LOS ANGELES — Kevin Durant continues marking tasks off his to-do list.
On Sunday, he checked off a win against the Los Angeles Lakers inside Staples Center from his checklist. The 120-106 victory was the first time Durant and the Thunder notched a win here, one of only three places the Oklahoma City All-Star has yet to defeat the home team in his four-year career.
But Durant wasn't focused on that minor milestone.
“It feels good. But we don't play this game just to say we want to beat the Lakers at home,” said Durant, who scored a team-high 31 points on 11 of 15 shooting. “This was a step in the right direction. But we want to get to something bigger. It was kind of a statement win for us.”
With it, the Thunder keeps pace with Dallas and the Lakers for a chance to improve its seeding with two games remaining. The Thunder, currently in fourth place, now trails both the Mavericks and the Lakers by one game. L.A. currently holds the tiebreaker over Dallas for the second seed, but the Thunder holds the potential tiebreaker over Dallas.
The Thunder now goes into Sacramento tonight with a chance to still climb as high as the No. 2 seed.
“We want to win out, man. That's what it's all about,” Durant said.
Play like it did Sunday and that should be no problem for the Thunder, which will close the season against the Kings and Milwaukee, two teams that are a combined 36 games below .500.
The Thunder led by as many as 14 and never allowed the Lakers to go ahead by more than five. Most impressively, though, was the Thunder looked like the veteran team down the stretch, getting stops, making quality shots and forcing the Lakers into an uncharacteristic panic mode that led to rushed shots and poor decisions.
Sunday's box score
Mayberry: Thunder tops L.A.