The Thunder started out slowly offensively in Game 3 on Friday night, missing its first five shots and 10 of its first 12 while falling behind 16-4.
In Game 4 on Saturday, OKC hit its first three shots and five of its first six, but the Lakers also were hot and led 27-22 after making 11 of its first 17 (.647) shots.
In Game 3, the Lakers made 41 of 42 (.976) free throws and OKC 26 of 28 (.929).
In Game 4, the Lakers made 21 of 29 (.724) and the Thunder made 21 of 25 (.840). Eight of the first 10 fouls and 11 of the first 16 were called against the Thunder.
With 7:13 left in the third quarter, Thunder center Kendrick Perkins picked up his third technical foul in the playoffs when he shoved Lakers guard Ramon Sessions after a foul had been called on Lakers.
YOUTHFUL IS SERVED
For the past three years, Thunder coach Scott Brooks has been asked about his team's lack of postseason experience, a question that lost significant steam with the March acquisition of 16-year veteran guard Derek Fisher.
“If it's about experience and playoff games, we might as well not even play, because we're not going to win that battle,” Brooks explained. “It's not about that. It's about what you do this game, and the next game and the next game after that.
“You can get a bunch of experienced players, but if they're not very good, you're not going to win. I played a lot of years (10) in the NBA. If you had 12 of me, we would have played hard, but we wouldn't have won.”
EIGHT MEN OUT
The Lakers have stuck with an eight-man rotation virtually the entire series. With the tough turnaround with no off day between Games 3 and 4, was L.A. coach Mike Brown tempted to lengthen his bench?
“No,” Brown said without pause.
The Lakers had a shootaround scheduled for Saturday morning but canceled it. Instead, they had a closed walk-through practice at Staples Center at 5 p.m. (PT).
Brown said the Lakers just have to fight through fatigue. “Teams that are younger will have fresher legs and bodies,” Brown said. “You try to rest the guys, but they have to lace them up.”
Brooks has kept his 10-man rotation, but Daequan Cook's playing time has dwindled. Cook, who backs up Durant, has averaged 8 minutes per game and had played less than four minutes in Games 3 and 4.
Lakers forward Metta World Peace and Thunder guard Russell Westbrook got into a scuffle in the second quarter Friday night, and both were assessed technical fouls.
Westbrook described the incident this way: “I was just trying to get a loose ball and try to get it quickly and call a timeout, but I guess it was kind of hard for the refs to see it. That's all I was trying to do.”
World Peace described the incident this way: “He was very passionate at that point, Westbrook. There were a lot of emotions in that game. I can't worry about that. I have to try to get the ball. I'm trying to get the ball, but he's going crazy. I lose my feet. My knee hits his chest, but I'm glad I didn't get ejected.”