The Oklahoma City Thunder (34-11) had won nine of their previous 11 meetings with the Los Angeles Lakers before Sunday afternoon’s game inside of Staples Center on Sunday afternoon.
Playing with a better defensive effort and positive energy, the Lakers were competitive throughout today’s contest, pulling away in the fourth quarter for a 105-96 victory.
Led by their leader Kobe Bryant, who chipped in 21 points and 14 assists, the Lakers improved their record to 19-25 as they desperately claw for a playoff spot before the end of the season.
At the end of the game, Bryant could be seen being congratulated by music mogul Jay-Z, as pictured above.
Bryant has taken on the role of a facilitator in his last two games as opposed to looking to score and this approach has served the Lakers well.
The Thunder were led by Kevin Durant’s 35 points but it was too little, too late. Point guard Russell Westbrook had typically torched the Lakers, averaging nearly 27 points against them in recent games, yet he was held to just 17 points on this day.
Still four games away from the eighth playoff seed in the Western Conference, the Lakers have a favorable schedule ahead of them, as they face New Orleans at home on Tuesday, while also meeting the Phoenix Suns and Minnesota Timberwolves later in the week.
The team that was full of so much promise at the beginning of the season very well could be making their playoff push as we speak.
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