Lakers 90, Thunder 87: Feb. 27 Running Diary

Below is a running diary of L.A.’s Sunday evening road contest against the Thunder, the Lakers looking for their fourth straight win out of the All-Star break, with some comments drawn from our @LakersReporter Twitter account, and a few more details in case you missed any of the action:

Starters
Lakers: Fisher, Bryant, Artest, Gasol and Bynum
Thunder: R. Westbrook, T. Sefolosha, K. Durant, S. Ibaka, N. Collison

FIRST QUARTER
8:40 Think the Thunder were excited for L.A.’s only trip to Oklahoma City this regular season, and first since Pau Gasol’s tip in at the buzzer won Game 6 of their first round series last year? They opened 4-of-4 from the field and 3-of-4 at the foul line to take a 13-4 lead, L.A.’s only two hoops coming on Gasol jump shots.

4:45 And then the Lakers settled in on offense, scoring on six of seven possessions to cut the lead to four at 19-15. Gasol added another jumper, Bryant two of his own and Bynum a tip in plus 1-of-2 free throws. Once LAL found its bigs inside, open jump shots that were earlier contested began to show themselves.

0:00 LAL managed OKC’s huge energy wave OK in first to trail 28-22 after one period. The Thunder shot 62.5%, made four more FT’s and two more 3′s to claim their advantage on the scoreboard.

SECOND QUARTER
10:00 The Lakers needed Lamar Odom’s pull-up jumper to stop a 7-0 Thunder run out of the first quarter, and even more so Odom’s three-pointer to answer Daquan Cook’s pull up from three feet behind the three-point line. Odom then cleared a defensive board and fed Shannon Brown for a transition layup, cutting OKC’s lead to nine at 38-29.

6:02 The Thunder pushed its lead to as many as 14, but Odom continued a fantastic individual stretch in which he scored seven points, tossed two assists, collected a rebound and a steal to cut that lead down to just four at 42-38.

0:00 A momentary lead was gained by the Lakers at the 2:49 mark when Artest hit a jumper, but Russell Westbrook inspired an 11-5 run to close the half, giving the Thunder a 56-51 edge at the half. Odom finished his huge quarter with two more assists, including a full court pass to Gasol that netted a layup as time expired.

THIRD QUARTER
7:35 Absent Kendrick Perkins, out 2-3 weeks with a sprained MCL, the Thunder had no answer for Bynum. He vaulted up to 14 points, seven boards and four blocks in a dominant stretch to start the third, helping the Lakers to an 8-0 run that pushed the visitors to a 61-60 lead.

4:21 With a pretty fadeaway J from the elbow he’s hit so many times in his career, Kobe Bryant became the 7th all-time leading score on the NBA’s list, surpassing Elvin Hayes, and tying the game in the process. It’s difficult to put that in perspective in a line, but pretty remarkable to think about the simple fact that only six players in the history of the game have scored more points than a guy still playing at a championship level.

0:29.9 Steve Blake’s three-pointer was his first make of the game, and gave the Lakers their biggest lead at 72-69. With Bryant on the bench resting for the final three minutes, the Thunder failed to score, and ended up with only 13 points in a terrific defensive quarter for the Lakers.

FOURTH QUARTER
8:59 Derek Fisher’s backup, Blake, hit his second straight jumper to tie the game at 76, answering Cook’s third three. Westbrook’s backup, Eric Maynor, missed his sixth straight shot on the other end and finally got pulled for WB, who’d played only 25 minutes to that point.

4:38 Bryant, who’d been mostly quiet on offense, pulled up for a three-pointer that opened a 7-point lead for the Lakers, their largest to that point. The Thunder continued to scratch and claw, particularly James Harden (defending Bryant very aggressively and quite well for the most part), to come back within four points at the 2:40 mark, the Lakers trying to close out a tough road win.

0:56.4 Defiantly, Bryant nailed a fadeaway jumper to put the Lakers up three after missing the three jumpers before it and one after. But two huge defensive plays first from Artest (stripping Durant) and then Gasol (drawing Westbrook’s charge) sealed a tough win for the Lakers … right?

0:00.0 Barely. Odom missed two free throws with 10 seconds left, but the Thunder rimmed out respective three-point attempts from Durant and Harden to fall 90-87. LAL have now won four straight out of the All-Star break.

POSTGAME NUMBERS
5 Blocks for Andrew Bynum, who was terrific on both ends of the floor, adding 16 points and 10 rebounds to his effort.

13 Points scored by Oklahoma City in a critical third quarter, the Lakers turning a 5-point halftime deficit into a 3-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.

14 Oklahoma City’s biggest lead of the game, attained in the second quarter, which was trimmed in large part thanks to a terrific second period from Lamar Odom.

19 Turnovers for the Thunder, off of which the Lakers scored 22 points. The two biggest came in the final minute, when Ron Artest stripped Kevin Durant, and Pau Gasol drew a charge on Russell Westbrook.

48.7 L.A.’s quite good field goal percentage for the game, thanks to Bynum’s 5-of-7, Pau Gasol’s 7-of-13 (18 points) and Odom’s 4-of-7 (nine points).