LAKERS 108
THUNDER 114
5 Players who scored in double figures for the Thunder, making the team 10-0 when that occurs

7 Rebounds for Nick Collison, along with 13 points, in 17 minutes of action

8 Assists for Russell Westbrook, compared to only two turnovers

14-for-16 Free throw shooting numbers for Kevin Durant on the night, part of a team-wide 82.1 percent effort

28-8 Advantage in fast break points for the Thunder, including 26 in the first half

41-26 Point differential in the second quarter for the Thunder

52.9 Three-point shooting percentage for the Thunder, including a 5-for-8 night by Russell Westbrook

69 Combined points for Kevin Durant (36) and Russell Westbrook (33) on 45 shot attempts. The Thunder is now 16-5 when that duo each scores 30+ in the same game.

GAME IN REVIEW


RECAP:
Making the opponent inefficient on the offensive end is a major indicator of a strong defensive effort.

The final score will show that the Lakers scored 108 points, but a refocused and locked in defensive effort in the second and third quarters held Los Angeles to 42.9 percent shooting while committing 17 turnovers in the Thunder’s 114-108 victory. Head Coach Scott Brooks’ club utilized a 41-point second quarter burst highlighted by defensive toughness led by Nick Collison.

“I thought that was a solid win,” Brooks said. “We held them to a low percentage… I thought Nick (Collison) impacted the game on both ends. I think he ended up with seven rebounds, 13 points but two big charges and a lot of tough post play.”

Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka are physical down in the post to start off the game, but the Thunder needed every ounce of Collison’s energy in his 17 minutes on Friday night. For the game he finished with 13 points on seven shots along with seven rebounds and one assist. It was two heads-up charges that he drew on the defensive end and the way he and the rest of the Thunder battled on the boards that made the difference in this one.

“I thought in the third quarter we did a much better job of contesting and rebounding,” Brooks said. “They were getting too many offensive rebounds that first half. I thought the third quarter we did a much better job… There’s room for improvement and we understand that.”

Once the Thunder began to turn the tide on the glass, the offense burst to new heights. The Thunder scored 20 of its 41 second quarter points in transition on 8-for-8 shooting, propelling the team to 68.2 percent shooting throughout the quarter. Russell Westbrook led the way in the first half by knocking down a career-high five three pointers en route to 27 first half points, the most by any Thunder player in one half this season. The Thunder’s ability to get out and run also led to 10 assists for the team in the quarter, including four by Westbrook.

“(The transition offense) was important,” Westbrook said. “We are good at home at pushing the ball and I think we did a good job tonight. We started off early getting rebounds and getting out on the break.”

It was Westbrook’s energy, intensity and dead-eye shooting that sparked the Thunder in that second quarter, when he scored 14 points on seven shot attempts. One sequence saw Westbrook knock down a three-pointer while getting fouled, ending with teammates Kevin Durant and Kendrick Perkins rushing over to congratulate him. When Westbrook shoots the ball as efficiently as he did in the first half (10-for-16), he can lead the Thunder offense in multiple ways.

“He has the ability to get hot,” Brooks said. “We have some guys on our team that have the ability to do that and hew as the one in that first half… He also passed the ball very well tonight.”

Westbrook’s eight assists to only two turnovers tonight was just an extension of his continued improvement as the Thunder’s floor general and was a part of the Thunder’s 22 assist night. In the first half alone Westbrook and company had 13 assists to only four turnovers, which helped the squad shoot 48.8 percent for the game and 52.9 percent from the three-point line – both numbers a sign of efficient offense.

“Our chemistry is just getting better every single day,” Durant said. “Guys are moving the ball… but we did a good job of finding passes.”

Turning Point:
The Thunder trailed 37-35 to the Lakers with 9:00 remaining in the second quarter when it jumped out to a 17-3 run that changed the course of the game. Thanks to a defensive effort that forced eight missed shots in nine attempts in addition to two turnovers, the Thunder held the Lakers in check for the middle chunk of the quarter. On the offensive end, Kevin Durant got a fast break dunk plus the foul, Kevin Martin got a transition dunk, Westbrook hit a driving layup plus the foul shot and then Durant hit a three and received an alley-oop from Westbrook to extend the Thunder lead to 52-40.

Plays the box score won't show, first half:
Wonderful play by Kevin Martin to read the drive and dish, then knock away an intended pass heading to the corner. Such a smart move by Westbrook to push it in the break and then drop a pass off to Durant for three. Westbrook knocks home a three-pointer while being fouled, as his teammates rush over to congratulate him.

Plays the box score won't show, second half:
Sefolosha just out-hustles everyone to make a steal, then pump fake to free himself up for a transition layup. Collison slides over in help side defense to step in and draw a charge on Kobe Bryant. Collison stops a drive on one end of the floor, then runs over to the other side of the lane to take a charge. Unselfish ball movement by Durant and Perkins to swing it through the lane to Ibaka for a jumper.



“I think the defense was active. As soon as we got a steal or rebound, I think we were looking to push the ball and that was efficient.” – Thabo Sefolosha
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