The Thunder led the Los Angeles Lakers by 19 points on Friday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena, then allowed the Lakers to score 27 points in the final 7:42. OKC managed to hold on for a 114-108 victory before a sellout crowd of 18,203.
“We did a terrible job of finishing this game out,” said three-time scoring champ Kevin Durant, who had a game-high 36 points, plus nine rebounds and four assists.
The Thunder shot 54.3 percent (25 for 46) from the field and 72.7 percent (8 for 11) from 3-point range in the first half, but shot just 42.1 percent (16 for 38) from the field and 16.7 percent (1 for 6) on 3-pointers in the second half.
OKC had just four turnovers in the first half, but had 10 after intermission that led to 11 LA points.
On the positive side, the Thunder was out-rebounded 26-19 in the first half but 19-17 in the second half.
The Lakers had 15 offensive rebounds and outscored OKC 15-11 in second-chance points.
AT THE LINE
OKC entered the contest leading the NBA in free-throw shooting at 83.7 percent. Meanwhile, the Lakers led the league in attempts but ranked dead last in shooting at just 66.7 percent.
The Thunder wound up shooting 82.1 percent (23 for 28) at the line, while LA overachieved at 80.6 percent (25 for 31).
Lakers center Dwight Howard, a 46.9-percent shooter from the line on the season, converted 71.4 percent (5 for 7).
The Thunder on Friday recalled forward Perry Jones, guard Jeremy Lamb and center Daniel Orton from the Tulsa 66ers of the Development League. Orton and Lamb were activated for Friday night's game against the Lakers, but did not play.
Jones appeared in two games with the 66ers, averaging 11.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 24.5 minutes per game. Lamb saw action in three games, averaging 26.0 points (second in the league), 6.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.0 steal and 1.7 blocks in 39.7 minutes per game. Orton played in five games with the 66ers, averaging 10.2 points, 8.6 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.2 steals and 2.0 blocks in 31.4 minutes per game.
OKC fans have not forgotten last year's incident when Lakers forward Metta World Peace elbowed former Thunder sixth man James Harden toward the end of the regular season. World Peace was booed heartily in pregame introductions and throughout the entire game.
With 2:56 left in Friday's game, World Peace and Thunder forward Serge Ibaka were locked face-to-face after a made free throw. With the crowd chanting “Beat L-A,” each player received a technical foul and remained in the game.
The Lakers were without two starters. Point guard Steve Nash (leg) and power forward Pau Gasol (tendinitis in knees) were inactive for the game.
Jones was inactive for the Thunder and was on crutches with a left ankle sprain. He will rehabilitate the injury in OKC.
Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook scored 27 first-half points and made a career-high five 3-pointers before intermission. He scored just six points, shot just 2 for 10 after halftime and finished with 33 points. … The Thunder is now 16-5 when Durant and Westbrook each score 30-plus. … Howard's 10 rebounds in the first quarter were a season high for a quarter this year. He followed with one rebound in the second quarter and finished with 18. … OKC outscored the Lakers 28-8 in fast-break points while LA outscored the Thunder 44-38 in the paint.
Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni on the state of his team: “We've got things we have to work on. We've got to get Pau and Steve back. They set a bar and they play very well. We know where we've got to go. I'm very encouraged about some of the stuff we're doing.”