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Lakers see danger in first home game after trip

December 22, 2009 |  7:31 pm

Lakers 111, Thunder 108 (final)

The biggest scare for the Lakers came when Kobe Bryant went down holding his left knee with 5:08 left.

Bryant had just grabbed an offensive rebound when he threw up a shot over his head. When Bryant came down, his knee flexed outward, forcing him to fall on the court.

He had been fouled on the play, but was able to call a timeout.

Lakers trainer Gary Vitti rushed over to help Bryant, who continued to play.

Bryant made both of his free throws, which contributed to his 40 points. He also had eight rebounds and six assists.

Later in the fourth, Bryant was hit in the jaw by a Russell Westbrook elbow. Bryant was called for a foul on the play, his fifth.

The Lakers escaped a game they expected to be tough after Westbrook (21 points, 13 assists, seven rebounds) missed a potential game-tying three-pointer just before time expired.

Lakers 88, Thunder 82 (third quarter)

For the most part, it was a better third quarter for the Lakers -- at least offensively.

They seemed to play with more energy, with a better focus.

It figured to take a while for the Lakers to get their mojo back after returning home from a weeklong trip.

They scored the first six points in the third quarter to get themselves back into the game.


 Thunder 61, Lakers 54 (halftime)

The Lakers trailed by as many as 12 points twice in the second quarter, another sign of how difficult it was for them to get going after returning home from a five-game trip.

It was not until late in the second quarter that the Lakers seemed to find some energy.

They went on an 8-0 run to pull to within 53-49, forcing the Thunder to call a timeout.

The Lakers got themselves back in the groove, but the Thunder held strong the rest of the second.


Thunder 30, Lakers 25 (first quarter)

It was exactly the way Lakers Coach Phil Jackson figured it would be for his team -- a slow first quarter after returning home from a five-game trip.

The Lakers looked a little sluggish in the first quarter, and it showed in how they played.

They shot 34.8% from the field in the first. And they allowed the Thunder to make 52.2% of its shots.

Kobe Bryantled the Lakers with 11 points in the first quarter.


The Lakers just returned home from a successful five-game trip, going 4-1.

They practiced hard Monday in preparation for Tuesday night's game against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Staples Center, a team the Lakers have beaten twice already this season.

The Lakers viewed this as a dangerous game.

Their thinking was that when a team returns home from a trip, that first game is always tough to play.

The Lakers felt that way even though they were facing a 13-13 Thunder team that is one of the youngest in the NBA.

"Yesterday we had practice because the tough game out of a road trip is the first game home," Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said.

Jackson said a team tends to let down its guard some when it gets home.

Jackson said he wants his team to have an idea of what it wants to do, adding that it needs to have a way to get it done and it has to be determined.

-- Broderick Turner