OKLAHOMA CITY —
Guards Wesley Johnson and Jodie Meeks led the Lakers on a surge and closed the Thunder’s lead to six. Johnson came off the bench looking for his shot from behind the arc and scored 11 points before Oklahoma was able to doing anything about it.
However, the Thunder responded with a 15-2 run keyed by Durant and reserve guard Reggie Jackson.
Near the end of the first half, Bryant tried to guard Durant the entire length of the court before a foul was called. Both exchanged laughs after the whistle.
“Kobe is the ultimate competitor,” Durant said. “I knew he was going to do that. He was going to challenge me. With a guy like Kobe, if I don’t accept the challenge, I’m going to hear about it for a while.”
Throughout the first half, Bryant played facilitator, trying to get the rest of his team involved. In doing so, he took only two shots the entire half as Oklahoma City held a 66-51 advantage. Oklahoma City set a new season high for points scored in the first half. The old mark was 64, which was set against Detroit.
The second half was more of the same as Oklahoma City didn’t let up.The Thunder pushed their lead to 20 heading into the fourth and then benched their starters.
The Lakers had no answer for the any of the Thunder’s big three or their roles players. It was a complete and total rout of a team that used to be considered a benchmark.
Oklahoma City (18-4) moved to 11-0 at home. It joins the Indiana Pacers as the only teams in the league who haven’t suffered a defeat at home.
“You have to give them credit,” Durant said. “They came out really strong, confident and making shots. We just had to be better. We got a steal and a dunk. I think it ignited us, especially with our crowd.”
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