Thunder Rally Late To Beat Lakers
Thunder superstar Kevin Durant said it best early this morning Oklahoma time during TNT's post game interview in Los Angeles, "we played terrible for three quarters."
Can't argue with the man there.
The Thunder trailed by as many as 15 points against a crippled Laker team then went on a 12-0 run to spark a dominant fourth quarter performance, outscoring the Lakers 35-21 and winning 107-103.
The Thunder pretty much sleep-walked during the first 36 minutes or so. Durant's shot wasn't falling (9-for-22 overall and 0-for-8 from three) and he had turned it over six times.
No one else in a Thunder uniform was doing much better.
Then KD dropped a 3-point bomb on the Lakers from almost 30 feet out and the run was on.
Durant scored 19 of his 43 points in that fourth quarter. He also ended up with 12 rebounds for the game, seven assists and three steals. He has now scored at least 30 points in a game 33 times this season (no one else even has 20) and 40 or more eight times (no one else has more than two). It was also his 21st double-double this season.
Reggie Jackson had 16 points, Derek Fisher added a dozen and Jeremy Lamb had 11.
Like former Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis said years ago, "just win baby," and that's exactly what the Thunder did.
The win is the 15th in the last 17 games for OKC and sends the Thunder into the All-Star break with an NBA-best 43-12 record.
That mark also ties the Thunder all-time franchise record (dating back through all the Seattle years) for the most wins through 55 games.
Pretty impressive for a team that's been playing without its All-Star point guard for 29 games.
And by the way, Russell Westbrook is expected by many to make his return to the lineup Thursday night against the Miami Heat here in Oklahoma City. The Thunder will neither confirm nor deny this, at least not right now.
For those on the Thunder squad who aren't involved in the All-Star Weekend, they now begin a welcome few days break after flying back to Oklahoma City early this morning on the main team charter.
For Durant, Jackson, Steven Adams and Scott Brooks and his coaching staff, there won't be much of a break. They all got on a different plane and flew straight to New Orleans where All-Star Weekend starts today.
NBA-TV will show some of the practice sessions with players and coaches mic'd up.
Adams won't be able to get much sleep, he's playing in tonight's Rising Stars game and has practice at 9:30 this morning, or about four hours or so after the plane landed from L.A.
The All-Star Celebrity Game is tonight at 6, you can see it on ESPN and then the Rising Stars game follows at 8 over on TNT.
Tomorrow the All-Stars will practice at 11am and NBA-TV will show that.
All-Star Saturday Night will feature Durant, Tulsa Shock star Skylar Diggins and NBA Legend Karl Malone as one of four teams in the Shooting Stars challenge.
Jackson will be in the Skills Challenge. There will also be the 3-point contest and the slam dunk contest. All of that begins at 7:30pm on TNT.
And then the All-Star Game itself tips at 7pm Sunday on TNT.
The Thunder will be off on Monday as everyone filters back in to OKC, and the team is scheduled to practice on Tuesday as they get ready to crank things back up for the stretch run to the end of the season in mid-April.
And things will get off to a fast start for the Thunder. They begin a six game homestand Thursday night by hosting a nationally televised game against LeBron James and the Miami Heat.
And if that's not enough, remember that could be the night Russ returns.
Now that oughta be fun.