Oklahoma City Thunder Edged by Los Angeles Lakers, 101-98

Greg EvansCorrespondent INovember 3, 2009

LOS ANGELES - FEBRUARY 10: Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers controls the ball against Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder on February 10, 2009 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.   NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Oklahoma City pushed the Lakers to the brink, but came up short as the Lakers win in overtime 101-98.

If you enjoy defensive basketball, this game was your cup of tea. Neither side ever looked like it got in a rhythm but it was one of the most exciting Oklahoma City games to date.

While it might not look like it, Thabo Sefolosha gets the game ball tonight. He contributed 12 points, 4 steals, 4 rebounds, and more pressure defense on Kobe Bryant than Kobe has ever experienced. Sefolosha frustrated Kobe from the opening tip to the final whistle. Sefolosha is why the Thunder were able to hang with the Lakers. No question. His defense and improved outside shooting has more than earned his recent contract extension.

After being down by as much as 13 points in the first half, the Thunder battled back to take the lead in the third. OKC lead by as many as four, but could never put away from the defending champs.

There are a lot of positives to take away from this game, but there are negatives that cost OKC the game. On nine second half turnovers, the Thunder scored exactly zero points. If you want to make the step into "playoff team," you have to capitalize on your opponents mistakes.

As much as Thunder fans don't want to admit it, Kevin Durant had a very sub-par second half. He didn't hit a shot in the fourth quarter, or in overtime. The shots he did take are the ones that players like Kobe Bryant make. This isn't to say that KD played terribly. He had 28 points, 4 assists, and 5 rebounds. A solid game, but when super stars are called upon, he just fell short.

It's been said before, but Etan Thomas was the best pick up for OKC this summer. Again, Thomas was the best pick up this offseason. He brings something that Krstic simply cannot do, dominate down low. He pulls down rebounds with conviction, and changed shots the entire game. If he isn't a "dominant post presence," what is?

Moral victories are so "last season" for the Thunder. While taking the defending champs to Overtime is great, anything less than winning is a disappointment. The team must build off this close loss, and be able to close the game out next time it happens.

This Is Thunder Basketball.

(stats from ESPN.com)