Lakers Beat Thunder For 11th Straight Time

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Kobe Bryant scored 26 points, including an astonishing basket from behind the backboard, and the Los Angeles Lakers cruised to a 101-85 rout of the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday night.

The defending NBA champions, who squeaked out a 101-98 overtime win at Oklahoma City on Nov. 3, had this one in control throughout with help from Andrew Bynum's 25 points and nine rebounds. Bryant also had seven assists and six rebounds.

Pau Gasol, playing his second game since coming back from a
right hamstring strain, had 15 points, seven rebounds and six
assists after getting 24 points and 13 boards in Thursday's 108-93 win against Chicago. The Lakers have won 11 straight against the Thunder-Seattle SuperSonics franchise, and are 9-0 this season when scoring 100 or more points.

Bryant thrilled the sellout crowd late in the first quarter when
he made one of those Larry Bird-type fadeaway 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 have 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.

Bynum, who didn't practice the previous two days after rolling
his right ankle defending against Chicago's Brad Miller, went to
the bench for good in the final minute of the third quarter with
the Lakers ahead 77-56.

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.

NOTES: The Lakers are off to a 10-3 start, compared to 12-1 last
year. The worst 13-game start the franchise ever had in any of its
15 NBA championship seasons was 8-5 in 1984-85. ... The Lakers' next game is Tuesday night when they host the Knicks, the first meeting between the teams since Bryant set a Madison Square Garden record with 61 points on Feb. 2. New York is 3-17 overall at Staples Center, with all of the victories coming against the Lakers. The Knicks are 0-10 there against the Clippers. ... Bryant, who entered his 14th NBA season averaging 34.1 percent from 3-point range, is an uncharacteristic 5 for 28 from behind the arc through his first 13 games. By contrast, teammate Josh Powell is 30 for 65... Durant was the first overall pick in the 2007 draft, James Westbrook the fourth selection in 2008 and Harden the third player tabbed in 2009. Durant and Westbrook are Oklahoma City's top two scorers. ... Harden was coming off back-to-back games of 24 and 25 points, his first two double-digit performances in the NBA, and was 10-for-13 shots from 3-point range during that two-game stretch. But he was 12 for 14 overall against the Lakers and finished with six points.


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