Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook shot terribly in Los Angeles as the Thunder fell 114-106 to the Lakers in double overtime.
Durant went 11-of-34 from the field and scored 35 points. He missed the potential game-winning shot at the end of regulation when the Lakers played him straight up and the stepback trey did not fall. In the overtimes he had multiple open looks not fall.
Kobe Bryant seemed to make all of the big shots including two big threes in the fourth quarter and another few big jumpers in the overtimes. Bryant finished with 26 points on 9-for-26 shooting but his shooting percentage and the Lakers’ end-game execution seemed Spurs-like compared to Oklahoma City’s.
Westbrook went 3-for-22 from the floor and scored 14 points. He stayed aggressive down the stretch though and made some big free throws for the Thunder by driving hard to the rim that helped extend the game.
James Harden was the victim of the dirtiest play of the year via Metta World Peace. One of the more exciting NBA games of the season let us forget about the cheap shot but Harden was of course noticeably absent for the Thunder late.
Harden’s importance of being the calming force and guy who can make smart plays with the basketball was absent in the second half. The Thunder need him to help steady the ship on offense when the game turns into what it was today and without him, the Thunder looked like the way they did last year in the playoffs.
The Lakers did not go with Andrew Bynum down the stretch and instead rode the hot hand of Jordan Hill who scored 14 points and had 15 rebounds (six offensive).
Pau Gasol also was great on the offensive glass with six of his 14 rebounds coming there to go with 20 points.
The Lakers did not as much beat the Thunder as the Thunder beat themselves. Sure, Bryant made some clutch shots that were needed to win but Durant got very good looks that he missed and no one is used to seeing those shots not fall.
Westbrook seems to always have his worst games on national television and while he hasn’t been playing very well of late, today was certainly one of his worst in awhile at a time when they desperately needed him with Harden out.
Harden may have shown some signs of concussion-like symptoms according to sideline reports during the game. The blow was extremely forceful and probably not anticipated by Harden which makes it worse. If he misses any time because of this it will be devastating for this team especially with him playing so well the last two games (averaging 30.0 points).
The Thunder drop to 46-18 on the year and still take the season series against the Lakers 2-1. They are now a full game back of the Spurs for the top seed meaning a Thunder-Lakers second round series is looking to be pretty likely. It may work out better though for Oklahoma City since the Spurs would like have to play Memphis in the second round if the seedings remain the same.
The Thunder will play their final two games at home this season with the next coming Tuesday night against the Sacramento Kings who they’ve beaten twice in the last few weeks.