Which is what the Lakers do: they’ve won 56 of 70 games, which is a hearty .800 percentage. They jumped on the Thunder early, taking a 37-20 lead after the first quarter, and it was never very close after that, though Oklahoma City did manage to keep Kobe Bryant under 20 points barely. The final: 107-89.
Bryant finished with only 19, but he did work some serious defensive moves, scoring two blocks and four steals. (L.A. had 10 steals in all.) Six Lakers scored in double figures, and Pau Gasol got the game’s only double-double: 14 points, 14 boards. Los Angeles shot 50 percent and missed only one of 17 free throws.
OKC also had six in double figures, but they were all 10, 11 or 12 except for Kevin Durant, who collected 24 despite missing six of six from beyond the arc. The Thunder won the rebound battle, 45-41, but gave up 18 turnovers, five more than the Lakers.
So the Thunder may finish the year 0-7 against teams from Los Angeles: they lost three to the Lakers and three so far to the Clippers. (The Clippers have won only 17 games this year, three fewer than the Thunder but clearly they had OKC’s number from the get-go.) And let’s not get too enthused about shutting Kobe down: he only played half an hour, and sat for the entire fourth quarter. When you have a bench like the Lakers do, you can do that sort of thing.
And now, off to the Great White North, where the Raptors await.