Thursday, February 13, 2014
Rapid Reaction: Thunder 107, Lakers 103
By Dave McMenamin
LOS ANGELES -- It's about time for a break.
Playing with only eight healthy players on the roster, the Los Angeles Lakers gave the Western Conference-leading Oklahoma City Thunder all they could handle but still came away on the losing end.
The Lakers could get up to four players back from the injured list after the All-Star break and will then try to put an end to their franchise worst seven-game home losing streak.
How it happened: The Lakers led by as many as 15 in the first half and by 10 heading into the fourth quarter before a 12-0 run by the Thunder cut L.A.'s lead to 85-84. Chris Kaman hit two free throws to put the Lakers back up by three, but Derek Fisher responded with a 3-pointer in his old building to tie it at 87-87, and then Kevin Durant streaked in for a transition layup to give Oklahoma City its first lead with 6:17 to go. Durant added a 3 to lift the Thunder's lead to five with 5:45 to go, but Wesley Johnson responded with a triple to bring L.A. back to within two and Kendall Marshall scored a layup to tie it at 92-92.
The Thunder went up two again, but L.A. stayed strong, getting a circus and-1 jump shot from Steve Blake to go down and edging back in the lead at 95-94 with 3:34 to go. Then it was Durant again, putting the Thunder ahead by one with another jumper. Kaman tied it by going 1-for-2 from the line, but Oklahoma City again went up by five thanks to two Serge Ibaka free throws and another Durant 3 to give him 41 points (he finished with 43). And again, L.A. clawed back, with Kaman making a layup with 22.5 seconds to go and getting fouled in the process. But he missed the free throw when he could have tied the score. None other than Fisher found himself at the line to put the Thunder back up by three with 16.8 seconds left.
Blake was fouled on a layup attempt and went 1-for-2 from the line, which was the closest the Lakers would get, losing by four.
What it means: For three quarters it looked as if the Thunder thought All-Star weekend started early, but their talent won out in the end against the undermanned Lakers.
Hits: Marshall had 14 points, 17 assists and seven rebounds.
Six Lakers scored in double digits.
Misses: L.A. started 8-for-18 from 3 and finished 10-for-28.
Stat of the game: 3-for-13. That's what Durant shot from 3-point land but still finished with 43 points.
Up next: The Lakers will have no players participating in All-Star weekend (although Kobe Bryant is expected to make an appearance Sunday to meet with new commissioner Adam Silver), so the team will get a few days off and reconvene for practice Tuesday before hosting Dwight Howard and the Houston Rockets on Wednesday.