Originally Published: Nov 22, 2009 11:45 PM CDT
Oklahoma Sports Staff & AP Wire Reports
LOS ANGELES -- The defending champion Los Angeles Lakers cruised to a 101-85 rout of the Oklahoma City Thunder Sunday. Kobe Bryant scored 26 points, including an astonishing basket from behind the backboard.
It was a far cry from the first time around when the Lakers squeaked out a101-98 overtime win in Oklahoma City on Nov. 3. Los Angeles was in control throughout with help from Andrew Bynum's 25 points and nine rebounds. Bryant also had seven assists and six rebounds.
Bryant thrilled the sellout crowd late in the first quarter when he made one of those Larry Bird-type fade away jumpers from behind the baseline near the Lakers' bench while hanging in the air as his momentum carried him out of bounds on a drive against rookie guard James Harden.
Kevin Durant led Oklahoma City with 19 points, after getting 30 or more in five of his previous seven games. The Thunder has given up 100 or more points in each of their last three contests, after allowing fewer than 90 in six of their first 11 contests.
Durant, who came in as the league's fifth-leading scorer with a 27.7-points average and had 28 in the first meeting with the Lakers, missed his first five shots in the rematch while Bynum made his first five to help Los Angeles pull out to a 27-8 lead. Bryant, who scored nine points in the final 2:01 of the quarter, turned a one-bounce offensive rebound into a buzzer-beating bank shot from the foul line to give the Lakers a 35-16 cushion.
Durant, who made a league-best 452 free throws last season, had only one against the Lakers. It came at the end of a three-point play that trimmed the Lakers' lead to 61-42 with 8:42 left in the third, and was his only attempt from the line.
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