Jan 27, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant (24) moves the ball against the defense of Oklahoma City Thunder shooting guard Thabo Sefolosha (2) during the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Lakers (30-30) vs. OKC Thunder (43-16) Preview


The Oklahoma City Thunder will play the Los Angeles Lakers for the fourth time this season when they host them tonight at 9:30 p.m. EST.

The Thunder won the first two meetings this year fairly easily then dropped the third meeting 105-96 in Los Angeles back on Jan. 27.

Kevin Durant led the Thunder with 35 points in that game, shooting 10-for-26 from the field and 13-for-14 from the free throw line.

Russell Westbrook had a rough nigh scoring just 17 points on 6-for-22 shooting. He did have 13 assists.

Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 21 points to go along with 14 assists and nine rebounds.

Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins each had 10 points and Kevin Martin scored just nine off the bench.

Dwight Howard had just eight points and went 2-for-10 from the free throw line.

That was a rare poor game for the Thunder the last time they played as they allowed the Lakers to shoot 55.4 percent from the field. Kobe becoming a distributor while the Thunder defense was designed to take away his scoring is a big reason why that happened.

Kobe replicating that kind of game again with a ton of assists seems unlikely.

What seems more likely – especially with the game being played in Oklahoma City – is Westbrook having a much stronger showing than 6-for-22. Westbrook has been playing great basketball of late and shooting the ball very well. He has traditionally torched the Lakers in this matchup and will probably return to that form tonight.

You know you can also count on Durant to play well and the Thunder bigs not to allow Howard to have a big game. The Thunder could use more than nine points from Martin, who has been really struggling from the field the past two games.

The Lakers are playing maybe the best basketball they have all year. They’ve won their last two games and have won seven of their last 10.

The Thunder have been inconsistent lately but that usually still means they play and shoot well when in front of their home crowd.

The game will be televised nationally on TNT.

Tags: Los Angeles Lakers Oklahoma City Thunder