Coming into the day, ABC’s Lakers-Thunder tilt appeared to be the most lopsided matchup of the day. The Thunder entered the game tied with San Antonio for the best record in the Western Conference (46-16), while the slumping Lakers found themselves alone at the bottom of the conference at just 21-42.
However, if for only one day, it appeared as though the teams had switched places with one another on Sunday, as the Lakers, behind a dominant effort from Jodie Meeks, toppled OKC 114-110 at Staples Center.
It didn’t start off that way, though. The Thunder came out of the gates strong, and took a 35-26 lead into the second quarter with Kevin Durant scoring 10 of the team’s points. He finished with his third triple-double of the season, with 27 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists. Considering the Lakers had lost three straight and had been blown out embarrassingly on consecutive nights by the Clippers and Nuggets, things were looking rather grim.
OKC took an 18-point lead early in the second quarter, only to allow L.A. to get back into the game and narrow the margin to four by halftime. After the half, Meeks went berserk.
Meeks outscored Oklahoma City 20-19 in the third period by himself, as the Lakers poured-in 36. Meeks’ 42 points were a career-high, and he shot 6-11 from three-point range and knocked down all 14 of his free throw attempts. The Thunder were completely ineffective in containing him, obviously, as he was hitting everything he threw up there.
The good times for the home team kept rolling into the fourth quarter, where the Laker lead eventually ballooned to 95-77 with about nine minutes to go. Of course, you got the feeling that the Thunder had one final run in them, and they certainly did. They got to within three following a monster dunk from Russell Westbrook with just under a minute to play, but a Kent Bazemore layup on the other end following a timeout effectively put the game on ice.
Pau Gasol added 20 points and 12 rebounds for the Lakers, while Bazemore and Jordan Farmar combined to score 23 off-the-bench.
Durant, Westbrook and Serge Ibaka each scored at least 20 points for the Thunder, but it wasn’t enough. Westbrook flirted with a triple-double of his own, adding seven boards and eight assists. Los Angeles was absolutely crushed on the glass, as OKC outrebounded them 59-36, including 19 offensive. The 19 offensive rebounds led to the Thunder jacking up 19 more shots than the Lakers, though they connected on just four more than L.A. did for the game.
The win snaps the Lakers’ three-game losing streak, and they won’t play again until they head to Oklahoma City on Thursday, where the Thunder will be looking for a little revenge. OKC next takes the floor Tuesday against the Rockets.
About the Author
Written by Taylor Smith
Taylor Smith is a writer for the Los Angeles Clippers.