The Los Angeles Lakers took down the Oklahoma City Thunder at Staples Center on Sunday afternoon, 105-96. It was a huge victory for L.A. and one it sorely needed.
Kobe Bryant and Russell Westbrook each finished one rebound shy of a triple-double, though the latter could barely hit the broadside of a barn. Kevin Durant had 35 points, but did not shoot efficiently either. Pau Gasol played big minutes off the bench and was in vintage form.
Metta World Peace had a double-double, and the Lakers ultimately outplayed the Thunder on the afternoon for a crucial W.
The Thunder came into the game at 34-10, the best record in the NBA by winning percentage (but half a game behind the 36-11 San Antonio Spurs). OKC had also played stellar basketball away from Chesapeake Energy Arena, posting a 15-7 record.
By contrast, Los Angeles been reeling since, well, all season long, actually. Following the offseason megadeals that netted them Dwight Howard and Steve Nash, the Lakers have been unable to find their groove.
They were 18-25 entering Sunday's game, tied with two other clubs for ninth place in the West and a shocking 16 games out of first. After this win, they can draw some confidence from beating the mighty Thunder, and they will try to continue playing effective small ball.