Thunder rally to avoid Lakers upset

Kevin Durant scored 43 points as the Oklahoma City Thunder avoided an unlikely defeat to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Last updated: 14 Feb 2014 10:52
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Kevin Durant was in superb form for the Thunder scoring 19 of his 43 points in the fourth quarter [AFP]

For three quarters, the Los Angeles Lakers tempted the sellout crowd at Staples Center into believing they would pull off one of the most improbable upsets of the NBA season.

Then Kevin Durant took over and the Lakers got sloppy with the ball, turning it into just another loss in a season full of them.

Durant scored 19 of his 43 points in the fourth quarter as the Oklahoma City Thunder sent the Lakers to a record-setting seventh straight home loss with a 107-103 victory.

"The easy thing to do is look at it like we didn't have the proper focus. But I'm not going to go there, because when you play against an NBA team that's prideful like the Lakers, they're going to have a good game" Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks said.

The Thunder have a 1½-game lead on Indiana for the NBA's best record and their 43-12 mark equals the best start in the franchise's 47-year history, set by the 1995-96 Seattle Supersonics.

Bulls maintain record

In the only other game, the Chicago Bulls won their third straight at the expense of the Brooklyn Nets, 92-76.

Taj Gibson scored 16 points and Carlos Boozer returned from an injury to add 15. The Bulls moved two games above a .500 record at 27-25 for the first time since they were 6-4 on 21st November 2013 They have won four of five.

"We're happy, but we're not satisfied. We're hungry" said Joakim Noah, who had 14 points and 13 rebounds for his fifth straight double-double. 

The Thunder trailed by as many as 15 points late in the third quarter while Durant missed his first eight attempts from 3-point range.

But Durant's first 3-pointer of the game cut the Lakers' lead to 85-77 in the opening minute of the fourth, triggering a 15-2 run that enabled Oklahoma City to pull ahead 92-87 with 5:46 to play.

Chris Kaman and Wesley Johnson scored 19 points apiece for Los Angeles, and Kendall Marshall added 14 points and 17 assists.

The Lakers have lost 22 of their last 27 games and are tied with Sacramento for last place in the Western Conference.



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