NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, December 13th (All times Eastern)
Los Angeles Lakers (10-11) at Oklahoma City Thunder (17-4), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Oklahoma City Thunder go in search of their fifth consecutive victory on Friday night when they welcome the Los Angeles Lakers to Chesapeake Energy Arena.
The Thunder have been spectacular for almost a month. OKC has won 12 of its last 13 and is one of two teams, along with the Indiana Pacers, to be undefeated at home. (Indiana also plays at home on Friday.)
Oklahoma City got its 17th win on Wednesday with a 116-100 victory in Memphis over the Grizzlies. It was the first time in the Thunder's last four they surrendered 100 points. The second quarter was the difference as the Thunder out-paced the Grizz, 32-20.
"I thought our defense was good all throughout the first half, then we moved the ball very well," said Thunder head coach Scott Brooks. "Russell (Westbrook) had another outstanding floor game, led us both offensively and defensively."
Brooks was right about his point guard. Westbrook finished with 27 points on 7-for-12 shooting, including two made long balls, and 11-for-11 from the free- throw line. Westbrook had nine assists, two steals and just three turnovers.
Kevin Durant and Jeremy Lamb both scored 18 points, while Reggie Jackson had 17. Serge Ibaka chipped in 12 points.
The Lakers are 0-2 since the season debut of Kobe Bryant following Achilles surgery late last season. Both losses came at home, first to the Toronto Raptors, then to the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday. The Suns loss came 114-108.
"It's a little bit of still not knowing where everybody fits in yet," said head coach Mike D'Antoni. "It's trying to figure everybody out."
Bryant netted 20 points against the Suns to go along with nine points, eight rebounds, eight turnovers and four assists in his season debut Sunday.
Pau Gasol added 19 points and Jodie Meeks scored 13. The second unit, which leads the NBA at 47.8 bench points per game, was led by 13 apiece from Nick Young and Jordan Hill. Xavier Henry chipped in 12.
Steve Blake was diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. He is expected to miss six weeks and with Steve Nash also sidelined, point-guard duties might go to Bryant.
"I don't really have much of a choice right now," he said. "I got to get out there and do a lot more than expected in terms of handling the ball and doing significantly more running."
Defense has been the Lakers biggest problem this season. They have allowed 100 or more points in five straight and six of their last seven and rank 29th in opponents' scoring.
The Lakers begin a four-game trip with Friday's tilt in Oklahoma City. They travel to Charlotte, Atlanta and Memphis before returning back to the Staples Center.
The Thunder took three of four from the Lakers last season and six of the last eight regular-season meetings. Including postseason meetings, the Thunder have won nine of 11 from the Lakers in OKC.
12/13 10:38:22 ET