Lakers outlast Thunder in 2 OTs
Kobe Bryant scored 19 of his 26 points in the final 3:56 of regulation and overtime as the host Los Angeles Lakers overcame an 18-point deficit to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 114-106 in double overtime.
Bryant went for eight points in the second overtime, helping the Lakers move a game ahead of the Los Angeles Clippers in the race for the Pacific Division crown.
Pau Gasol added 20 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists for Los Angeles. Kevin Durant scored 35 points for the Thunder.
The game took an ugly turn late in the second quarter when Metta World Peace celebrated his dunk by throwing a vicious elbow into the side of James Harden’s head. Harden stayed down for several minutes and World Peace was ejected for the flagrant foul type 2.
The Thunder, who were leading by a point at the time, turned the game in their favor after the incident. Kevin Durant buried the two flagrant free throws and scored the final four points of the second quarter.
Oklahoma City came out of the break on fire, running the lead up to as much as 77-59 late in the third.
The Thunder were still up 84-70 with 7:13 left in the game when Los Angeles made a move, getting a pair of 3-pointers from Steve Blake and a three-point play from Bryant during an 18-3 burst. Bryant’s one-footed 3-pointer from the top of the key as the shot clock was winding down gave the Lakers their first lead 88-87 since World Peace’s elbow.
Durant and Russell Westbrook combined to shoot 2 for 12 in the fourth quarter but Westbrook hit four free throws in the final 1:13 to force overtime.