NBA Preview from The Sports Network|
Thursday, March 13th
(All times Eastern)
Los Angeles Lakers (22-42) at Oklahoma City Thunder (47-17), 9:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - Kevin Durant will continue his campaign for MVP
Thursday, when the Oklahoma City Thunder welcome the Los Angeles Lakers to
Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Durant is the NBA's leading scorer with 31.9 points per game and is averaging
35.7 ppg in his last 12. He helped the Thunder to a 106-98 win over the
Houston Rockets on Tuesday with a 42-point performance on 12-of-22 shooting.
He also made 13-of-16 from the foul line.
Russell Westbrook scored 24 points and Serge Ibaka chipped in 12 to go with 16
rebounds, as the Thunder ended a two-game losing streak and won for the fourth
time in the last six tries. Oklahoma City held the high-scoring Rockets to
41.8 percent shooting and used a 30-17 advantage in the second quarter to
build a sizeable lead.
"Defensively I thought we did a great job of locking in for four quarters,"
The Thunder will close out their three-game homestand Sunday versus Dallas and
have won four in a row in the OKC. They are 27-6 as the host, including a 17-2
mark against visiting Western foes.
Oklahoma City, which is headed toward another playoff berth, also sits one
game behind San Antonio for the West's top seed.
Now that Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant is officially done for the season with a
balky knee, the team can move on. The team made the announcement Wednesday.
"With Kobe's injury still not healed, the amount of time he'd need to rehab
and be ready to play, and the amount of time remaining in the season, we've
simply run out of time for him to return," Lakers trainer Gary Vitti said.
"However, Kobe will have the entire offseason to heal, rehab and prepare, and
we look forward to him being 100 percent for the start of next season."
Bryant also made a statement.
"Obviously this has been a frustrating and disappointing season, but I
appreciate all the support I've received from the Lakers and the fans, and
look forward to being back and ready for the start of training camp."
The Lakers will play two in a row on the road against Oklahoma City and San
Antonio, and have an 11-22 record as the visitor this season.
The well-rested Lakers won the last time out in a 114-110 victory over the
Thunder on Sunday and were led by Jodie Meeks' career-high 42 points. Meeks
sank 6-of-11 3-pointers and scored 20 points in the third quarter, while Pau
Gasol ended with 20 points and 11 rebounds for Los Angeles, which ended a
three-game slide and won for just the fourth time in the past 14 tries.
"Jodie Meeks has been our most consistent performer all year," said Lakers
head coach Mike D'Antoni.
In milestone news, Gasol will play in his 900th career game.
L.A. snapped a three-game losing streak to the Thunder last weekend, but has
lost eight of the past 11 meetings between the teams. The Lakers have lost
four in a row at Oklahoma City.
03/13 10:53:40 ET