LOS ANGELES (AP) — For three quarters, the Los Angeles Lakers tempted the sellout crowd at Staples Center into believing they would pull off one of the most improbable upsets of the NBA season.
Then Kevin Durant took over and the Lakers got sloppy with the ball, turning it into just another loss in a season full of them for coach Mike D'Antoni's undermanned squad.
Durant scored 19 of his 43 points in the fourth quarter and the Oklahoma City Thunder sent the Lakers to a record-setting seventh straight home loss with a 107-103 victory on Thursday night.
"The easy thing to do is look at it like we didn't have the proper focus. But I'm not going to go there — because when you play against an NBA team that's prideful like the Lakers, they're going to have a good game," Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks said.
The Thunder have a 1½-game lead on Indiana for the NBA's best record. Their 43-12 mark equals the best start in the franchise's 47-year history, set by the 1995-96 Seattle Supersonics.
Oklahoma City is 20-7 without second-leading scorer Russell Westbrook, who hasn't played since getting a triple-double on Christmas Day at Madison Square Garden. Westbrook is recovering from arthroscopic surgery on his right knee.
"This whole group, they are resilient," Durant said. "We persevered through everything and just stayed together. We had faith no matter what. We are looking forward to having Russell back and make it seem less of a transition for him."
Chris Kaman and Wesley Johnson scored 19 points apiece for Los Angeles, and Kendall Marshall added 14 points and 17 assists. The Lakers have lost 22 of their last 27 games and are tied with Sacramento for last place in the Western Conference.
The Thunder, coming off a 98-95 win against Portland in which they held All-Stars LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard to a combined 1-for-17 from the field in the second half, trailed by as many as 15 points late in the third quarter while Durant missed his first eight attempts from 3-point range.
But Durant's first 3-pointer of the game cut the Lakers' lead to 85-77 in the opening minute of the fourth, triggering a 15-2 run that enabled Oklahoma City to pull ahead 92-87 with 5:46 to play.
"He just continued to play the game and do what he has done all season," teammate and former Laker Derek Fisher said. "He is one of the best I have seen in terms if really just playing through anything and everything."