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Thunder Storm Past Lakers 104-103

Another competitive game, another late loss for the Lakers

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Despite a strong showing against an ailing powerhouse Thunder squad, the Los Angeles Lakers were again  unable to make enough plays at the end to win a close game.

The price was right in the first quarter, as Lakers "defensive-specialist' point guard Ronnie Price played by far his best game of the season, even if one only gave him credit for the 1st quarter. Price hit 4-6 threes to contribute to his 14 points in the frame. His previous career high was 18. Unfortunately for LA, Price would not score again the rest of the game. The Thunder shot 27.3% on threes in the first half, which, combined with Price's first quarter outburst, allowed Los Angeles to stay competitive, but bumped up to 38.1% by the end of the game to help themselves win the contest.

A close contest all game, tempers appeared to get heated early in the fourth, and Nick Young (10 points, 4-8 from the field with two three pointers) was ejected not a minute into the frame for a forearm shiver to the throat of Steven Adams as he struggled to fight through Adams' screen. Undeterred, the Lakers continued to stay close, partially behind a 13-2 run led by Jeremy Lin after the potentially galvanizing act of Young's ejection.

However, despite the teams' best efforts, a win was not in the cards. A loose ball foul on Boozer with one minute left let OKC take a 102-101 lead on Reggie Jackson's two ensuing free throws, adding to his 25 points off the bench to help cover for the absence of the Thunder's franchise player, Kevin Durant. A pull up jumper by Westbrook on the next possession extended the Thunder's lead to three. Jeremy Lin (12 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 assists in a very complete outing off of the bench) came right back and knocked down a pull-up jumper to cut the lead to one, but after getting the stop, Kobe was unable to convert a potential game winning jumper on his rough night from the field (9 points on an ugly 3-15 shooting line).

Ultimately, this game came down to the fact that the Lakers could not keep Russell Westbrook off the free throw line, sending him to the stripe to convert 13-13 freebies to score 31 points on 22 shots. It was a shame to let Price's fireballing in the first quarter and Ed Davis' season high 18 points on 8-10 shooting go to waste when the Lakers have sorely needed offensive production out of starters not named Kobe Bryant, but the team will have to move on and try again against the Kings on Sunday.