Rapid Reaction: Lakers 114, Thunder 110
March, 9, 2014
By Dave McMenamin
LOS ANGELES -- Turns out that Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook aren't all that intimidating when you have Jodie Meeks on your side.
Meeks exploded for a career-high 42 points, and the same Los Angeles Lakers defense that had given up an average of 136 points in their last three games held the Western Conference-leading Oklahoma City Thunder to 26 points below that in the Lakers' most shocking win of the season.
It was appropriate that Meeks was the guy to lead the way. In a season marred by injuries and inconsistency, Meeks could be counted on all year, scoring in double digits in 51 of the 59 games he played in.
Sure, Durant and Westbrook combined for 47 points, but they shot just 15-for-42 compared to Meeks' 11-for-18.
How it happened: It looked like another long night for L.A. as it fell down by 18 points early, but the Lakers outscored the Thunder 36-19 in the third quarter (shooting 11-for-19) to get back in it. They rode that wave of momentum all the way to an 18-point fourth-quarter lead of their own before holding off a furious Thunder rally. Meeks ended up guarding Westbrook at the 3-point line with 33.7 seconds left when Westbrook air-balled a 3 that would have tied the game. Kent Bazemore tacked on two of his seven fourth-quarter points with a layup, and the Lakers held on.
What it means: That impressive road win in Portland last week was all but forgotten after the Los Angeles Clippers completely embarrassed the Lakers by 48 points. But Sunday's effort proved that this Lakers season isn't just going to spiral out of control over these final five weeks. There's too much pride in that locker room.
Hits: The Lakers shot 13-for-31 from 3 (41.9 percent).
Pau Gasol had 20 points and 11 rebounds.
Jordan Farmar scored 12 off the bench, going 3-for-4 from 3.
Ryan Kelly had a career-high eight assists.
Misses: The Lakers were outrebounded 59-36.
Stat of the game: 11. Meeks eclipsed his previous career high of 31 points by 11 points with 42.
Up next: The Lakers get a bit of a respite with no game until Thursday, when they travel to play Oklahoma City again, followed by the San Antonio Spurs on the road Friday.