Fisher, Thunder Cruise Past Lakers
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Russell Westbrook scored 36 points, Kevin Durant added 21 and the West-leading Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 102-93 Thursday night for their fifth consecutive victory in the matchup of division leaders.
The Thunder shot 46 percent, ending their streak of hitting 50 percent or better in their four previous games.
Andrew Bynum had 25 points and 13 rebounds and Kobe Bryant added 23 points for the Lakers, who have lost their last two at home and are 0-2 against the Thunder this season, including a 15-point road loss last month.
Oklahoma City pulled away to open the fourth quarter with a 10-0 run that stretched its lead to 88-70 while Westbrook kept Bryant tied up offensively. Westbrook and Durant scored four points each in the spurt that had Laker fans booing.
The Lakers responded with a 14-4 run to close to 96-89, with Metta World Peace hitting two 3-pointers and Bryant not scoring. Westbrook and Durant missed shots, but the NBA’s highest scoring duo regrouped in time to score their team’s final 10 points.
Westbrook scored 17 points in the third, when the Thunder dominated, 34-19, in taking a 78-68 lead into the final 12 minutes. Durant was limited to a lone 3-pointer while Westbrook scored at will, alternately slashing to the basket or hitting from the perimeter. His 3-pointer beat the buzzer to end the quarter. Kendrick Perkins had 10 of his 12 points in the third.
The Thunder were limited to 36 percent shooting in the first half, when they trailed 49-44. The Lakers got off to a strong start, leading 30-18 after one quarter behind nine points by Bryant and eight from Bynum. Oklahoma City outscored the Lakers 26-19 in the second quarter and took off from there.
NOTES: The Thunder twice hit buzzer-beating baskets. Serge Ibaka had one to end the first half before Westbrook’s 3 ended the third. … The Thunder closed March with an 11-5 record. … Former Laker Derek Fisher was welcomed back with two standing ovations in his first visit to Staples Center since being traded away recently. He had seven points in 16 minutes off the bench for the Thunder. … Lakers coach Mike Brown said someone opened a Twitter account in his name that has since been shut down. “It’s a sign that I’ve made it,” he said. “But I will never have a Twitter account. I promise.”