro-step and drawn foul… Great instincts by Nazr Mohammed to make a help side block and then Collison comes up with the loose ball… Mohammed makes a defensive board by boxing out, then slaps the ball out of Bynum's hands… Daequan Cook gets the shooter's roll on an in-bounds play with a nice jumper… Harden drives and kicks to Cook for a big three pointer from deep, then a great pick-and-roll from Fisher to Collison for a big dunk and the foul… Tough defense by Mohammed, then Cook picks up the loose ball that leads to a Mohammed tip-in at the rim… Great block by Fisher as Mohammed reels in the loose ball… Harden anticipates the pass and runs out for a slam dunk… Westbrook facilitating again as he drives the lane and dishes off to Collison for a jam… Nice box out by Mohammed, then Harden glides to the rim and hits a floater with the foul… Another solid screen from Perkins for a Westbrook jumper, then a nice box out by Westbrook… Westbrook picks up a defensive board then a loose ball and dishes to Perkins for a free throw line jumper… Durant uses his length to grab a rebound, then Sefolosha makes a steal and gets it to Westbrook for a three pointer… Good awareness by Westbrook to snag the loose ball and get to the rim to draw a foul… Durant skies to get a defensive rebound then hits a floater in the lane… Incredible job of boxing out by Russell Westbrook on Pau Gasol to end the half.

Plays the box score won't show, second half
Perkins frees up Durant for a mid-range jumper over Bynum, then Sefolosha forces Bryant into a contested long jumper miss… Durant feeds Westbrook off a big slam off a Perkins back screen, then Sefolosha snares a defensive board and Westbrook drops one off for Durant for three… More good defense from Sefolosha to chase Bryant off a curl, then Westbrook hits Perkins for a layup… Westbrook drives and dishes to Sefolosha, who hits Durant for a three pointer, then Sefolosha makes a steal and runs the length of the floor for a bucket… Beautiful drive and dish from Westbrook to Sefolosha for a corner three, then great help side defense by Mohammed to make a block… Strong box out from Ibaka to free up Westbrook for a rebound, then Westbrook smartly draws his man up in the air to get a foul call… Durant grabs a defensive board and fires a one-handed bounce pass to Mohammed for a jumper… Nice job by Durant to find Mohammed off a curl for a short corner jumper, then Westbrook posts up in the lane for a turnaround jumper… Two really nice post-up moves from Westbrook as he backed his man down and turned over his right shoulder… Mohammed comes over to make a help side block after nice defense from Harden, then nice awareness by Collison to snag a loose ball… Fisher bodies up Bryant, Harden comes away with the loose ball, then Harden draws the foul as his jersey is getting tugged… Collison makes an offensive rebound, Harden snags a ball between his legs, then draws the foul… Collison and Mohammed combine to make a steal, then a pretty backdoor pass from Collison to Harden for a jam… Harden to Cook to Fisher for a corner jumper, that's beautiful basketball… Cole Aldrich enters the game and makes a monster put back dunk… Royal Ivey picks up a loose ball and hits a mid-range jumper, then Cook comes off a curl for a three pointer… Aldrich stays active and puts home two loose rebounds, then Ivey tracks down a pitch ahead pass for a steal…Lazar Hayward hustles to knock a ball away, Fisher knocks down and three and Ivey jumps in front to make a steal to end the game.

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