“My teammates found me for open shots and I knocked them down,” Westbrook said. “When you make your first two, it definitely helps you.”
After one quarter, the Thunder trailed 27-26, getting within one off a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Westbrook. But the period was problematic for the Thunder, largely because OKC couldn't consistently corral defensive rebounds. The Lakers pulled down eight offensive rebounds in the quarter and turned them into eight second-chance points. For the quarter, the Lakers out-rebounded the Thunder 18-9.
“They were getting too many offensive rebounds that first half,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks.
The Thunder took control in the final six minutes of the second quarter.
And Westbrook led the way.
Behind an offensive explosion from Westbrook, Oklahoma City turned a 40-37 lead into a 67-53 advantage at halftime. Westbrook scored or assisted on 21 of the Thunder's final 27 points in the period. OKC outscored L.A. 41-26 in the frame.
Once again, Westbrook brought his best against his hometown team.
“They're a team that everybody likes,” Westbrook explained. “And as a young team coming up you always want to beat the best.”
Westbrook had just six points on 2-for-10 shooting in the second half. But that's when Durant picked up where his All-Star teammate left off. Durant scored 18 of his game-high 36 points in the second half, helping the Thunder to lead by as many as 19 before dropping the Lakers to 9-11 this season.
“We all know that the Lakers are one of the best teams,” Brooks said. “They don't have the record right now that they will. But they will. They're going to get some guys healthy and they're going to get some rhythm.”