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SPORTS: Oklahoma City Thunder

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).
OKLAHOMA CITY -

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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