By Randy Renner
With Thunder superstar Kevin Durant having to sit out with a bum ankle point guards Russell Westbrook and Reggie Jackson took the game over for the Thunder, combing for 56 points in OKC's thrilling 104-103 win over the Lakers in Los Angeles.
That said it the outstanding defense of Andre Roberson that may have actually won the game for the Thunder. Roberson guarded Lakers legend Kobe Bryant all night and held him to just nine points on 3-for-14 shooting when the two were matched up directly. According to ESPN Stats and Info Roberson was able to contest every one of those 14 shots. Bryant missed one other try when being guarded by someone else and it was Bryant who missed a last second shot that would have given the Lakers the win and yes it was Roberson who was on him defending that shot.
As good as Roberson's defense was last night, he also contributed 10 points on 4-for-7 shooting (2-for-4 on threes). It's the second straight game that he's scored in the double digits.
Thunder center Steven Adams also had a solid game with nine points and 10 rebounds and he helped get rid of one of the Lakers best players. Nick Young was ejected in the fourth quarter for elbowing Adams in the throat. Adams had set a screen on Young and he responded with a shove and then the elbow. Lead official Joey Crawford assessed a flagrant foul 2 and tossed Young.
Back to Russ and Reggie, both rebounded from sub-par nights at Golden State to dominate the Lakers. Westbrook had 31 points, 10 assists and five rebounds. He was 13-for-13 at the free throw line. Westbrook now has 11 30-point, 10-assist games over the last six seasons. Only LeBron James (19) and Steph Curry (17) have more. It was also Westbrook's 11th straight 20-point game, matching his career-high set in the 2012-13 season.
Jackson has been struggling on offense since Westbrook and Durant returned to the lineup but with KD back on the bench last night Jackson erupted for 25 points on 9-for-15 shooting. He also had five assists and three rebounds.
Serge Ibaka also had a nice night with 16 points, seven rebounds and five blocks.
Not so hot were Perry Jones, Anthony Morrow and Jeremy Lamb. That trio combined for nine points on 3-for-12 shooting. Jones played 12 minutes was 0-for-2 with 0 rebounds, 0 assists, 0 blocks and 0 free throws. A whole bunch of nothing.
Lamb wasn't much better, scoring two points on 1-for-5 shooting and one rebound. He is apparently back into a funk. Morrow scored seven points on 2-for-5 shooting overall (1-for-4 on threes), grabbed a couple of rebounds, handed out an assist and blocked a shot.
So the Thunder come home off the west coast trip wining two of the three games and had Durant not gotten hurt and missed the second half at Golden State they might have been able to win all three.
As it is a 2-1 trip gets them to 13-14 on the season with a chance to get back to .500 Sunday night when they host New Orleans and that would look mighty good considering this team was 3-12 just late last month.