How much more loud could Loud City be? And the answer is none. None more loud. And they had plenty of reasons to make noise: it was the first playoff game ever in the Big Breezy, and the Thunder, down a dozen at times, won it 101-96.
What, other than the hometown crowd, was different? Two things: OKC remembered how to rebound (53-39 over the Lakers), and Kevin Durant, some time in the third quarter, recovered some of his mojo, finishing with 29 points and 19 boards. But one thing didn’t change: L.A. can’t do a thing with Russell Westbrook, who had 27 points, eight rebounds, four assists and only two turnovers. And with James Harden back in form, the Thunder shot better from beyond the arc (8-19, 42.1 percent) than from within (33-80, 41.2 percent).
Kobe, being Kobe, got his 24 points. The Thunder made him work for it, though: 10 of 29 from the floor, and no free throws. The Lakers, in fact, took only 12 freebies all night, making ten. (The Thunder hit 27 of 34.) All five Laker starters came up with double figures, and Pau Gasol added 15 rebounds. L.A. peppered the air with the long ball, but only ten of 31 tries connected. (Derek Fisher was four-for-five; no one else came close.)
So there will be a Game 5, which will be in the Staples Center. The first order of business, though, is to win Game 4, which would insure a Game 6 right back here in Loud City. Which might even be louder.