LOS ANGELES — From Jodie Meeks’ big day to the final result, this was definitely a surprise.
Meeks scored 24 of his career-high 42 points in the second half, and the Los Angeles Lakers beat Oklahoma City 114-110 on Sunday despite a triple-double by Thunder star Kevin Durant.
Pau Gasol added 20 points and 11 rebounds for the injury-ravaged Lakers, who had lost 29 of their previous 37 games. Meeks was 11 of 18 from the field and 14 for 14 at the line while becoming the third player to reach the 30-point mark this season for last-place Los Angeles (22-42).
“The most important thing is that we keep going out there and fighting and not giving up,” Meeks said. “The season isn’t going the way that we planned, but we still have 18 games left. So we’ll play them hard and see what happens.”
Meeks is averaging 19.2 points in 11 games since returning from a sprained right ankle. Before the injury, he was averaging 14.4.
“He got on fire,” coach Mike D’Antoni said. “He has really improved his game. Defensively, he was out of sight on Russell Westbrook the whole time. He put out a lot of energy in this game, but he has been doing that on a pretty consistent basis. Jodie has been our most consistent performer. It’s really fun to watch someone get better.”
Durant had 27 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists for his third triple-double this season. Serge Ibaka had 21 points and 15 boards for Oklahoma City.
The Thunder (46-17) began the day in a three-way tie with San Antonio and Indiana for the NBA’s best record. The Pacers played at Dallas on Sunday night and the Spurs were idle.
“We lost. In some games, someone will have 40 points on you that is not supposed to have 40,” Durant said. “We pressure hard so high out on the pick-and-roll that it opened everything up, and they exploited it. They were hitting the pocket passes and going through the lane to get the ball to their shooters. But that is how we play, so we have to figure out how to make second and third efforts.”