Young legs ran circles around veteran mettle.
Thunder blue routed Laker purple. Rest trumped rust. And Russ trumped them all.
Russell Westbrook was the best player on a court full of all-stars, Kevin Durant was right there with him and the Thunder celebrated the end of a nine-day layoff with a 119-90 thrashing Monday night that sent a clear message.
The Thunder is back. Back on the court. Back in the saddle of where it was before an April swoon lifted the Spurs to the Western Conference favorite role in the NBA playoffs.
In Game 1 of this West semifinal series, the Thunder left the Lakers exasperated. Kobe Bryant went from frustrated to laughing at the futility by the fourth quarter. Twin towers Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol sat on the bench for what seemed like forever after the game, trying to make sense of this run-rule. Rookie Devin Ebanks got ejected late and stripped to his waist, ala Bynum from a year ago, when the Lakers were unceremoniously swept by the Mavericks in the second round.
Don't look now, but with the Thunder playing like this, another sweep is possible.
“In the playoffs, we've been playing good basketball,” Scotty Brooks said. “Been taking care of the basketball.”
No kidding. The Thunder had just four turnovers Monday night and shot 53 percent from the field. That equals blowout every single time.
Kobe and his coach, Mike Brown, used the same term to describe the game. Downhill.
Brown: “They did a terrific job attacking the way we tried to defend pick and rolls. They kind of got loose from some midrange jump shots. They got aggressive going downhill.”
Kobe: “They go on runs, they go on big runs. Once they get going, it goes downhill quickly.”
It went downhill quickly for the Lakers. And then it got worse.
With Westbrook and Durant playing well, the Thunder zipped to a 59-44 halftime lead. Then the Thunder scored 20 points the first five minutes of the second half, and it was Lost Angeles.
“Coach (Brooks) emphasized at halftime coming out, playing with the same intensity,” Westbrook said. “From then on, it was cruising for us.”
Westbrook was sensational: 27 points on 10-of-15 shooting, with seven rebounds, nine assists and one turnover.
Durant had 25 points on 8-of-16 shooting, with eight rebounds.
Brown said both Boomers got in a rhythm on a normally tough shot — pulling up in front of defenders for a jumper, knowing another defender was coming from behind.
The Lakers tried everything — including extended use of a zone defense — and nothing worked.
And now LA has precious little time to fix things. Or rest up. There are only two off days before Game 4.
More bad news for the Lakers. No Thunder played more than Durant's 28 minutes, 41 seconds. Four Lakers played at least 29 minutes: Kobe, Bynum, Pau Gasol and Metta World Chaos.
The Thunder got more rest even while playing with a bundle of juice.
“We came out tonight with a lot of energy,” Durant said. “We need to do that the rest of the series.”
Is there a reason to think the Thunder won't? These guys, no matter how well they play, always play hard.
“They're just younger and faster,” Kobe said with a degree of resignation.
The Lakers are a proud franchise with a team full of stars. They won't go easy. But that doesn't mean they won't go quickly.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at