Despite OKC's tremendous ball security, the Lakers trailed by just 110-105 with six minutes left.
“I told these guys (my players), ‘They are good,” said Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni. “They are probably the best team in the West. We need to measure up against it.' We knew that two things were going to happen. We need to make the playoffs and then get Pau (Gasol) back, and then we will see.”
‘180 CLUB' UPDATE
Despite cooling off the from the field and at the free-throw line lately, three-time scoring champ Kevin Durant remains alive in his quest for the “180 Club” reserved for those who shoot 50 percent from the floor, 40 percent from 3-point range and 90 percent from the free-throw line.
He enters Thursday's 7 p.m. game at New York shooting 50.7 percent from the field, 42.1 percent on 3-pointers and 90.6 percent at the line.
Durant has fallen to No. 2 in the league's free-throw rankings behind Golden State's Stephen Curry at .908. OKC's Kevin Martin is No. 3 at .902.
Durant was 2 for 10 in the second half against the Lakers.
FUSS ABOUT RUSS
Russell Westbrook is making an early push for NBA player of the Month, averaging 34.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, 6.7 assists and shooting 52.8 percent from the floor so far in March.
In the last 10 games, Westbrook is averaging 29.3 points, 6.4 assists, 5.2 rebounds and shooting 51.0 percent from the field.
After going six weeks with no back-to-back games, the Thunder is about to embark on back-to-back back-to-backs, playing at the Knicks on Thursday and at Charlotte on Friday, followed by a home game against Boston at noon Sunday and a game at San Antonio on Monday. … OKC has 15 back-to-backs this season. New York-Charlotte will be the 10th. … The Lakers missed their first 10 shots and their last 10 shot Tuesday. In between they shot 31 for 57 (.544) from the field. … OKC will try to improve its record against the Eastern Conference the next two nights. The Thunder is just 13-7 against the East – 7-3 at home and 6-4 on the road.
Kobe Bryant on if he thinks the Lakers have the depth to compete with OKC: “Yeah, I know we do, but we don't have the athleticism that they do so if we allow them to play to their strengths and use their athleticism we're going to be in trouble. Everybody can get up and down and use their speed to get to the rim. We have to be able to alter that. If we can stay in front of the ball, be solid defensively, we'll give ourselves a much better chance.”