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Lakers Grind Out Win Against Thunder, Bench Players Step Up In Double Overtime

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Raise 'em up!
Raise 'em up!

This season truly is one to remember.

Yesterday afternoon, the Lakers came back from an 18-point hole to defeat the Thunder in double overtime as Jordan Hill and Devin Ebanks, with the help of Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 114-106.

The Lakers' rally began in the fourth quarter, as they came alive after great hustle on both ends of the floor from Jordan Hill. He was playing so well that Mike Brown stuck with him and the same lineup the entire 4th and both OT periods. In fact, Mike Brown had so much foresight that he called Hill at 2am just to let him know, via NBA.com:

On my ride back from the airport after our loss to San Antonio I just had a gut feel. I picked up the phone and called Jordan Hill at 2 in the morning and I said ‘Jordan, you ready to play?’ ‘Coach, whatever you need.’ I said, ‘Okay, I’m thinking about throwing you out on the floor in this next game so there are things I need from you – I’m not sure if I’m going to do it, but if I throw you out there I want to see some athleticism, I want to see you sprinting to pick and rolls, I want to see you playing and defending pick and rolls right and blocking shots and patrolling that paint.’ He said, ‘Yes sir, I’ll do it.

For as much criticism as Mike Brown has received, kudos to him for sticking with the hot hands and the players who got us out of the deficit. Other notables were Steve Blake, who played another strong game and contributed a couple of crucial three-pointers to keep the Lakers close, and Pau Gasol who had a very low-key line of 20-14-9.

Here is what Kobe Bryant had to say about the importance of this win:

It was good to have one like that. We really hadn’t had a deficit that we overcame successfully throughout the course of the season against a good team. In playoff basketball, you’re going to see a lot of that, especially on the road when a crowd gets behind a team and all of a sudden, you find yourself down 15 or 17 points just off momentum. So you’ll have to keep chipping away and find the poise to get back in the game

Unfortunately, it wasn't all fun and games. Oklahoma City came out strong to start the 2nd half as they rallied in response to the irresponsible and downright dangerous elbow Metta World Peace decided to launch at Harden's head. Thoughts go out to James Harden, hoping he makes a sound recovery and can make it back in time for OKC's playoff run.