Lakers vs. Thunder: Lakers win in OT
Lakers 101, Thunder 98, Final overtime
They knew this wouldn't be easy, not with the way the fans inside Ford Center support the Oklahoma Thunder.
But the Lakers couldn't have figured it would be this difficult against the young Thunder.
It took the Lakers overtime and then it took the Thunder missing two potential game-tying three-point shots before the Lakers won, 101-98.
Kobe Bryant, who played sick with a sore throat, had 31 points, including two free throws with 18 seconds left for the final margin.
The Thunder had two more opportunities, but Thabo Sefolosha and Russell Westbrook missed three-pointers.
The Lakers escaped despite their rocky and sometimes uninspired play.
The Lakers couldn't get it done in the first four quarters, seeing the score tied at 90-90 to end the fourth
With the scored tied at 90-90 after a Jeff Green basket for the Thunder, Kobe Bryant had the basketball on the wing with Thabo Sefolosha defending. Sefolosha knocked the ball away, forcing Bryant to scramble for the ball before he shot an airball.
The 24-second clock expired, giving the Thunder the ball with 25.9 seconds left.
Kevin Durant, with Ron Artest all over him, shot an airball three-pointer, giving the Lakers another chance with 2.7 seconds left in the fourth.
But Lamar Odom couldn't get the ball in to any teammate. The ball floated away as time expired, ending the game into OT.Thunder 73, Lakers 71, End of third quarter
The Lakers played the third quarter with little emotion, and a result, the Thunder rolled past them and opened a 73-71 lead at the end of the period.
The Lakers didn't play hard and hardly gave their best effort. Instead, the Lakers went up and down the court with a lack of energy.
The young Thunder players took advantage of this lapse by playing hard and with a purpose.
Kevin Durant scored 10 points in the third for the Thunder to lead the way.
Lakers 52, Thunder 51, Halftime
The 13-point lead the Lakers built in the first quarter was wiped out in the second quarter as the Thunder, behind Kevin Durant, even opened a one-point lead.
At this point, the Lakers knew they were in for a game, the 52-51 halftime lead they held letting them know for sure.
Durant had 20 points in the first half, his play seemingly inspiring his teammates.
The Lakers re-opened a nine-point lead later in the second, but they didn't close out the quarter strong.
After former UCLA standout Russell Westbrook missed a free throw, Jeff Green got the offensive rebound. The Thunder didn't score on that possession, but they were out-hustling the Lakers.
After Lamar Odom missed a layup, Kobe Bryant tried for a steal. Instead, he fouled rookie James Harden. It was Bryant's third foul of the half.
Harden made one of two free throws to pull the Thunder to within one point at the half.
Lakers 32, Thunder 25, End of first quarter
We've seen this before, Kobe Bryant playing sick but playing as if nothing were wrong.
Bryant woke up with a fever and missed shoot-around because of it. He had a sore throat, but Bryant played the first quarter Tuesday night against the Thunder as if he were feeling good.
Bryant didn't force the action, staying within the confines of the offense, scoring 12 points in helping the Lakers open a 32-25 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Bryant was three for five from the field and had two assists.
As a team, the Lakers shared the ball well and the players were moving well without it.
It resulted in them handing out eight assists in the first quarter on 12 made field goals.
Before the start of Tuesday night's game against the Thunder in Oklahoma, the Lakers announced that Kobe Bryant would play despite being sick earlier in the day and that Pau Gasol worked out earlier in the day despite a right hamstring injury.
Bryant missed the team's shoot-around early Tuesday because of a fever he came down with overnight. The Lakers said Bryant's fever had been reduced and that he had a sore throat. Bryant was seen in the locker room before the game sitting in a chair looking a little weary, but he was expected to play.
Gasol, who missed his fourth consecutive regular-season game, had a pretty good workout Tuesday, Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said before the game. The Lakers still were waiting on the MRI results from the exam Gasol took Monday. He had gotten a sonogram that showed Gasol could have a slight tear in the hamstring.
The Lakers said the MRI exam is a more sophisticated test than the sonogram.
Gasol has been out for three weeks because of the injury. He has been listed as day-to-day.-- Broderick Turner