Thunder rally to edge Lakers 77-75 in Game 2 - KB24

By JEFF LATZKE | The Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Down in desperation time, Oklahoma City Thunder coach Scott Brooks called on Kevin Durant to show that he’s more than just a three-time scoring champion. And that meant guarding one of the NBA’s all-time best.

Durant was up to the challenge, keeping Kobe Bryant from excelling as usual in his closer’s role while sparking the Thunder’s rally for a 77-75 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals Wednesday night.

Durant scored 22 points and rattled in the go-ahead basket on a baseline runner with 18 seconds left as Oklahoma City scored the final nine points. He also had a crucial steal from Bryant to fuel the rally.

“People talk about how I score the ball,” said Durant, one of only seven players to lead the NBA in scoring three straight seasons.

“They don’t look at me when we go on the other end. I think this whole playoff run, I’ve been picking it up on the defensive end.”

Oklahoma City trailed by seven with 2 minutes left before surging back with a series of defensive stops by its stars to rally from that deficit in the closing stages of a game for the second time this postseason. The Thunder also were down by seven with 2 1/2 minutes left in Game 1 of the first round against defending NBA champion Dallas.

“They won’t quit. That’s not in their DNA,” Brooks said. “They’re not wired that way and if they were, they wouldn’t be here. We’re not going to win every game, but we’re going to fight to the last second of the game and we did that tonight.

“If we would have gotten down on ourselves with 2 minutes to go, we would have lost by 12 and we would go to L.A. 1-1.”

Instead, Oklahoma City takes a 2-0 lead into Game 3 on Friday night at Staples Center.

Bryant and Andrew Bynum scored 20 points apiece for the Lakers, who came up empty on their last six possessions after Bynum’s hook shot made it 75-68 with 2:09 remaining.

Struggling throughout the second half and missing 20 of their first 27 shots, the Thunder came alive after Brooks called a timeout when Bynum’s basket gave Los Angeles its largest lead of the game.

James Harden drove for a layup before Durant used his height advantage to reach up and tip away a pass from Bryant. He then ran out for a right-handed dunk at the other end.

Brooks had switched Durant onto Bryant with about 5 minutes left, after Bryant had hit a pair of jumpers as the Lakers started to inch away.

“That wasn’t the game plan going in, but there was a moment when I thought Kobe was starting to fill it and I thought Kevin’s length would bother him,” Brooks said.

That’s exactly how it played out – with the 6-foot-9 Durant using his wingspan to come up with an energizing steal and fast-break chance.

Russell Westbrook then forced another turnover by challenging an outlet pass to Bryant along the sideline. Officials originally ruled that it went off Westbrook, but changed the call after seeing on replay that he didn’t touch it and Bryant whiffed on the contested catch.

“What they did the last few minutes there, they just made gambles,” Bryant said. “They just jumped in the passing lanes. It’s something that we’re not accustomed to seeing. It’s just flat-out risks defensively.”

Harden made the next stop, blocking Bryant’s jumper on the Lakers’ next possession and getting a layup in transition off it to cut the deficit to one in the final minute.

Bryant then missed on a 3-pointer and the Thunder got the ball back with the chance to take the lead and Durant was able to make it happen on the offensive end.

“I think Kevin has improved on being a two-way player,” Brooks said. “I think the last three years it’s taken our team to a different level and it takes his game to a different level.”

Steve Blake missed an open 3-pointer from the right side with about 5 seconds left after Metta World Peace couldn’t get the ball to Bryant on the inbounds play.

Bryant, who was the primary option on the play, said Blake’s shot was in the air by the time he turned around to look for an inbounds pass.

“Blake was wide open. We didn’t have any timeouts left and he got a clean look, a really good look,” World Peace said.

“He can knock that down.”

Durant was then fouled with 0.3 seconds left and made his first try before missing the second on purpose – failing to hit the backboard or rim for a violation.

The Lakers got a desperation try, but Harden intercepted World Peace’s long pass for Bynum.
Westbrook added 15 points for Oklahoma City, which matched its lowest scoring total of the season but still gutted out the win. The Thunder had ripped apart the Lakers’ defense with their pick-and-roll attack in Game 1, scoring 119 points in a 29-point blowout.

Pau Gasol had 14 points and 11 rebounds for L.A.

Historically, the loss makes a huge difference. Los Angeles is 29-12 when splitting the first two games of a seven-game series and has lost 17 of 19 when falling into a 2-0 hole. The Lakers’ last comeback was in the 2004 West semifinals against San Antonio.

The Thunder have won all nine of their series after leading 2-0, dating to the franchise’s days in Seattle.

“We’ve got to win,” Bynum said. “It’s do or die come Friday.”

Bryant almost led the Lakers to a big bounce-back victory in this one.

He drilled a jumper from the left wing and Blake followed with a 3-pointer before World Peace hit one of two free throws for a 69-63 advantage with 7:27 remaining. Bryant then answered Serge Ibaka’s jumper before missing his final five shots.

He also had a hand in two turnovers in the final 2 minutes, the first created by Durant’s defense.

“He used his length on Kobe. Coming up with that steal was huge,” Lakers’ coach Mike Brown said. “That’s what great players are supposed to do. They’re supposed to take on the challenge at the end of the game and he did.

“He won the game for them, basically.”

Notes: The NBA fined Devin Ebanks $25,000 on Wednesday for actions related to his Game 1 ejection and Bynum $15,000 for failing to speak to reporters Tuesday. Bynum talked at the Lakers’ morning shootaround Wednesday and called it a make up for skipping the previous day. … Harden caught World Peace with an inadvertent elbow to the face in the first quarter. … After making 10 of 15 shots in Game 1, Westbrook was 5 for 17.

  • Alex_vw85

    That was great defense lakers.. Just sucks to lose a game like that when it was yours to have after all that hard work on defense … Keep ur heads up !! I know you guys will come back at home an make this even series .. Stay together! Team defense was awesome

  • Jamie Rosier24

    as expected they will come back strong

  • jordan9506

    Really expected more by Sessions and  Blake. However, Harden took responsibility for the offence in the 4th quarter, which really cost the game for LA. I do really expect the whole team to get up and show what they do best. We should not underestimate their work in defence though. As Kobe also, said we also have to use picks, which will help not only Kobe to score easily, but the entire team go up in shooting in the perimeter.

  • badazz

    lakers supposed to won thunders arent sorry they just not as good as us keep yall head up and take dis one home

  • Jimmy maglaoy

    i still can trust you kb24. cheer up for the next game

  • Lqnt_sandifer

    I guess I will be the first to say the truth. Kobe completely disrupts the offense. If you have 2 7fts one must use them! They teach that in college. Inside/Outside/Wing/Point. He is a amazing player Yes, BUT he cant carry the load of the team. There is not a player in the NBA that has not figured out his game after 15 yrs. The same thing happened to Jordan when Kobe came. He must use the team he has. He must let Lame Mike Brown coach a weak offense. He has to motivate Bynum and Pau to put up those numbers by constantly feeding them the ball. If they are not showing signs of line THEN Kobe should turn it on;just enough to stay in the game and preserve energy for the end. Sorry they will lose this series. Fact Kobe has only been MVP once in 15 yrs? Hummmmm

  • 9462645024

                                                                                           Wake up, the Lakers
           Every time I see you fail in the game, my mood is very bad. You still the old king?
           Have a look your attitude: always think victory is belong to the oneself, rivals are weaker than oneself. But in the end? You get is one failure after another. Foolish pride make you lose yourself, just like money and beauty as the person still lost originally powerful fighting force and concentration.
           Have a look your defense in games of: weak and feeble, not tough enough, distracted, no substantive defense. The performance of the main problems in several ways, in the rebounding when, always see your team-mates there fell in basketball; opponents break layup is always watching his teammates break, to help defend consciousness is weak, not positive enough tough opponent so swollen with arrogance, full.
           To have a look your attack: too monotonous, too weak, no damage, the ball movement was slow and no tactics. If you can have a good internal and external wire binding, rise in the round of offensive success rate, then it will lower the opponent’s success rate, because they will focus more on defense, however the fact is just the opposite. Cut out, big man, baseline are good ways to attack, why must one on one to gamble type attack? Too casual, blind faith, no harm, so you won’t be a trend which cannot be halted, more like a paper tiger, with the rival show, creating the opponent a stepping stone to success.
            Wake up, the lakers! We are not willing to see 4- 0, we hope that the Lakers will win the championship, but only a paper tiger, to be successful, you must make a tiger, a tiger only bloody.

  • Alex_vw85

    I couldn’t sleep last night .. But when I did I had a dream .. Lakers won 90-88 .. I dunno if that game was the close out game or
    Just one game .. We will see :)

  • KOBELUV8_24

    It ain’t over!!!! Lets go LAKERS!!! WE GOT THIS!!!!

  • Bc2nite2002

    kb24 i blame you for loosing game 2. Big mistake, turnovers and poor decision on your part. The game was in your hand, 2.8 minutes with a 7 point leads. That goes down as one of kb24 worst game of his career!

    • Violin

      ur…

  • http://twitter.com/PlutoZzl Joyce Momoko 鄭

    Good luck my Kobe!!! 

  • Violin

    heyman!it will be past!!

  • jordan9506

    Really expected more by Sessions and  Blake. However, Harden took
    responsibility for the offence in the 4th quarter, which really cost the
    game for LA. I do really expect the whole team to get up and show what
    they do best. We should not underestimate their work in defence though.
    As Kobe also, said we also have to use picks, which will help not only
    Kobe to score easily, but the entire team go up in shooting in the
    perimeter.

  • Suzy2410

    Playoff game is not a regular game, where you are allowed to make mistakes, the player’s mind should be totally focused, till the last second of the game. It is frustrating to be in control of the game, than to loose it last 2 minute,  till you reach the finish line and win than you are in  control.
    I know Kobe’s mind already set. For the lakers to Win that Series, they have to give it all their energy, and  be fully motivated, and wanted very very  very bad. They can do it, if they are mentally and physically prepared and see themselves in the final.

  • True100tx

    Steve Blake keep that confidence. Kobe 24 keep the team mentally prepared and this series will go to 6.

  • Liltone

    Do you know who u r u KOBE BRYANT… play like you know you can and i know u can ur my favorite player and the best in the game so act like it……

  • http://www.facebook.com/domingo.miguel.3 Domingo Miguel

    lakers!

  • nikita johnson

    as usual I have the Lakers back I pray and feel you guys get the needed focus to achieve the goal a goal to win this series never will I give up on ya and please never lose sight of the prize !!! I can truly say at the officials refereed a semi-fair game so the next one is a lakers win especially if the referees play fair go lakers and kobe put your mamba fierce face on and inspire your boys to follow suit good luck a nd god bless!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001031371222 Lora Saname

    Poor Kobe, I remember Magic missing free throws in Boston Lakers lost in the finals Magic came back next season on a mission and won the Championship. Isaiah Thomas turned the ball over, Boston’s Gerald Henderson headed to the other end of the court Boston won the Championship. Isaiah and Pistons came back following season won the Championship. Kobe did not LOSE the Championship, but some idiots want to blame him for game 2. Bottom line Kobe stays on a mission he will not make mistakes in the future. Game 2 did NOT kill the Lakers but the loss made them stronger… Lakers in 6 will keep saying it until Lakers win the series…Period

  • Robin

    不能接受失败,就不配拥有成功。

  • Arellano_sjn24

    go l.a. you can beat the thunder and you will be the chomp
     

  • Arellano_sjn24

    you can get your 6Th ring
     

  • Kobegirl

    Tthunders made a hard fight against my team. And the advantage is– it was their home court.. Just wait for the revenge– home court victory for game 3… I told you !!!! — goodluck lakers… Take care my kobe!! I bleed

  • Hacha5

     Good game Kobe

  • Suzy2410

    Great teams lose sometimes  for mistakes they can avoid, one thing they  can’t loose their faith, their confidence, their passion, knows how to explode when  time is not on their side, they got the experience, the knowledge, what it takes to win , they know what triggers their opponent to make them pay . Lakers can be as explosive as the thunder. fight hard constantly for the ball, especially at the paint, Defense is always the key,block their shots, don’t let them get their second chance at the paint. Every laker has to score, no hesitation.  Efficiency, and focus are crucial at the end of the game, make every possession count. Play Physical just like the thunder are.

    Go Lakers Be In Charge !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! , it  will be a Huge Win 

  • Suzy2410

    Following up the game on the internet,I was happy seeing the lakers up,last 2 minutes, thunder took 2 points leads, than 2 turnovers gave them  a bigger lead, Lakers lost control of the game, their shots weren’t falling.  this is the second game in this series, the thunder are having  good finish, because of turnovers, they wanted more  bad.  I just feel frustrated.
     I will always Be Kobe Bryant Fan.
     

  • William Nization

    Lakers should forfeit game 5 and let OKC have their needed rest to compete with the Spurs.  No use wasting our time trying to comeback from 3-1 deficit.

    • Suzy2410

      A great basketball player and a team like the lakers, are going to fight not to be eliminatd, try to extend the series,especially Kobe his passion for basketball and winning don’t have limits.  San Antonio are going to beat The thunder, they are playing with strong determination, they have an outstanding coach, Gregg Popovich, he is one of the coaches after Phil jackson that I admire.

  • Suzy2410

    I was watching Yesterday  the 2010 NBA Champions Lakers DVD, last final  game, last minute, Pau was in the same position as he was against the thunder, and he made it, the difference the Lakers were up by 4 points, he was so ecstatic, he screams so loud. I miss that Pau. I quote he says” When you fight battles against tough opponents you get stronger and stronger”.
     I watch this morning 2009 NBA Champions Lakers DVD,  I got emotional, listening to Phil Jackson directing ,the bond  that he creates with the players solid, bring confidence and intelligence in them, he connects the Dots right always. Fisher was the player to energize, and deliver at crucial times in playoff games, I miss his presence. Watching the joy of winning the Championship  on th lakers faces amazing, especially Kobe Bryant So Happy.
    Lakers were down 3 to 2 to the Celtics, Elimination game Celtics didn’t have an answer for the Lakers, Lakers survived, and fought for the ball every possession and they end up winning the Championship.
    Some quotes from Phil Jackson coaching caught my attention: “Push the ball to the top”, “you are working too hard, play right, the ball got to move”
    Tonight is Elimination Game for the Lakers, Can they make History and come back ,it is their Decision, and how the play the game.
    I will always be a Lakers Fan, and I believe that Kobe will get his 6’Th ring.
     
    Go Lakers!!!!!!!!!Go Kobe!!!!Go Pau!!!!Go Artest!!!Go Bynum!!!!.
     

  • C gransberry

    Man yall better then how yall playing

  • Jahsire05

    kobe still the BEST fuck the THUNDER

  • 小桃子~

    Dear kobe, I kown you have tried your best and you are so excellent, l will support you forever… l really hope someday l can go to L.A. and l am able to see you face to face. ——An Chinese gril

  • Bc2nite2002

    kb24 suck my left nuts!! You and your teammate should go home and jackoff. What a terrible season for the team! I was a big fan of kb24 but i lost the passion for kb24.

  • Suzy2410

     Win Or loose,, I enjoyed watching the game, Kobe had a great game,love his passion,admire him as a person as a player,always motivated, in a challenging spirit, He is a role model  to young  players. and to his fans.  he will always be special to my heart, I wish him good health, whatever his heart desires will come True.  He will get his 6′th ring. 

  • Suzy2410

    Patience, Dedication, commitment, hard work, wins, losses, strong will, and more are keys to follow your passion and let it grow.
    Kobe Bryant didn’t loose his passion. All athletes that got medals and teams that won championship, they have been on this road before they lost before they won big, you shouldn’t loose your passion, have faith in yourself

  • sima

    The Black Mamba will be back.  In fact, he never left.  LA loves Kobe and the Lakers and we believe in them.  See you next year.

  • http://twitter.com/saifhamid Saif

    Does these guys see what I see? Kobe played practically the whole game covering all these youngsters and dropped 40 and still had energy to spare. The coach needs to create easier shots for Kobe and the bench and bigs need wakeup. You know what Kobe is going to do so find a roll on the team and fill it. 

    • Suzy2410

      If the organization wants  to win a Championship , they have to get much productive bench that can be depended on, and have players that hit three points,and put pressure on the bigs, I feel that Bynum is still as a player ,as his game going , still maturing. Definetely Kobe can’t do it alone, it hurts not to see the gold and purple in the final,especially Kobe.  I agree with you.

  • Ortiz Angel52

    kobe and howard = ring 2013

  • Suzy2410

    Intituition,passion, creativity, intensity, triggers a mind player  ,intrigue him, to find his comfort zone and produce,not to be passive. A player with lots of potential shouldn’t limit his mind and be systematic in his game,he won’t enjoy playing the game,he will loose his energy and his focus. He is missing out.  It is relatively essential and known to succeed that it has to be a combination of technicality and passion, give it always from your heart, and don’t leave anything out.
    After listening to some Exit interviews, I just sense something is important to say  ,and want to share.

  • Dennistyrone

    this is crazy the lakers got to trade bynum or gasol or even sessions… The lakers should look to trade gasol and sessions for cp3 and blake griffin.

  • Suzy2410

    Congratulations to Kobe Bryant named on  the first team on All star, and for Bynum on making the second team on All star. They are both Stars and deserve it. I believe more accomplishments are coming in Kobe Bryant’s future, the most important one, is a Championship, that all his fans are awaiting for, and Kobe will make it Happens. Best of Health always, your goal will come true.

  • OLLISONTEOSHA

    kobe you are the BEST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11 SO ACT LIKE IT

  • Felderse1

    Lakers got work to do if they want to get back to championship level.Time to go after Dwight Howard.

  • Sebastianwiggins3

    KOBE you will be back with a vengance. It’s the revenge of the fallen 24 Kobe Bryant for Ring #6,7, or/and 8th Ring

  • Suzy2410

    San Antonio were not prepared for Oklahoma Thunder, that is unlike them, they were Stumbled.  But I remember How Kobe was able to score almost hafl of the points on their last game with Oklahoma, 42 points, that was very impressive. Next Year, Hopefully the Lakers will be in final, and  the Organization will  build more on Defense than Offense, and find Quality Players that can defend.
     I believe Referees can Control the game one way or the other.

  • tomtom2424

    ello

  • http://tl28.com/ thomaslachance

    ello

  • TLACHANCE20

    HELLO

  • tim

    kobe is a beast ya i said it

  • bballer

    laker played great defence and had good looks but counlt could hit when they needed to

  • Gilbert_boy14@hotmail.com

    Hi I won’t to be a nba just like you

  • Gilbert_boy14@hotmail.com

    Hi koby I am a biggest fen in the world

  • Jayvee_baloloy

    kobe may give me shoes plsssssssssss for the final’s kid’s

  • Sajeran24

    I hope Kobe Bryant and the Lakers win next year, Kobe is still by far the best basketball player in the world, GO KOBE!!!!!!

  • ZERO15

    That was also a great series for the LA… but like what we saw, either KOBE was dominating in the game series with the thunder, its seems like his team mates are not with him into that games…. BUT ITS ONLY A TOUGH CHALLENGE INTO ALL OF YOU GUYS, and i will hope that next season will be “HUNTING FOR SIXTH for KOBE” and i know that he can do a much better job net season….
    GO KOBE…
    GO LAKERS….

  • Willie_glvr

    KOBE BRYANT IS GOD