Lakers show Thunder 18-point lead not safe
March, 9, 2014
By ESPN Stats & Info | ESPN.com
Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty ImagesJodie Meeks scored a career-high 42 points against the Thunder on Sunday in Los Angeles.For the first time in nearly two years, the Oklahoma City Thunder wasted an 18-point lead.
Behind Jodie Meeks’ career-high 42 points, the Los Angeles Lakers dug out of a big first-half hole and beat the Thunder 114-110 on Sunday. The last time the Thunder had squandered an 18-point lead was April 22, 2012 – also against the Lakers, also in Los Angeles.
After Oklahoma City took a 46-28 lead with 7:39 left in the second quarter, the Lakers went on a 59-31 run through the end of the third quarter.
Conspicuous by his absence during the Lakers’ run was Kevin Durant. He was 2-of-5 shooting for seven points from the Thunder’s high-water mark to the end of the third quarter, which ended with the Lakers leading 87-75.
Still, Durant finished with 27 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds. It was his third triple-double this season, which equals the number he had in his first six seasons combined.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, this was the first time that the team with a conference’s worst record beat the team with that conference’s best record in March or later since April 18, 2001. In that instance, the Chicago Bulls (14-67) defeated the Philadelphia 76ers (56-25) in the final game of the season. NBA MVP Allen Iverson did not play.
Meeks in great company
The Lakers scored 15 points in transition – all by Meeks, who averaged 4.5 transition points entering the game. Meeks (11-of-18 from the field, 14-of-14 from the free-throw line) is the fourth Lakers player since the merger (1976-77) to score 40 or more points while shooting at least 10 free throws without a miss. The others are Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
The Thunder entered Sunday’s game shooting 42.3 percent in isolation situations, the third-best percentage in the NBA. On Sunday, the Thunder struggled in isolation, shooting 14 percent (1-of-7).
The Thunder hadn't allowed a 40-point scorer in the first 61 games of the season. In the last two games, Gerald Green of Phoenix and Meeks each topped 40. The last time the Thunder/SuperSonics franchise allowed 40 points to players in back-to-back games was December 2000: Antawn Jamison of Golden State (51) and Jerry Stackhouse of Detroit (41).