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Russell Westbrook scores 37 points as Thunder downs Lakers

by Darnell Mayberry Published: March 5, 2013

Kevin Durant, meanwhile, quietly wore out the Lakers just as much. He scored 20 points in the first half, making seven of 12 shots. He closed the half with a 3-pointer from straight away and a jump shot with 1.1 seconds remaining to give the Thunder a 71-55 advantage, the most points OKC has scored in a half this season.

Ball security and ball movement helped the Thunder build its 16-point halftime. Oklahoma City had just one turnover in the opening 24 minutes, a season low, and dished 12 assists that allowed 10 players to score.

The lone turnover — which stood until 5:06 remained in the fourth quarter — came on a disputed pass that the Thunder contended was deflected out of bounds by a Laker. The Thunder finished with just two giveaways, tying an NBA record.

The Lakers got as close as five when Steve Nash hit a corner 3-pointer off a feed from Bryant with 6:14 left to play. Westbrook split a pair of free throws at the other end, Serge Ibaka drained a corner 3 and Durant made a pair of foul shots to push the Thunder's lead back to 11 inside the final 2½ minutes.

LA didn't score the rest of the way.

It was all but over when Ibaka corralled a missed 3 by Westbrook before converting a putback layup and Westbrook followed by picking off a bad pass by Bryant and streaking the other way for a two-handed dunk.

“The Lakers came in with basically everybody saying this was a must win,” Westbrook said. “They needed a win, and we needed the win, too. So we came out with a sense of urgency as well.”

by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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