The Oklahoma City Thunder topped off a great finish to the first half of the season Thursday night beating the Los Angeles Lakers at home 100-85.
The win gives the Thunder a 27-7 record on the year, tied with the Miami Heat for the best record in the NBA so far this season. Oklahoma City has won five games in a row now.
Kevin Durant led the Thunder with 33 points and six assists in the game. Durant got going early scoring 20 in the first half including a buzzer-beater with 0.8 seconds left when he stole the Lakers’ inbounds pass.
The Thunder scored five points in the final second of the first half with the first three coming via a Russell Westbrook three-pointer. Westbrook had just 19 in the game to go along with six assists and five rebounds.
Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka came to play tonight as they had a tough matchup with Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum. The Thunder bigs combined for 14 points, 22 rebounds and five blocks in the game while Oklahoma City was without Nick Collison again tonight.
Perkins also played great defense on Bynum in the game and just did all of the little things that seem to go unnoticed. With 2:14 left in the game and the Thunder ahead by 10, Perkins out hustled everyone on the floor for an offensive rebound with three Lakers around him and kicked out to James Harden who put the nail in the coffin with the dagger trey.
If Perkins’ defense on Bynum was good then Harden’s defense on Kobe Bryant was great. Bryant scored 24 points in the game on 7-for-24 shooting and Harden gave him fits all night.
The two, along with Durant, even got into it jawing back and forth late but it was clear that Harden outplayed the leading vote-getter of the Western Conference tonight. Harden would score 16 points but his impact was much greater controlling the pace of the game and releasing for easy buckets after strong contests on Bryant.
The Thunder have up just eight offensive rebounds to the Lakers and turned the ball over only 12 times. Oklahoma City also made Los Angeles look old with their 21-to-6 advantage on the fast break.
Oklahoma City will send three of their own to Orlando for All-Star Weekend beginning tomorrow night. Durant and Westbrook will play in the All-Star Game and head coach Scott Brooks will coach the West team.
Durant will also coach the Celebrity Game Friday night and compete in the Three-Point Contest Saturday night. Westbrook will be in the Skills Challenge on Saturday night as well.