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Oklahoma City Thunder: OKC rolls past Lakers

Kevin Durant scored 31 points, Russell Westbrook added 19 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds and the Oklahoma City Thunder rolled to a 122-97 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: December 13, 2013

Eleven seconds were all we got, a tease, or merely a taste of how terrific were the good old days of Thunder-Lakers.

They came near the conclusion of the second quarter.

Kobe Bryant had just turned it over underneath his own basket and then turned his attention to defense. His target: Kevin Durant.

Bryant locked himself onto Durant as he advanced the ball, turning him, hounding him. When Durant crossed half-court, Bryant was there, still applying the man-on-man pressure that helped earn him nine All-Defensive First Team selections.

Then Bryant got a little overly aggressive, picking up a foul 40 feet away from the basket. The two stars smiled, gave each other a respectful pat and that was that.

The remaining 47 minutes, 49 seconds looked like anything but your traditional Thunder-Lakers matchup, and the 122-97 final that went Oklahoma City's way on Friday night inside Chesapeake Energy Arena told the story of each franchise's trajectory over the past three seasons.

“It's kind of crazy how all the franchises have changed across the league, with different guys in trades and how with one trade a team can go from this to that,” said Russell Westbrook. “But I think around here we've done a great job of just developing guys, taking it year by year and game by game and trying to compete every year.”

At the other end of the spectrum, the Lakers are in full-blown struggle mode.

Injuries, free-agent disappointments and dissension have all crippled a proud franchise. And when the walking wounded arrived for the first of four regular-season meetings, the surging Thunder pounced.

It was a season high in points for OKC and easily the largest margin of victory in the six-year series between Oklahoma City and Los Angeles, eclipsing an 18-point road loss the Thunder suffered on March 24, 2009.

Durant was dominant, scoring 31 points in 31 minutes while needing only 13 shots, and Westbrook was unstoppable, adding 19 points, eight rebounds and a team-high 12 assists.

But the player who characterized how much has changed between these two clubs was Serge Ibaka. He continued his All-Star-caliber season by owning the matchup with Lakers star and perennial Thunder pest Pau Gasol. Ibaka scored 19 points on 8-for-13 shooting, with a game-high 10 rebounds for his team-leading 11th double-double.

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by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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