LOS ANGELES –Staples Center hasn’t been the friendliest of buildings to Thunder forward Kevin Durant.
However, the NBA’s three-time scoring champ erupted for a season-high 42 points Friday night in OKC’s 116-101 demolition of the slumping Los Angeles Lakers, who have now lost six straight games for the first time in six seasons.
Durant had collected 25 points by halftime, finished 16 for 25 from the field and added eight rebounds and five assists.
Entering Friday’s game, Durant had shot 45.9 percent from the field and 30.8 percent from 3-point range for his career inside the home facility of the Lakers and Clippers.
In the first round of the 2010 playoffs, Durant shot just 35.0 percent from the field and 28.6 percent from 3-point range against the Lakers.
A sold-out Staples Center (18,997) essentially was hushed from start to finish Friday thanks to Durant’s persistent marksmanship from multiple locations near and far.
In the second period, Durant scored 16, shooting 6 for 8 from the field, 2 for 3 from 3-point range, but just 2 for 4 from the line. Through three quarters, he had 40 points, was 15 for 22 from the field and 4 for 9 from 3-point range.
“I don’t think it was a game where he was on fire,” Lakers All-Star Kobe Bryant said of Durant. “I thought we just gave him very makeable shots.
When you give guys that are that good at shooting the ball makeable shots he’s going to make them. We gave them a lot of easy opportunities. We had a lot of defensive lapses which gave them some easy cracks at the basket, and they took advantage of it.”
Durant said he had no idea how many different players defended him on the night, but it included at least Metta World Peace, Bryant and Earl Clark. Durant said he pays closer attention to the opponent’s defense as a whole rather than who specifically is defending him.
“Just worry about shooting a good shot and making a strong move, that’s all I worry about,” Durant said. “It doesn’t matter who’s guarding me. Different guys were guarding me tonight I just tried to get to my spots and shoot the shots I normally shoot. Just try to let it fly.”
OKC point guard Russell Westbrook had 27 points and 10 assists for his 15th double-double of the season. Kevin Martin added 15 points off the bench.
The Thunder and Los Angeles Clippers are now tied for the best record in the NBA at 28-8.