In the voice of the ESPN 30-for-30 narrator "What if I told you that Kevin Durant would have a triple double by the end of the 3rd quarter in a Lakers win?
No, it is not 2016, it is When the Mighty Were Overcome By the Meeks. Narrated: by Jack Nicholson".
Wow, was Jodie Meeks ever hot today, scoring a career high (and season high for a Laker--cut to a sad Nick Young) 42 points on 11-18 shooting, while hitting 6 of 11 threes and going a perfect 14-14 from the free throw line. You cannot say enough about how positive of a force Meeks has been for this Lakers team when in the lineup, as he always hustles and leaves it all out there on the floor, even on defense (which is not his strongest side of the ball). He has gone from an overwhelming disappointment of a signing last year to making possibly many Lakers fans very sad about his (most likely) upcoming departure. With games like this he has undoubtedly demonstrated that he is deserving of some money somewhere.
Moving on to the rest of the Los Angeles squad, Pau Gasol had himself a nice outing with 20 points and 11 boards. His ending with only 3 assists undersells his role in the ball movement, especially in the 3rd quarter during the Lakers 23-2 run when he displayed his quick recognition of double teams to lead to swing passes and open jumpers for teammates. Ryan Kelly made have solidified himself as a piece going into next year with a nice game with 12 points on 50% shooting with 8 (!) assists. Jordan Farmar contributed in his 20 minutes running the show, aggressively creating for himself and others en route to 12 points with three 3-pointers. After a slow start, even Kent Bazemore got in on the action by scoring points in the final 2 minutes to hold off the Thunder's closing run. The performances of those 5 allowed the Lakers to overcome some relatively poor performances from an overstretched Wesley Johnson and Kendall Marshall.
Despite all of those strong performances, the Lakers still needed some help from the opposing squad to claim this victory. LA was able to uncharacteristically win the turnover battle, although only by 1, due to some horrible decisions and forced passes by Russel Westbrook with 8 and Kevin Durant with 5. The Thunder's defense was also a joke for the second (where the Lakers missed quite a few shots) and the third (where they did not) quarters, often sending unnecessary doubles to the post, possibly as a byproduct of overcompensating for the absence of Kendrick Perkins.
Give the Lakers players and coaches some credit. Despite the worst record in the west with nothing to play for other than pride, which did not seem to be an issue on Thursday, Mike D'Antoni has this team playing hard and together as a unit. Games like this show that he deserves another chance next season to see what he and his system can do with a healthier (hopefully) roster of players. Overall, today's contest was probably the most exciting win of the season for this extremely performance swing prone team.
This was one of those games where you have to say f**k the ping pong balls and enjoy triumphing over one of the best teams in the Association.
--Follow this author @hmfaigen