Regular Season Recap: Thunder at Lakers

THUNDER 106

LAKERS 114
3 Number of Thunder players with double digit rebounds (Serge Ibaka, Kendrick Perkins and Thabo Sefolosha)

7 Blocks for Serge Ibaka on the afternoon, part of the Thunder’s 12 on the day

10 Assists for Russell Westbrook on the day, part of his double double along with his 14 points

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

14 Rebounds for Serge Ibaka, part of his double-double that featured 18 points

24-for-28 Free throw shooting numbers for the Thunder

34 Shot attempts for Kevin Durant on the afternoon, a career-high

35 Points for Kevin Durant, the game-high

The Thunder comes home and hosts the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night. Game time is 7:00 p.m. Central and will air live on Fox Sports Oklahoma and the Thunder Radio Network.

The Thunder then wraps up the regular season with a home game against the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday.
GAME IN REVIEW


RECAP:
Winning at the Staples Center against one of the NBA’s most storied franchises is never an easy task, but the Thunder gave itself a chance to win by building an 18-point lead against the Lakers on Sunday afternoon. Unfortunately Kobe Bryant and the rest of Head Coach Mike Brown’s squad made a comeback, eventually beating the Thunder 114-106 in double overtime. It was one of the best regular season games of the year, and despite the outcome, is one that the Thunder can grow from.

“We put ourselves in a place to still win the game, but we did not make shots in the fourth quarter,” Head Coach Scott Brooks said. “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.”

After losing James Harden for the game due to a flagrant foul on a swinging elbow from Ron Artest, the Thunder turned up the intensity and turned a 48-47 lead into a double digit margin that it maintained through the majority of the second half. In the final five minutes, however, the Thunder went cold from the floor and was unable to hold the Lakers at bay. Kevin Durant led all scorers with 35 points, but down the stretch the Thunder wasn’t able to get enough shots to fall to get the win.

“We got good shots,” Durant said. “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.”

The Thunder will put this road trip behind them and concentrate on playing its best basketball in its final two tune-ups before the playoffs begin. While shots weren’t finding the bottom of the net late, the Thunder’s defensive effort was top notch, holding the Lakers under 40 percent shooting on the afternoon. The defensive anchor of the team, center Kendrick Perkins, helped lead the way defensively but gave credit to the Lakers for getting enough offense in the fourth quarter to make the comeback.

“I thought they were in attack mode,” Perkins said. “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.”

TURNING POINT:
There were three different turning points in this game, the first of which came immediately after Metta World Peace was ejected for elbowing James Harden in the head. The Thunder turned up its intensity, scoring four straight points to end the second quarter and eight of the first ten points of the third quarter to turn a 48-47 lead into a 60-49 lead with 8:19 remaining. The Thunder maintained a double digit lead until late in the fourth quarter when the Lakers made a 15-4 run to tie the game and force overtime. In the second overtime period, the Lakers turned a tie ball game with 1:07 remaining into a 110-104 lead with 24.5 seconds remaining thanks to a Kobe Bryant jumpshot on the wing and four straight free throws, while the Thunder turned the ball over twice and Kevin Durant missed a three pointer.

PLAYS THE BOXSCORE WON’T SHOW, FIRST HALF:
Tough defense down low by Thabo Sefolosha to force a Kobe Bryant miss, then Kevin Durant hits Serge Ibaka for a mid-range jumper… Russell Westbrook finds a curling Durant on a cut for a dunk in the lane, then Kendrick Perkins plays physical defense down low on Andrew Bynum… Perkins tips a loose offensive board out to Ibaka, then Sefolosha makes a nice steal that leads to an Ibaka put-back… Durant hits a baseline-cutting Ibaka for a reverse dunk, then Perkins boxes out to get a defensive board… Ibaka tips an offensive board to Westbrook, who puts it back, then Perkins forces an air ball by Bynum… Nice job by Sefolosha to box out in transition defense and get the ball to Durant for a three-pointer… Perkins sets a perfect screen and James Harden knocks down a three-pointer… Nick Collison sets Harden up with a screen, which Harden uses to hit a midrange jumper, then Daequan Cook makes a nice steal off Bryant… Derek Fisher gets in great position down low to pick up an offensive board for a put-back then Harden dishes to Collison, who finds Durant for a three-pointer to end the quarter… Harden hits a step-back, then he makes a steal and takes it all the way down court for an easy dunk… Collison helps over and makes a nice block, then a beautiful pass on a give-and-go from Harden to Collison for a layup… Collison tips away the ball and makes a steal, then Harden hits Cook for a corner three-pointer… Westbrook finds Ibaka on a lob for an easy flush, then Ibaka sends a Bryant shot into the first row… Perfect passing from Durant to Perkins to Ibaka for a dunk, then Harden finds Ibaka on an in-bounds play… A beautiful Euro-step move by Harden to finish with the foul… Ibaka not only stops a Bynum dunk attempt but swats away a putback chance too to end the half.

PLAYS THE BOXSCORE WON’T SHOW, SECOND HALF:
Westbrook makes a strong move and banks home a deep two-pointer, then Perkins plays tough defense on both ends… Durant blocks a perimeter shot after knocking down a turnaround jumper, then Sefolosha snags an offensive board… Beautiful pass from Westbrook to Ibaka, who pump fakes and puts it in with the foul… Ibaka swats away a shot, then Westbrook pitches the ball ahead to Sefolosha to draw a foul… Durant blows by his defender and flushes a two-handed slam, then Ibaka seals off his man to grab a defensive board to set up a Durant floater… Nice give-and-go from Ibaka to Westbrook back to Ibaka for a jumper… Durant hits Perkins for a jam then Sefolosha makes a steal and gets to the rim to draw a foul… Sefolosha with another great defensive play that leads to a Westbrook to Ibaka fast break dunk… Collison hustles to make an offensive rebound, then Sefolosha does the same before dropping the ball off to Collison for a dunk… Sefolosha saves the ball on the defensive end, then he nails a three-pointer… Collison hustles and tips in an offensive board, then great perimeter defense leads to a missed shot and good Sefolosha rebound… Pretty pass from Fisher to Durant on a curl for a midrange jumper… Nice offensive rebound by Collison who finds Fisher as he steps into a three-pointer… Smart foul by Westbrook to stop a sure dunk, then Westbrook hits Durant for a three-pointer.

PLAYS THE BOXSCORE WON’T SHOW, OVERTIME:
Tough defensive possession by all five players on the floor to force a missed shot… Westbrook continues to get into the lane to draw fouls and get to the free throw line… Westbrook drops one off to Perkins for an easy layup, then a hard box out by Ibaka for a defensive board… Westbrook makes a beautiful cross over move to get to the rim for a layup… Huge rebound by Perkins to get possession, then incredibly tough rebounding by Sefolosha down low to come away with a defensive board.

PLAYS THE BOXSCORE WON’T SHOW, DOUBLE OVERTIME:
Sefolosha makes a nice steal and pitches it to Westbrook, who flips it to Durant for a dunk… Westbrook then hits Durant for a much-needed three-pointer to tie the game… Huge defensive stand by Ibaka who stops a Pau Gasol shot followed by a Durant rebound… Great job of going to the basket by Durant to hit a layup.



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