Thunder down Lakers 119-90 in Game 1 - KB24

By Jeff Latzke | The Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) For the second time in less than a week, Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers must figure out how to fight back after a humbling loss.

Bryant responded the first time by calling out his teammates for lackluster effort.

It might not be so simple this time.

Russell Westbrook had 27 points and nine assists, Kevin Durant added 25 points and the Oklahoma City Thunder blasted the weary Lakers 119-90 Monday night in the opening game of the Western Conference semifinals.

This blowout came four days after Bryant’s Lakers trailed by as many as 28 in a loss at Denver, then bounced back to win Game 7. They’ll need to find some answers before Game 2 in Oklahoma City on Wednesday night.

“I’ve seen both sides of that equation and my experience has taught me just to be patient and to think the game through,” said Bryant, who tied Andrew Bynum for the team lead with 20 points.

“We can come up with a different strategy and we can do a much better job and have a much better showing in the next game.”

The Thunder took a 15-point halftime lead, opened the third quarter with a 15-2 blitz filled with crowd-pleasing 3-pointers and dunks, and never looked back. The final margin ended up being the fourth-largest in the history of the Oklahoma City franchise, including its years in Seattle.

It matched the 12th-largest defeat in Lakers postseason history, and the sixth worst of Bryant’s career. Three of those losses came in close-out games when L.A. was done for the series. Once was the start of a four-game sweep. The other two times, the Lakers came back to win the next game – both during their run to the 2000 NBA title.

“We got beat tonight. You can say anything you want to about a seven-game series and us having a day or whatever,” Los Angeles coach Mike Brown said. “The bottom line is this is the playoffs, we’ve got to come to play and we didn’t. We got beat.

“It’s one game, so we’ve got to bounce back for the next one.”

The Thunder didn’t need any dirty tactics to get even for Metta World Peace’s suspension-worthy elbow that gave Oklahoma City’s James Harden a concussion with a week left in the regular season.
The league’s most turnover-prone team – committing 16.4 per game in the regular season – gave it away only four times, a record low for the franchise.

“I think that’s huge,” coach Scott Brooks said. “Four – we’ve had that the first 6 minutes of games at times.”

While the Lakers were making a quick turnaround less than 48 hours after ending the first round, the Thunder had eight full days off following their first-round sweep of defending NBA champion Dallas.

That gave starting center Kendrick Perkins time – but apparently not enough – to rest a strained muscle in his right hip after he hurt it in the final game of the Dallas series. He limped out of the game after dunking just after halftime and did not return – although coach Scott Brooks said he could have. He will be re-evaluated Tuesday.

The possibility of rust had been a concern for Brooks, and he fought it by alternating light days with demanding, training-camp style practices.

“There’s no question we have a team full of gym rats. They want to play basketball,” Brooks said. “That’s all they want to do: They want to play basketball. They’re basketball players. They probably don’t have much of a life off the court.”

All that pent-up energy came flowing out just after halftime, in highlight-reel fashion.

Durant lobbed the ball to Westbrook for a two-handed slam, then connected on a 3-pointer from the left wing to draw a timeout from Brown.
That still didn’t slow Oklahoma City, which got what could have been a costly two-handed dunk from Perkins on its next trip and then another 3 from Durant before Thabo Sefolosha swiped the ball from Bryant and ran out for a layup that made it 74-46 with 8:39 left in the period.

“From then on, it was cruising for us,” said Westbrook, who had nine assists against one turnover.

Both coaches started going to their benches with 8 1/2 minutes left, and Los Angeles reserve Devin Ebanks ended up getting ejected with 2:18 to play after walking up to a scrum for the ball after the whistle. Official Greg Willard said at the scorer’s table that he was ejected for “what he said” in drawing a technical foul.

“Obviously, they’re more well-rested than we are, but I don’t think it made that much of a difference for us,” Bryant said.

“We could have had the same amount of days off. They’re just younger and faster. And tonight, what you saw is them executing extremely well.”

The buildup to the game focused largely on it being the first meeting between the teams since World Peace got a seven-game suspension for elbowing Harden. He returned just in time to help L.A. win Game 7 against Denver.

A sold-out crowd at Chesapeake Energy Arena wasn’t happy to see him back, although World Peace – who changed his name from Ron Artest – was hardly fazed by the chorus of boos that greeted him during pregame introductions or again whenever the ball came his way.
World Peace knocked down a 3-pointer from the top of the key amid boos the first time he touched the ball, set up a two-handed jam by Bynum and drilled another 3 within the first 2 1/2 minutes.

The boos continued throughout the game whenever he got the ball.

“Right now, it’s about basketball,” World Peace said. “After the season we can talk about that but right now it’s more about basketball.”

Notes: Bryant tied former teammate Shaquille O’Neal for the third-most playoff games in NBA history with 216. … Perkins was called for a lane violation in the first quarter after arguing with Willard about a call and then walking up to his spot along the lane while Bynum was shooting. Bynum made both foul shots when awarded the extra chance. … Toby Keith’s daughter, Krystal, sang the national anthem.

  • jordan9506

     Looking forward to the Lakers show. We are all expecting a huge win in Game 2 of the western conference semi-finals.

  • Alex_vw85

    Kobe you need to show that fear to your opponents again! start attacking and everyone else will be there for the tip in… lakers go as you go kobe,,, start drving the ball and get to the line… dont rely on bynum and gasol to get the lakers going not this series thunder to fast with there hands

    • Jonathanprince2011

      Soo true

  • http://twitter.com/KB_MV_247 Richard De La O

    #LAKERNATIONWILLPREVAIL

  • Mylespaopao

    Kobe, you& Co. got this. i agree Pau & Andrew need to help you out. Your called the BLACK MAMBA for a reason,GO LAKERS!!!

  • Ernesto

    Kobe You need to Play one on one not not all on westbrook you can gard him your self. GO LAKERS!!!!!!!

  • Ernesto

    Kobe, You need to apply the Kobesistem attack fast& attack strong.  

  • william_nization

    Kobe’s shelfishness caused the game.   Forcing shots after shots and still won’t go in not only frustrates his fan but his team mates as well.  When said and done, Lakers are trailing 20+ points.   Mentally his team mates gave up at this point.  “GREAT” player should abe to adjust to the situation by becoming a “PENTRATOR” and gets the opponent in foul trouble then in turn gets to the foul line for easy 2 free throws or become a “PLAYMAKER” by dishing or lobbing to his team mates for easy scoring opportunity like the Jeremy LIn aka “LINSANITY”.  Kobe has potential to be a great player if he play both ends, meaning defending his opponent also.   Jordan plays both ends and he is the best player NBA ever had!  Don’t give excuses like they are younger and we are old.  Then you might as well quit or get better prepare for the consequences!

  • JARED MURRAY

    Lakers can’t give up we WILL OVERCOME. 

    P.S. PLAY D-FENSE

  • JUSTISSBROWN61

    Kobe you need to win this series everybody saying sefelosha shut you down and i told them there is no shutting down kobe bean bryant GET THAT 6TH RING

  • jordan9506

    We do really expect a big game tonight. OKC really dominating the whole game. What I want to see is the Lakers show what they can really do with their alley-oops and shots in the perimeter. This is one of the keys to success. R.Sessions really can do more for his team. St.Blake should be left alone in the end of the quarters when all Bynum and Kobe will be pressured hard.

  • Gbgana

    All we need from you is the fire you brought out in 08. Set the Pace and control the flow of the game from start to end. We need to see that Mamba- assassin face once you hit those shots!!!

  • nikita johnson

    okay here we go! I went to Lakers official website and listen in on Kobe’s comments about game 2 ,tonight ,Oklahoma. Here is my comments : you want so badly to see your team the Lakers , crush  their opposition ,yet there is always a fight to overcome, whether it be people who simply do not like the Lakers, I mean they just  hate our guts , or they like us, but do not have any loyalty, meaning they give up before the glory.I’d say to those who want this Lakers team to thrive and push forward to the finals to never give up hope do not be so quick to assume the worst when in this game anything and everything is possible even the referees officiating a fair and sound game would be ideal and to remember the champs have only one thing standing in  their way, themselves! I for one do not like to place blame on other entities, other than  oneself ,  for failures yet watching game one ,was like watching paid saboteurs clearly helping the thunder win . and I feel if you have to help such a young, vibrant, team of young boys, win against the champs like the Lakers, than you either know there is doubt in them putting us out or you just like cheating! or is it, because you can dictate the outcome of pivotal games and you do not like the LA Lakers?what ever the issue, time will tell and guess what I say the Lakers will weather this storm and any storm for that matter that comes their way!

  • nikita johnson

    oh Kobe one more question I want to know when will the community section of KB24 become available to your loyal members? I for one, am missing commenting on anything in “Kobeworld” and hope it will be real soon good luck and God bless you Kobe and your beautiful family yes that includes Vanessa and God bless on your trials and tribulations in the game and the series and your personal endeavors as well!

  • Jonathanprince2011

    Kobe I think u should get more picks and go straight to the basket and your team has to work really hard on defiense in order to stop OCK

  • Renoldphilippe

    Kobe we need that aggessivness from the tip

  • Suzy2410

    Lakers have to focus, and create momentum for themselves  on the court. Every team player shoudln’t  be  satisfied because he did what he can do,he should show  improvemenst, change his game,  and do what it takes to be  an efficient teamplayer.He should dig in, if he is passinoate about the game of basketball, he will be hungry for the win.  A win is always a collective effort on a team. 

  • Robin

    what a pity!

  • Robin

    hold you

  • Kim Mathenge

     That last finish just now was horse  s***………  .they always be turning the ball over @ critual times.

  • Kim Mathenge

    every single one of them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Triptothetip Jordan Miller

    Kobe I love you man but really you must attack with the ball toward the hoop, you so easily can get ahead of your defender for a floater or a dish but you fall into the old habit of the fall away J. Its getting too predictable and Sefalosha will shut you down this series if you can’t mix it up. 0-6 from three is just not offence, you may as well just hand them the ball.

  • Branislav_player

    I am huge Laker fan from Melbourne.I was very dissapointed lakers blew game 2 being up by 7 with lil over 2 min left.That being said i am sick and tired of watching james harden get to the rim whenever he wants to either finishing with layups or setting someone up.Here is how you defend him:harden goes to the rim or shoots set shots meaning he has no midrange game,i have never seen him do one or two dribble pull up jump shot:on the pick n roll with harden you do not show hard you let him turn the corner n retreat enticing him to pull up for a jump shot stay with shooters he can pass the damn ball you live with the results of him shooting it midrange.Pick n roll with Westbrook you help off of the shooters simply because his floor vision isnt as great as hardens and because he mostly looks for his own shot, if he starts hittng liken he did in game 1 you double him soon as he catches it not everytime just occasionaly to give him diffrent looks just to try to throw him off.Durant with that length on his jump shots when you put a hand up itz like you are not even there so force him right or double him do something before he gets in rythm coz if he does you will have long night.I say force him right coz he shoots better going left then he does going right.   

  • Laker4life1

     Hands over throat Kobe ….and I am one of your biggest fans dude. Thabo and Durant are making you look very vulnerable and kind of old to be honest. Game 3, you have to be more aggressive and lay off the jumpshots….legs are just not there at the moment.

  • Jongi_boy

    Go bring back the title to LA. I believe that you can carry again the Lakers to the promise land…Go kobe, the Black Mamba, the Ultimate Closer….

  • Kobegirl

    …… Well, just wait and see…. Lakers on top !!! — the champion belongs to my lakers… Ignore the “boos” arounds you guys.. Still lakers on top when it comes to million of fans around the world.. So the “boos” you got , its only a (.) dot.

  • miguel

    Man kobe bra dont worry about it you steal good bra believe that

  • ben

    Kobe I don’t get what else your team needs other than a suberstar that get 40 points most of the time but great game Kobe wish u luck next year

  • Daiquarrius

    It don’t matter because in my eye Kobe is still the best ever.

  • Daviddude77

    you suk balls