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article imageNBA: Thunder loss close one on home floor to Lakers 90-87

By Kristofor Molson     Feb 28, 2011 in Sports
Oklahoma City - The Lakers are 4-0 coming off the All-Star break and today they faced the Thunder who is a few games behind the Lakers. The Thunder kept it close throughout the game, but they could not close it out late.
The Oklahoma City Thunder (36-22) hosted the Los Angeles Lakers (42-19) for the second time this year in this three game season series. The Lakers won the first game on their home court 101-94 and today this game came down to wire.
OKC took an early 6-0 lead that turned into a 12-4 run by the Thunder behind the play of Durant, Westbrook and the defense of Sefolosha. Westbrook and Sefolosha set the tone for the Thunder in the first quarter as the Lakers battled back behind the play of their biggs Bynum and Gasol. The Lakers got the lead down to four with a Gasol jumper but Harden hit two free-throws to make it 28-22.
The Lakers fought their way back in the game getting help from their bench and Bynum, but not before the Thunder pushed their lead to 13 with 10-2 run to open the quarter with two Harden layups and a Cook hitting back to back 3-pointers. A 20-7 run by the Lakers tied the game up at 42 as both teams battled for the lead going into halftime. Oklahoma City shot 61 percent in the first half and led by as many as 14 before holding a 56-51 edge at halftime.
Russell Westbrook scored 16 in the first half, and finished with 22 point altogether with six rebounds and 6 assists. Kevin Durant finished with 21 points and 4 rebounds. Thabo Sefolosha scored eight points in the first quarter and finished with a total of ten. James Harden scored a big 14 points, and Daequan Cook score nine points as well off the bench.
The Lakers had a good team game as no one scored over twenty points. Kobe Bryant scored 17 points with 7 assists, but Pau Gasol lead the team with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Andrew Bynum had 16 points and 10 rebounds, with Ron Artest scoring 10 points.
They got help from the bench as Lamar Odom and Shannon Brown both scored nine points.
The Lakers charged out the gate, going on a 10-4 run to take the lead at the 7:20 mark 61-60. During that run Artest hit a jumper and Bynum scored four straight points. Durant scored seven straight points to take the lead back but Artest and Kobe both hit jumpers to tie the game up at 67. The Lakers then took the lead on a Steve Blake (5 points) 3-pointer.
The teams battled in the final court in a close game that any team could have won. A Cook 3-pointer gave them a two point lead but a Blake jumper tied it up. The Lakers went on a 7-4 run to take a seven point lead capped off by a Bryant 3-pointer. OKC tried to battle back got within one at the 2:01 mark on a Westbrook 3-pointer. Artest stripped Durant of the ball after Bryant's jumper made it 90-87 with 56.4 seconds left, and Westbrook charged into Gasol for an offensive foul with 17.3 seconds remaining.
It came down to fouls and the Thunder filed Odom who missed a pair of free throws with 10.9 seconds left to give the Thunder a chance. Durant got the inbound pass and shot the three and missed it, and Harden had a chance as well but missed it as the time expired.
The Thunder scored only 13 in their least productive third quarter of the season.
None of Oklahoma City's three trade deadline acquisitions Kendrick Perkins, Nazr Mohammed and Nate Robinson played even though Perkins was the only one unavailable.
Oklahoma City outscored the Lakers 40-34 in the paint mostly by getting to the basket, and they also held a 39-36 rebounding advantage behind Serge Ibaka's (6 points) 13 rebounds.
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