Kobe Bryant dropped 40 points to Kevin Durant’s 30 as the Los Angeles Lakers battled past the Oklahoma City Thunder 111-108 yesterday at STAPLES Center. The Thunder were in control through the first half with a seven-point lead before LA outshined them in the third quarter to earn their 16th victory in 17 games.
Following their long string of away matchups, the beat up Lakers still managed to come out on top. “They were sharper than we were, and we just had to work really hard,” said Pau Gasol. “You come in tired from the road, and the time difference has a little impact. I’m not sure why, but it does happen. Luckily, we were able to get past it.” Bryant was able to add to his 40 with eight boards and six assists. Gasol and Derek Fisher each contributed with 15 apiece as Lamar Odom came off the bench to score 12.
The young Durant was proud of his developing squad for competing with the defending NBA champions. “I know we don’t like to take moral victories, but tonight we showed a lot of toughness and a lot of maturity,” said Durant. “Even though it was a tough loss, we were right there at the end and could have won it.” Oklahoma will continue on to Phoenix to face the Suns tonight while the 23-4 Lakers prepare to host the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday.