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Thunder Rolls Against Lakers

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It doesn't seem like all that long ago when the Thunder front office was making roster moves in an effort to play catch-up with the mighty Los Angeles Lakers.

Oh how times have changed.

There were 26 teams in action across the NBA on Friday; the biggest betting line of the evening featured Oklahoma City as a 12.5-point favorite at home. The opponent: the Lakers.

These two teams have gone in different directions lately and Friday was a showcase of just how giant the chasm has become between these two Western Conference titans, as the Thunder made that gargantuan 12.5 line look flat-out silly.

Oklahoma City torched Los Angeles 122-97 at Chesapeake Energy Arena in a game where OKC's starters watched the vast majority of the fourth quarter in warm ups and swinging towels above their heads.

And this one not only got out of hand, it got out of hand fast. Oklahoma City led by as much as 14 in the first quarter after a Reggie Jackson 3-pointer and, after a nonthreatening Laker rally, Jackson and Kevin Durant sparked a 12-0 run in the second quarter and OKC never looked back.

Oklahoma City outscored the Lakers by 10 in the first quarter and then consistency reigned, as the Thunder outscored L.A. 28-23 in the second, third and fourth quarters.

Durant was his usual unstoppable self, leading the Thunder with video-game-like efficiency with 31 points on 10-of-13 shooting, 3-of-5 from 3 and 8-of-8 from the free-throw line. And if that wasn't enough, KD chipped in eight rebounds, five assists, four steals and a block.

Behind Durant was a trio of Oklahoma City players with 19 points, as Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka and Jackson all hit the 19-point mark. Westbrook struggled again from the floor on 7-of-19 shooting but that shouldn't detract from the overall dominance of his performance. Russ had a double-double with 12 assists and also added eight rebounds and two steals.

But perhaps the most important stat turned in by No. 0 is this: Kobe Bryant finished with four points on 2-of-6 shooting with seven turnovers. With Thabo Sefolosha sidelined with a lingering injury, Westbrook got the go-ahead to hound Kobe and he made the most of the opportunity. Westbrook split time on Bryant with Andre Roberson, who played a solid 22 minutes of lockdown defense in his own right.

Ibaka joined Westbrook in the double-double category, as he snagged 10 rebounds to go with his 19 points and finished 8-of-13 from the field.

Nick Young led the Lakers (10-12) with 17 points off the bench, while Putnam City High School product Xavier Henry added 15 in his homecoming.

It wasn't a typical Kobe game, but Bryant has had to adjust his role as he continues to recover in just his third game back from a ruptured Achilles. Bryant had 13 assists, which was just two off of his career best.

A note to take from this blowout would be the continued improvement and consistency from the Thunder's second unit. Jackson ran the show from his sixth-man role, but OKC got stout showing from Jeremy Lamb (11 points, 4 rebounds), Perry Jones (9 pts, 5 rebs) and a plus-24 from Steven Adams in just 15 minutes. And it's not just their production, it's how they look on the court together. They play fast, efficient and fun basketball.

The convincing win extend the Thunder's best-ever home start, as Oklahoma City improved to 11-0 at Chesapeake Energy Arena and moved to 18-4 overall.

The Thunder will aim to go 12-0 at home on Sunday when it hosts the visiting Orlando Magic at 6 p.m.

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