This game ended a lot closer than the game felt the whole night. The Thunder led by as much as 19 in the second half at one point, but the Lakers kept it close towards the end, with Kobe making shots like only Kobe Bryant can make.
The Thunder played the Lakers nearly even in the first quarter, with the Lakers ending the first quarter up 27 26 with Westbrook hitting the sweet buzzer-beater to end it. Who knew that would define the whole rest of the half?
Westbrook would go off in the second half, pushing the Thunder point total in the second quarter to 41, first half total to 67, and his own first half point total to 27, the most points scored in a half by Westbrook in his whole career. Russell went 5-6 for three pointers in the first half, making the most 3-pointers in a half of his career.
The game would even out in the third quarter with both teams scoring the same amount leaving the lead at 16 by the end of the third. Russell cooled off considerably after his hot-as-lava first half, going 0-8 from the field, struggling even to make free throws. Serge Ibaka and Kevin Durant would pick up the scoring duty for the third quarter, with Durant scoring 10 points and Ibaka scoring 6.
The fourth quarter would be much of a colluded mess, with the Lakers constantly pulling the lead down to less than double digits, threatening to make the game much closer and leaving the possibility of a comeback. However, the Thunder's new renewed defensive focus held the Lakers at arms length and ensured the win tonight against the Lakers.
The Thunder shot well tonight against a pretty non-existent defense of the Lakers. Thunder shot nearly 50 percent from the field, with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook shooting very efficiently from the field, the arch and the line. The Thunder once again had an assist total over 20 tonight, totalling up 22 assists with 8 of them being from Westbrook. Both KD and Russell scored 30+ tonight, with 36 and 33 respectively. This is the 21st time that Westbrook and Durant have scored 30 or more in the same night in their careers. Collison added 13, Serge added 14, and Kevin Martin scored 11 to round out the double digit scoring for the Thunder tonight.
OKC played good defense against the Lakers, holding them to 43 percent from the field and 39 percent from the arch. The Thunder ran away with the game for the most part, outscoring the Lakers in the fast break 28-8. However, the Thunder lacked inside presence, allowing the Lakers to score 44 out of their 108 points in the paint.
Analysis: Well, that was definitely a lot closer than it looked in the first half. It all seemed like this would be one of those good, stick it to the Lakers game for the the Thunder, but they let off the gas with a big lead and let the Lakers turn a blowout into a closer game than it ever should have been. The timing of the putting most of the second team in the third quarter was great timing for the Lakers, who looked at as an opportunity to jump on the Thunder. The Lakers would end up outscoring the Thunder in the second half by eight, which would have been the difference in the game had the lead been smaller at halftime. However, the Thunder won and that all that really matters. The Thunder have won their seventh game in a row, with back-to-back wins against Brooklyn and Los Angeles. OKC has three very winable games in the next three match-ups against Indiana, Sacramento, and New Orleans ( Seems like the Hornets got screwed in scheduling. playing the Thunder 2 times in 3 weeks and 3 times in a month is brutal.) Knock-on-wood, but the Thunder could be on the first double-digit win streak in the NBA this year, going into a game against their rivals, the San Antonio Spurs. Glad to see the Thunder rolling like they should be.
DNP: Daniel Orton and Jeremy Lamb, who were called up from the D-league because of the home game, had no minutes tonight. Reggie Jackson and DeAndre Liggins also got no time tonight against the Lakers.
Player of the Game: Russell Westbrook. Regardless of his cold second half and KD scoring 3 more points on 7 less shots, Westbrook was absolutely hot in the first half. Westbrook had the best half of his career as far as scoring, scoring 27 of his 33 points in the first half and making 5 out of 6 from the arch. Those 5 makes are the most Russell has made in the first half in his whole career.
Stat of the Night: 62%. Russell Westbrook scored 27 points in the first half, shooting 10 out of 16 from the field and 5 of 6 from the arch. Russell could not be stopped, scoring on crazy-lift dunks and buzzer beaters, to scoring on 3's and getting fouled to complete a 4 point play in the second quarter.
Next Game: The Thunder play the Indian Pacers in the Chesapeake Arena on Sunday @ 6PM CT. Game will be broadcast on Fox Sports Oklahoma and WWLS The Sports Animal.
(Credit: ESPN Sports and Information)
(Credit: Photo by Richard A. Rowe | OKC Thunder Photo)