Game Recap

7 Blocked shots by Serge Ibaka on the night, all but one of the Thunder's total blocked shots

7 Largest lead for both the Thunder and the Lakers at different points in the game

8-for-19 Shooting numbers for Andrew Bynum, who was defended by Kendrick Perkins, Nazr Mohammed and Nick Collison

9  Number of players who scored for the Thunder on the night, including 24 bench points

9-for-25 Shooting numbers for Kobe Bryant, who was defended by Thabo Sefolosha, James Harden and Kevin Durant

18  Lead changes in the game, which also featured 12 ties

18-5 Fast break points advantage for the Thunder on the night

22 Points for Kevin Durant on 9-for-15 shooting, in addition to seven rebounds and five assists

        
GAME IN REVIEW


RECAP:
Game 2 couldn't have had a more opposite style than Game 1 of Round 2 of the Western Conference Playoffs, but just the same, the Thunder found a way to get a win.

On Monday the Thunder scored 119 points in a runaway victory, but the Los Angeles Lakers took the Thunder to the wire on Wednesday, with Head Coach Scott Brooks' club prevailing 77-75. Trailing by seven with 2:08 to play, the Thunder didn't give in, scoring the game's final nine points including a Kevin Durant game-winning floater with 18.6 seconds remaining. It took a fantastic all around defensive game, however, to put the Thunder in position to win a slow, plodding, "ground and pound" kind of game.

"I thought we played great defense throughout the game," Brooks said. "We knew going in to this game that they (the Lakers) were going to play much harder and play better basketball. They did a good job of really forcing their style of play, but we can play multiple ways. I thought our guys did a good job of really grinding it out."

The Thunder defense throughout the night was critical, holding the Lakers to 38.5 percent shooting, including a 2-for-15 night from three point land. In the final two minutes, the Thunder forced three turnovers and three missed shots, including two misses and one turnover by Kobe Bryant. James Harden and Kevin Durant saw time on Bryant throughout the night, but in those closing moments Thabo Sefolosha re-entered the game to take on the challenge.

"It was very big, especially at the right time," Sefolosha said. "We really put the pressure on him throughout the whole game and I think that made him miss some shots at the end. It was big for us… I just try to make it tough, try to deny him the ball, not let him catch it and just be aware of fouls and relying on my teammates also if he goes to the basket."

Bryant was forced into a 9-for-25 shooting night for 20 points, including a 0-for-6 night from the three point line. Whether it was Sefolosha's length, Harden's discipline and strength or Durant's go-go gadget arms, the Thunder did what was necessary to force Bryant into an inefficient evening. The same can be said for Kendrick Perkins, Nazr Mohammed, Serge Ibaka and Nick Collison, who held Andrew Bynum to 20 points on 8-for-19 shooting. Guard Russell Westbrook was impressed by his teammates' ability to hold the Lakers' duo in check.

"Just keeping bodies on them," Westbrook said. "Our guys did a great job of just touching them, contesting all their shots and made them tough. We did a great job of rebounding and getting out on the break."

Perkins' status was iffy heading into Game 2 after he re-aggravated the hip injury in Game 1 that he originally sustained in Game 4 of the Thunder's series against the Dallas Mavericks. Listed as a game-time decision, Perkins took on the task of bodying up who he called, the "biggest guy in the league" in Bynum for 31 minutes. Perkins' numbers of two points and five rebounds don't jump off the page, but Brooks and the Thunder never look at the box score when it comes to Perkins, but rather his heart and toughness.

"On the court, in the locker room, he's a big, big plus for us," Sefolosha said. "Having him, knowing the way he's hurt and playing the way he does, it's huge for us… It's motivation for the whole team. This guy is doing it, playing his all and doing a dirty job, so we have to go and play behind him and do the same thing."

Always modest and humble, Perkins said that he often looks to his teammates for inspiration throughout the game and the season, despite Sefolosha's assertion. Perkins did, however, acknowledge his role on the team as one of the more veteran players, in addition to being a guy who has won an NBA Championship. That insight and intensity is something Perkins brought tonight against the Lakers, and something he hopes to share with his teammates.

"One thing I know is that a lot of the guys on the team kind of look up to me as a big brother," Perkins said. "I try to set an example. I may not be the leading scorer on the team, but I try to play in the right mindset and with the right toughness on the court every game and just encourage guys never to hang their heads when things are going bad for us. We could have shut it down with two minutes to go and thought the game was over, but we just kept competing."

Turning Point The turning point in this one came with 2:08 remaining in the game, when the Thunder took a 20-second timeout trailing 75-68. The Lakers never scored again, as the Thunder embarked on a 9-0 run to close out the game. It started with a James Harden driving layup, and was followed up by the Thunder forcing two turnovers in a nine second span. Kevin Durant finished the first steal with a dunk, then after James Harden blocked a Kobe Bryant shot, the sixth man finished on the other end with a fast break layup. Finally, the Thunder forced a missed three pointer by Bryant, and Durant took the ball down the baseline for a floater to give the Thunder a 76-75 lead, and the win.

"We were down seven and playing tough," Durant said. "Both teams were grinding it out. Coach called a timeout and told us that we can do it and we made plays. James was big getting to the rim first and made a huge play to get us the ball back and I was able to get a steal and a layup. We just kept fighting. This team is tough on defense and on offense. We just kept pressing and kept our composure."

Plays the box score won't show, first half Tough interior defense from Kendrick Perkins on the opening possession to force an Andrew Bynum miss, then Kevin Durant pulls in the rebound… Nice help side defense from Serge Ibaka to make a block, then Perkins tips in a Russell Westbrook miss… Incredible defensive possession by Thabo Sefolosha to force a 24-second violation on Kobe Bryant… Ibaka slides over and makes a block on Bryant at the rim, forcing another 24-second shot clock violation, then Westbrook drives and dishes to Sefolosha for a three-pointer… Ibaka sets a good screen on the secondary break, freeing up Durant for a bucket, then Ibaka slaps another shot into the first row… Good set piece as James Harden hits Durant, who swings to Ibaka for a jumper, then Westbrook hits a free-throw line jumper… Perkins sets a great screen to free up Westbrook, then the Thunder's defenders converge to block Bynum's shot… Harden hustles to track down a loose ball then dishes to Westbrook for a layup… Derek Fisher hits a high arcing three-pointer as the shot clock wound down, then Nazr Mohammed and Nick Collison box out strongly to end the quarter… Harden's shot wouldn't stay down, so Mohammed and Collison combined to tip it in… Nice defense by Derek Fisher, then Collison gets the ball to Harden to run the floor and draw two consecutive fouls… Good drive and kicks by Harden and Fisher to free up Collison for a jumper, then Harden tips a defensive board to Collison… Great team defense leads to a Harden steal with a dish to Daequan Cook for a layup… Collison makes the slick play by getting a reverse dunk to go down… Westbrook swings to Perkins, who hits Ibaka for a jumper to settle things down… Great offensive execution there to set up a Durant corner jumper off an Ibaka back screen, then Durant makes an acrobatic finish at the rim… Ibaka comes over and blocks a shot, leading to a Sefolosha-to-Westbrook run out lefty slam… Durant makes a steal of Bryant and pitches ahead to Ibaka for a slam dunk, then Cook and Ibaka box out to end the half.

Plays the box score won't show, second half Durant skies for a defensive board, then Perkins forces a Lakers turnover along the baseline… Great hustle by Westbrook to tip a loose ball to himself, then hit Perkins, who finds Durant for a fast break dunk… Nice strength and anticipation by Perkins to snare a loose ball, then Durant finds Sefolosha at the top of the key for a three pointer… Durant drives and calmly dishes to Westbrook for a corner three pointer, then Durant somehow slides through the lane and hits a layup… Collison tips a defensive board to Harden, who drives the ball down court and draws a foul… Nazr Mohammed plays tough defense down low, then Harden plays solid, stay-down defense on Bryant before Durant boxes out and makes a rebound… Tough rebounding by Mohammed, then Collison sticks with the play and gets a defensive board… Durant plays solid stick-down defense and forces a 24-second violation, then he hits Harden for a three-pointer… Mohammed with another tough defensive rebound after Collison did a good job of contesting… Collison stays between Bynum and himself to force a travel, then Harden skies high for a rebound off a missed free throw… Westbrook drives and dishes to Ibaka for a mid-range jumper that falls, then Durant hits a much needed three ball from the top of the key thanks to a Perkins screen… Ibaka slides over to make another blocked shot, then Perkins grabs a defensive board and outlets it quickly to Harden…Westbrook hustles to track down a loose ball, then Durant boxes out on a defensive board… Harden drives to the paint and flips in a quick bucket then Durant makes a steal and a slam… Great defense from Harden to block a Bryant shot then the outlet pass goes to him for a layup in transition… Westbrook with a huge board, then Durant hits a game-winning floater!

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