Los Angeles Lakers top Thunder 90-87

Pau Gasol had 18 points and 11 rebounds, Kobe Bryant scored 17 points and the Los Angeles Lakers extended their cushion over Oklahoma City in the Western Conference standings by beating the Thunder 90-87 on Sunday.
BY JOHN ROHDE, Staff Writer, jrohde@opubco.com Modified: February 27, 2011 at 3:56 pm •  Published: February 27, 2011

Sunday brought the Los Angeles Lakers back to Oklahoma City Arena for the first time since last year's opening-round of the playoffs.

Not quite the same intensity as the last meeting, but close.

“As intense as a regular-season game can be,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said after his team's 90-87 loss to the Lakers before a sellout crowd of 18,203.

Game 6 against the Lakers wound up being the final game last season for the Thunder, which lost 95-94 on a put-back from Pau Gasol with .5 seconds left. This time, the Thunder had two shots in the closing sequence to tie the two-time defending world champions.

Kevin Durant's 28-footer out front with 4.9 seconds left was off the mark. Nick Collison tapped the offensive board back out top, where James Harden had an open look from 26 feet with 2.8 seconds left, which also was off the mark.

“We were fortunate to come away with that win,” Lakers coach Phil Jackson said afterward.

The loss saddles the Thunder (36-22) with its first three-game losing streak of the season. Entering the contest, OKC was one of only four teams to not lose more than two straight – the others still being San Antonio, Boston and Chicago.

The Thunder also drops to 2-8 on Sundays this season.

It was the first time since last Thursday's trades with Boston and Charlotte that guard Nate Robinson and center Nazr Mohammed were available for the Thunder. Former Celtics center Kendrick Perkins will miss 2-3 weeks with a sprained knee.

The acquisitions had the equivalent of one shoot-around practice with their new teammates on Saturday, which Brooks felt was not ample preparation time. The Thunder will have two more practices before Wednesday night's home game against Indiana.

“We had the advantage today,” Jackson acknowledged. “They're still a team that is getting their personnel together. They played small and still outrebounded us (48-42)."

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