It started out a grudge match, but the Oklahoma City Thunder blew it wide open in the second quarter and continued their dominance until the final whistle, beating the short-handed LA Lakers 114-108.
Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook absolutely dominated, scoring 36 and 33 points, respectively. Westbrook had 27 of his come in the first half alone.
OKC is 15-2 in its last 17 games, and have won their last seven straight.
For Los Angeles, Kobe put up 35 points in this losing effort, while Dwight Howard added 23 points and 19 rebounds. They trailed by as much as 19 points before rallying in the fourth quarter to bring it within as little as four in the final minute. But it was too little, too late and the Thunder cruised to yet another victory.
The clash between these two Western Conference juggernauts was supposed to be a preview of what’s to come during this season’s playoffs, but with Steve Nash and Pau Gasol both sidelined to injury, the Lakers’ left much to be desired. They are still struggling to find their identity under new coach Mike D’Antoni, but once they find it, the Lakers will surely be a force to be reckoned with once more. Their 27-12 run in the 4th quarter proved just that.
Things got testy when OKC’s Serge Ibaka and LA’s Metta World Peace got tangled up under the basket in the fourth quarter and nearly came to blows. Thabo Sefalosha and one of the referees stepped in to break it up before things got too heated and both players got T-ed up for the skirmish.
The Thunder advance to 16-4 on the season, while the Lakers fall to 9-11. OKC will face the Indiana Pacers next on Sunday Dec. 9.