LOS ANGELES – Down 30-18 after the first period on Thursday night, a previously sizzling Thunder squad suddenly had gone into a deep freeze against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center.
Something, or someone, had to bring some warmth for the Thunder. In one of those Hollywood-script moments, former Lakers point guard Derek Fisher was that somebody.
Making his first LA appearance since cruelly being dealt to Houston on the March 15 trade deadline, Fisher came off the bench to score seven points in a two-minute, 20-second span during a pivotal second-quarter stretch that seemed to rejuvenate his new teammates.
From there, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant did the heavy lifting as both regained their shooting touch and scorched the nets to propel OKC to a 102-93 comeback victory.
"It was very important," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said of the spark Fisher provided. "We were struggling at the time, but he kept it within reach. That's what he brings. He brings toughness. He brings smart play and he makes good plays, and it's not just about him scoring."
Despite starting out 2 for 6 from the field, Westbrook returned to his recent stellar mode, finishing with 36 points, six assists, two steals and just one turnover.
"(Russ) was seeing that we weren't making any shots," Durant said. "Russell is an aggressive player and that's his game. He came out making shots and we all rallied behind him and we got a good win."
Westbrook deflected attention back toward Fisher.
"Derek wanted this win," Westbrook said. "We came out and played hard for him. I know it's an emotional time for him, but we came out with the win."
Said Fisher: "Overall, my emotions were in a good place the entire time."
The Thunder (39-12) has won five straight and next up are the Chicago Bulls (41-11), who have the league's best record. Game time is noon Sunday at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Durant added 21 points, making 10 of his last 14 shots, and also pulled down 11 rebounds for his 15th double-double of the season. For good measure, he added five assist and two blocked shots.
In an added bonus, center Kendrick Perkins scored in double-digits for the third time in four games and finished with 12 points, eight rebounds and two blocks.
Nazr Mohammed added four consecutive blocked shots during a second-quarter stretch and Serge Ibaka had three blocks as the Thunder finished with 12 rejections. Durant started the game 0 for 8 from the field as the Thunder shot 28.0 percent as a team to trail by 12 points after the first period.
"(Russ) saw that we weren't making shots," Durant said.
In addition, Perkins suddenly was one technical away from earning a one-game suspension when he was whistled for his 12th technical of the season with 4:44 left in the quarter.
After that dismal opening period, OKC shot 42.9 percent in the second quarter, 61.9 percent in the third quarter and 58.6 percent in the fourth quarter to finish at 46.2 percent, snapping a run of four straight games of 50-percent shooting or better.
Defense also spurred the Thunder's comeback. The Lakers were outscored 58-44 after intermission, shot 36.8 percent in the second half and had managed just 21 points in the first 17 minutes after halftime.
By that time, the sellout crowd of 18,977 had started booing the home team.
After being outrebounded 18-10 in the first quarter, the Thunder beat the Lakers 38-27 on the boards and finished with 19 offensive rebounds, which led to 23 second-chance points.
"We did a great job the second half defending," Westbrook said.
OKC also burned LA in transition, outscoring the Lakers 25-8 in fast-break points.
"Oklahoma City didn't do anything tricky," LA coach Mike Brown said. "All they did was come at us in transition and play pick-and-roll. Those two things were it."