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Oklahoma City Pulls Away Late, Topping The Lakers

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A big performance from Kevin Durant pushed the Oklahoma City Thunder into a tie with the Miami Heat for the best record in the league (AP Photo). A big performance from Kevin Durant pushed the Oklahoma City Thunder into a tie with the Miami Heat for the best record in the league (AP Photo).

The Thunder outscored Los Angeles by 15 points in the second and third quarters, knocking off the Lakers 100-85  Thursday, moving them into a tie with the Miami Head for the best record in the NBA.

With seven minutes in the first half, Pau Gasol converted on a layup attempt, Matt Barnes on the assist, to give the Lakers a 31-28 lead. Oklahoma City responded with six unanswered points, Kevin Durant responsible for four points and recorded an assist on the other two, to take a 36-33 advantage with three minutes left to play.

Trailing by four with 90 seconds left on to play in the first half, Metta World Peace knocked down a three-point shot and Derek Fisher followed with a short jumper to put the Lakers in front 41-40. Pau Gasol threw down a dunk with 17 seconds left to take a 43-41 lead.

But that's when the Thunder seized the momentum.

On the next trip down the floor, Russell Westbrook hit a 24-foot, three-pointer to take a one-point lead with .08 left on the clock. Durant stole the inbound pass and hit a fading jumper as time expired to give Oklahoma City a 46-43 lead heading into the locker room.

Out of the break, Westbrook hit a long jumper to put the Thunder in front by five, but the Lakers responded with a quick four points to cut the lead to just one point. Oklahoma City responded in a big way, snapping off an 11-3 run – bookended by Daequan Cook three-pointers, to take a 59-50 lead with 6:48 left in the quarter.

Leading by seven with three minutes left in the quarter, the Thunder snapped off a quick seven points – with another cook three-pointer, pushing their lead to 71-58 and led by 11 heading in to the fourth quarter.

The Thunder nearly matched the Lakers shot-for-shot in the fourth quarter, holding nine-point lead with just three minutes on the clock, but that's when Oklahoma City put the game away, scoring 10 of the game's final 14 points.

Durant finished with a game-high 33 points, while dishing out six assists, grabbing four boards and three steals. Westbrook found a good balance between scoring and distributing, finishing with 19 points and six assists, while Serge Ibaka turned in yet another double-double, scoring 11 points and grabbing 13 boards.

Kobe Bryant was the driving force for the Lakers once again, finishing with 24 points, with Gasol adding 22 and Andrew Bynum adding a 14-point, 12-rebound double-double. However, the Lakers' bench was almost non-existent, scoring just 11 points.

Oklahoma City will be off for nearly a week thanks to the All Star Break, with Durant, Westbrook and head coach Scott Brooks representing the team. The Thunder will be back in action at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

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