OKC Thunder beats Lakers, ties Miami Heat for NBA's best record

After defeating the Los Angeles Lakers 100-85, the Thunder heads into the All-Star break tied with Miami for the best record in the league at 27-7.
BY DARNELL MAYBERRY, Staff Writer, dmayberry@opubco.com Published: February 23, 2012

Before taking on two of the league's most storied franchises, Kevin Durant was asked Wednesday morning whether the championship still goes through heavyweights like the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers.

Durant being Durant, of course, claimed it does.

“You have to go through those guys, because they've been through it,” Durant said. “They've been through tough battles in the playoffs. They've been through championships and they know what it takes to win basketball games, regular season or postseason.”

Fair enough.

But what the Oklahoma City Thunder confirmed in the last two nights was that there is certainly a changing of the guard taking place before our eyes. While playing in front of a nationally televised audience, the Thunder took down the Lakers 100-85 inside Chesapeake Energy Arena on Thursday night. Oklahoma City led by as many as 16 points and never trailed in the second half.

In another nationally televised game roughly 24 hours earlier, Oklahoma City disposed of the Celtics, albeit an injury-filled version, with the same 15-point throttling. In that game, the Thunder led by as many as 27.

Two games. Two nights. Two lopsided wins against league royalty.

“We're coming into our own,” said Royal Ivey. “We got a year under our belt coming from the Western Conference Finals. The focus is now. We're just playing every game like it's our last and we're just locking in.”

If the league has been too wrapped up in Linsanity to see what's taking place in Oklahoma City, the Thunder just strung together a week that should put everyone on notice as All-Star Weekend now arrives. The Thunder will break for Orlando tied with Miami for the league's best record at 27-7 after winning its 12th straight at home to bump its record inside Chesapeake Energy Arena to a league-best 15-1.

“I think we had a good week of basketball,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “I think everybody came in and mentally and physically prepared themselves to play five good games in seven nights. We all know that's a very difficult thing to do, but we all challenged ourselves individually and as a team to come out and do it every night.

Thursday's box score: OKC 100, L.A. Lakers 85

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