Durant and Westbrook combined to shoot 16-for-48 from the field and missed seven of their 10 3-point attempts. In the decisive fourth quarter, which began with the game tied 75-all, the Thunder's All-Star duo scored 14 points on 4-for-12 shooting.
Neither blamed their shooting struggles on the team's record six-game, 11-day road trip. But by the way their shots fell short — most notably a last-second missed layup by Durant — it's hard to not think the taxing West Coast tour played at least a small role.
Westbrook was wretched from the jump, starting the game 0-for-8 from the field. He air-balled his eighth attempt, a pull-up jumper from the right wing, and didn't get his first field goal to drop until 9.9 seconds remained in the second quarter. His second basket didn't come until 2:45 was left in the third quarter. He finished 6-for-22 from the floor, ending this road swing shooting 47 of 127, or 37 percent.
Westbrook's floor game, however, was exceptional. He had seven rebounds and nine assists by halftime and ended up with 13 assists and nine rebounds. His 27 assists over the past two games are the most he's ever had in a two-game span.
Durant scored a game-high 35 points but missed 16 of 26 shots, and the Thunder role players didn't offer much in the way of scoring help. Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins had 10 points apiece but were the only other OKC players to score in double figures.
The Lakers' bench outscored the Thunder's 33-17. Lakers reserves Antawn Jamison and Jodie Meeks combined to score as much as the entire Thunder bench.
“It was a must win for them,” Durant said, “and they came out and performed well.”
The Thunder, meanwhile, went 3-3 on the trip and was forced to fly back home seeking answers for what went wrong and how it can get rolling back in the right direction. Allowing an average of 106 points on 46.6 percent shooting in these six games certainly can't be what the Thunder had in mind.
“We know that we're not just going to go home and everything's going to work out for us,” Brooks said.
“It'll be good to go home and see family and get comfortable in familiar surroundings. But we still got to play well and execute well to get the win.”