THUNDER 102

LAKERS 93
4 Blocks by Nazr Mohammed on the night, all in the second quarter

7 Points by Derek Fisher in his homecoming to Los Angeles

10 Turnovers for the Thunder, leading to only five points for the Lakers

11 Rebounds for Kevin Durant on the night for yet another double-double

19 Offensive rebounds for the Thunder, leading to 23 second-chance points

25-8 Edge for the Thunder in fast break points

36 Points by Russell Westbrook, a game-high

50-38 The margin by which the Thunder out-scored the Lakers in the second and third quarters

The Thunder hosts the Chicago Bulls on Sunday. Game time is 12:00 pm Central and will air live on Fox Sports Oklahoma and the Thunder Radio Network.

The Thunder then hosts the Memphis Grizzlies at Chesapeake Energy Arena on Monday before traveling to take on the Miami Heat on Wednesday and the Indiana Pacers on Friday.

GAME IN REVIEW


RECAP:
Some people in the Staples Center seemed to think that the Thunder's game against the Lakers was just about over after one quarter. Looking up at a 30-18 deficit after the first twelve minutes, the Thunder dug deep and grinded out a massive comeback in the final three quarters to ultimately defeat the Lakers 102-93.

As Head Coach Scott Brooks noted, the Thunder, and especially forward Kevin Durant started off cold from the field, but thanks to defensive intensity and rebounding effort on both ends of the floor, the Thunder was able to make enough plays to claw its way back into the game, and then over the top to get the victory.

"One of the things I enjoyed about this game was Kevin started the game off 1-for-9, and he didn’t let that stop him from defending," Brooks said. “He still was defending, giving us everything he had on the other end. When you do that, good things eventually happen because he has a good skill set and he works hard… It’s always about effort and toughness with us. We’re working on those things every night. It was a good win for us."

Durant went 9-for-13 shooting in the final three quarters to cap a solid effort, while Russell Westbrook’s speed, athleticism and mid-range jumper were on point throughout the night. In all, Westbrook finished with 36 points and really shouldered the load during a stretch when the Thunder needed an offensive lift.

"He was seeing that we weren’t making any shots," Durant said. "Russell is an aggressive player and that’s his game. He came out making shots and we all rallied behind him and we got a good win."

While Westbrook creating on offense was critical, the Thunder also got important contributions from Derek Fisher, returning to Los Angeles for the first time since being acquired by the Thunder. Fisher finished with seven points, scoring them during a crucial stint at the beginning of the second quarter. He was aided by the offensive rebounding of Nick Collison and once the starters returned, the defense and rebounding ratcheted up to another level.

"I think our defense overall got better," Collison said. "Anytime, but especially with LA with their size, if there are so many breakdowns and you're having to go help and leave those guys, you can't get them off the boards, they’re too big. If you can stay connected you have a better shot. So I think our defense picked up, and that allowed us to keep them off the boards."

It was an amazing sight to behold the Thunder completely flip the game around in the second and third quarters when the Lakers crowd was rocking in the first quarter but quieted by the time the Thunder expanded its lead to 19 points in the fourth quarter. Center Kendrick Perkins, who used his physicality and lower body strength in the paint to help the Thunder rebound and force Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol into difficult shots said that the mental toughness the Thunder displayed tonight was an important sign for the team moving forward.

"I just know if you build good habits going into the playoffs, it carries over," Perkins said. "So we'll just keep building and not take any steps backwards and I think it will go from there… It was huge. I think it showed a lot of character. We just kept pushing. Russ came out and he had a monster second half."

TURNING POINT:
The turning point in this one was an extended run for the Thunder that lasted nearly eight minutes, from the final 1:10 of the second quarter through 4:57 remaining in the third quarter. The Thunder trailed 47-38 when Serge Ibaka and Russell Westbrook teamed up for six points to cut the Lakers lead to 49-44 at halftime. After the break, the Thunder scored six un-answered points, eventually scoring on a Westbrook fast-break layup to take the lead at 50-49. Over the next four minutes, the Kevin Durant and Westbrook hit three jump shots, while Kendrick Perkins scored six straight points during the stretch to give the Thunder a 65-56 lead mid-way through the third quarter. That 27-9 advantage gave the Thunder a fairly firm lead that it extended to 19 points in the fourth quarter.

"We stuck with it and really fought every single possession and got back into it," guard James Harden said.

PLAYS THE BOXSCORE WON’T SHOW, FIRST HALF:
Kobe Bryant plays off of Thabo Sefolosha, so he cued up a 3-pointer, then followed it up with a steal and slam dunk… Kendrick Perkins defends the rim twice in a row, then Russell Westbrook knocks down an elbow jumper and gets to the rim for a layup… Kevin Durant drives into the lane and attracts two defenders then dumps it to Serge Ibaka for a slam dunk, then Ibaka stuffs a Ramon Sessions layup attempt… Sefolosha continues to harass Kobe Bryant, knocking away an entry pass… James Harden works extremely hard to free himself up off a Perkins screen for a 3-pointer, then Westbrook flies in for an offensive rebound… Fisher stays tough with Bryant and forces him into a miss, then Westbrook finds a cutting Durant for a dunk in the lane… Beautiful Euro-step move from Harden to slide through the lane for a layup, then Nick Collison makes an offensive rebound get Derek Fisher a layup… Nice job underneath by Nazr Mohammed to block Metta World Peace twice in a row, then block Pau Gasol at the rim… Collison grabs another rebound that leads to a Fisher runner, then Royal Ivey plays tight defense and Harden grabs the defensive board… Collison gets to yet another loose ball, leading to a Fisher layup-and-one… Fisher steps up on a fast break by Gasol to force a miss and Collison grabs the board, then Harden hits Durant on a cut and he hits a fade-away… Durant posts-up and misses, but tips in his own shot then Perkins sets a pick for him to get a layup in the lane… Perkins pops off a screen on an in-bounds play, knocking down a 15-footer, then he does a nice job of keeping Andrew Bynum out of the lane… Westbrook tips a loose ball to Perkins, who pitches it back to Westbrook to draw a foul, then an incredible screen from Ibaka in the lane to free up Durant for a floater… Smart pick-and-pop from Westbrook to Ibaka for a jumper, then Westbrook posts up and gets a layup, then Sefolosha hits Ibaka to knock down a jumper as the half expires.

PLAYS THE BOXSCORE WON’T SHOW, SECOND HALF:
Really good ball rotation by the Thunder as Durant hit Perkins for a bounce pass, drawing the foul then Sefolosha scraps and claws for a loose ball… Perkins does a great job of staying strong and forcing Bynum to travel, then the entire Thunder defense locks in for a full 24 seconds… Great job defensively by Durant to force a missed shot, then Ibaka clears the boards two times in a row, leading to a Westbrook layup and an Ibaka put-back… Incredible defense by Sefolosha to force a deep contested miss, then Durant hits a transition 3-pointer… Perkins finishes off two offensive possessions with short shots, then Durant smartly wraps up Byrant on a fast break attempt… Just an absolute sick display of dribbling by Westbrook to get Perkins an open dunk, then Perkins stands his ground with physical, lower-body defense on Bynum to force another travel… Another fantastic defensive sequence for Sefolosha, then Durant hits Perkins for a free-throw line jumper… Collison cleans up a Westbrook miss and makes a nice move in the lane to get himself a layup, then Sefolosha plays really tight, physical defense on Bryant and grabs the defensive board… Westbrook uses his blazing speed to get up-court in less than three seconds then hits a leaning 3-pointer at the buzzer… Durant sticks with the play after getting stripped and puts in a layup, then Westbrook does a nice job of doubling down on Gasol… Great job to grab a loose ball by Fisher, who leads the fast break and gets it to Harden to draw a foul, then Collison hustles and tips in a missed free throw… Yet another offensive rebound for Collison, then Durant drives and dishes to a cutting Westbrook for a slam dunk… Perfect defense by Durant on Gasol, then Westbrook drives right down the court and scores at the rim… The Thunder plays a full defensive possession, forcing an air-ball, then Durant curls down the lane and slams one home… Collison slides over and takes a charge on the baseline, then Harden pulls up and drains a three-pointer… Really strong rebounding on the defensive end, then remarkable speed from Westbrook to get to the rim… Nice screen by Westbrook, who frees up Durant for a jumper, then Durant swats away a layup… Fantastic defensive possession for the Thunder to force a shot clock violation, then Sefolosha blocks a Bryant shot from behind… Durant and Westbrook trade off handoffs to free up Durant for a layup in the lane to just about seal the win.

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