Lakers 85, Thunder 100: Undressed By The Best In The West

Feb 23, 2012; Oklahoma City OK, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook (0) brings the ball up court during the first quarter against Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant (24) at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Richard Rowe-US PRESSWIRE

Heading into this week's road back-to-back in Dallas and Oklahoma City, a split was pretty much the best-case scenario for the Lakers, and that's what came to pass. Their grueling win over the Mavericks last night, not to mention fatigue from having to play five games in seven days, left the Lakers in no shape to challenge seriously the top team in the Western Conference, who ran away from them in the second half for a 100 to 85 victory. After taking a four-point lead into the second quarter, the Lakers' offense flatlined and finished the night well below a point per possession. The more energetic Thunder rode a 33-point effort from Kevin Durant and supporting production from Russell Westbrook (19 points, six assists) and James Harden (16 points) past a Laker D that lacked the vivacity to keep up.

At no point in the game did the Lakers string together more than two or three quality offensive trips. Everything was labored and ugly. I don't recall more than a handful of easy looks the entire night. In the face of excellent defense from Harden and Daequan Cook, Kobe Bryant shot just 7 for 24. Andrew Bynum (5 for 15) struggled as badly against Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins and at the end of the first half committed one of the dumber plays you'll see this year in any sport. With 0.8 seconds left and the Thunder having just scored, Bynum lazily inbounded the ball almost directly to Durant, who flipped it into the hoop before the buzzer went off. It didn't lead to the final result or anything but was gratuitously stupid. Pau Gasol (22 points, nine boards, three assists) is the only Laker who wasn't crummy in this one.

The purple and gold now head into the All-Star break with a 20-14 record, tied with Houston for fifth in the West. The players need some rest, and management needs to work the phone lines to see whether roster slots four through 12 can't be improved. Thanks much for following along with the season's first half here at Silver Screen and Roll. Whatever follows the rest of the way I suspect will be rather interesting.

Poss.

TO%

FTA/
FGA

FT%

3FGA/FGA

2PT%

3PT%

EFG

TS%

OReb Rate

DReb Rate

PPP

Lakers

91

13

0.29

91

0.18

41

29

41

48

21

84

0.93

OKC

91

12

0.32

84

0.32

56

28

51

57

16

79

1.10

Follow Dex on Twitter @dexterfishmore.

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