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

The shorthanded Thunder led by as many as 14 points in the first half and owned a 56-51 lead at intermission thanks to 61.1-percent shooting (22 for 36) from the field.

The second half was the alter ego, as OKC managed just 31 points in the final 24 minutes and shot 30 percent (12 for 40) from the floor.

The biggest second-half dips came from All-Stars Kevin Durant (4 for 13 from the field; three turnovers) and Russell Westbrook (1 for 6; four turnovers). Westbrook finished with 22 points and seven turnovers, both game-highs. Durant had 21 points (8 for 20) and five turnovers.

“It felt like nothing could go our way,” Durant said. “We missed shots and layups … These losses are tough.”

The Lakers picked up their defensive intensity after halftime and prevented Westbrook from continuing to penetrate at will. LA took five charging calls, including a key one from Gasol on Westbrook with 17.3 seconds left.

“The plan was to get in front of them, and that is why you saw so many charges,” Gasol said.

Thunder shooting guards Thabo Sefolosha and James Harden defended Kobe Bryant admirably, holding the four-time All-Star MVP to 17 points (8-for-22 shooting from the field) and forcing four turnovers. Bryant did have seven assists.

Seven-footers Gasol (18 points; 11 rebounds) and Andrew Bynum (16 points; 10 rebounds) each finished with a double-double.

“Their length and their size and their toughness bother us,” Brooks said.

Such might not be the case when the teams meet April 10 at Staples Center and Perkins presumably has joined the Thunder's starting lineup.

“Kendrick provides a big body for them inside, and he is the best low-post defender we have in the game,” Bryant said.

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