Originally written on Laker Nation  |  Last updated 1/27/13
Photo courtesy of Harry How, Getty Images“Everyone feels like they’re part of the team,” Steve Nash said in the locker room after the Lakers got their biggest win of the season against the mighty Oklahoma City Thunder, 105-96.It’s never enough to BE part of a team if one player feels left out, and that seems to have been one of many causes for these Lakers’ struggles. Not enough touches, not enough minutes, etc. Division is the quickest way to perdition and Coach Mike D’Antoni said it post-game today, “We hit rock bottom.” The only way for the Lakers to rise from under is to play together, struggle through games together, support each other, and that’s exactly what they did this afternoon.Kobe Bryant had more assists than field goal attempts. Steve Nash had more field goal attempts than assists. Pau Gasol showed it doesn’t matter whether he starts or comes off the bench because his impact is major nonetheless. Metta World Peace was a workhorse on both ends, as usual. And as a team, the Lakers never let lost leads discourage them nor OKC runs exhaust them. This is how you win. HIGH POINTS Kobe-of-all-trades – For the second game in a row, Bryant is leading by example. A scorer at heart, he has played the last two games showing off not just his ability to put the ball in the hoop, but his craftiness to get his teammates on the scoreboard. 21 points on 8-12 from the field, 9 rebounds, 14 assists, a steal, a block and just three turnovers in almost 39 minutes on the floor – that’s called efficiency and Bryant knows a thing or two about that. Thabo Sefalosha is one of Bryant’s many proud defenders, but on this Sunday afternoon, he had to worry about a lot more than him trying to score. Most every baseline drive by Bryant was followed by a hand-off to a cutting teammate on their way to the hoop, and when Kobe decided, a little fancy footwork got him an open jumper.Balanced Scoring – Six Lakers scored in double figures, including Steve Nash who went for 17 and Metta World Peace with 15 of his own. The reserves outscored OKC’s bench 33-17. Gasol’s 16 points on 7-10 certainly helped, but Antawn Jamison chipped in 12 points and Jodie Meeks checked in in the fourth quarter and rattled off five quick points to give the Lakers a lead. And the Earl Clark experiment? How about 11 points on 5-9, including a three pointer and four rebounds?Sustained Effort – There were 18 lead changes. OKC led by as much as five points and the Lakers led by as much as nine. Another knock on the Lakers during those 25 losses were the close games that they couldn’t finish in the end. Today’s game was the exact opposite. Halfway through the fourth quarter, OKC took an 87-86 lead off Kevin Durant’s 3-pointer. After a step-back jumper from MWP that gave the Lakers back the lead, the home team never looked back.Defense – The Thunder are the highest scoring team in the NBA at 105.9 ppg and third in FG% at 47.8%. It’s one thing to hold OKC to 23 points on 39% shooting in the first quarter, but to hold them to 96 points on 44% for the entire game? That’s something else. The Lakers stood their ground for an entire game, and after losing the lead midway through the fourth, they outscored the Thunder 19-10 the rest of the way. OKC’s big two still scored a combined 52 points and Russell Westbrook handed out 13 assists, but 13 of Durant’s points came from the free throw line, so his 22 points from the field took 26 attempts. The Lakers made him work hard for every shot, and for a scorer like Durant, that’s often the most that you can do. Westbrook went just 6-22 from the floor, with Bryant taking on the assignment in spurts, and MWP checked Durant, as usual, but it took a team effort on the defensive end to hold the Thunder to under 100 points.LOW POINTS:Free Throws – 13 missed free throws on 29 attempts, with eight of those misses coming courtesy of Dwight Howard, who didn’t have his most efficient game.Dwight Howard – Eight points on 3-7 from the field and 2-10 from the charity stripe, 10 rebounds, an assist and two steals. It’s not the most impressive stat line from the supposed best center in the league. Howard was in foul trouble, but his constant complaint of not getting touches could be remedied with some effort on the glass. Bryant, a guard, was one rebound shy of tying the rebound total of the starting center on his team.“As long as we utilize what we have, we should win,” said Metta World Peace in the locker room after the game. In essence, it’s the simplest solution for this talent-riddled Laker team to score some victories if they could only just REMEMBER who they are and what they have, and play like it.It’s a great day in Lakerland today – a win over the best team in the league, and the birthday of the best owner in sports history. Happy Birthday, Jerry Buss!Box ScoreThe post Lakers’ Complete Effort Gets Win Over Thunder appeared first on Laker Nation.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Agent: Rory McIlroy not booked for PGA Championship practice

Tom Brady, NFL to appear before judge on August 12

Report: Bradford, Eagles hope to sign short-term extension

Aaron Rodgers: TV networks have ‘too much access’

Adrian Beltre completes cycle, gets mad when assaulted

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Gruden had to convince Dan Snyder to bench RG3

Jim Mora turns P. Diddy fight into recruiting pitch for UCLA

Illinois releases results of women's basketball probe

Richie Incognito named starter by Rex Ryan

DeMarco Murray isn't thrilled Eagles limited reps in practice

Brandon Weeden: 'God forbid I am forced to play' for Dallas

Seven Big 12 Heisman candidates for 2015

Will Manziel be good enough to be Browns’ backup plan?

Cowboys exec on Dez fight: 'I do think it's a good thing'

Baseball season in New York has been better than expected

WATCH: Giants players fight during training camp

Lindsey Vonn shows support for Tiger Woods on Twitter

Report: Rousey to star in film based on her autobiography

Porn star offers to cook meal for any sports champion

Why everyone is wrong about Cowboys Tony Romo, Part 1

Oregon was only team drug tested during CFB Playoff?

Five 2nd year NBA players ready to take the next step

John Daly wants to be US Ryder Cup captain

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Adrian Beltre gets mad when assaulted after HR

Lindsey Vonn shows support for Tiger

Notre Dame doesn't need a conference

Rex takes jabs at Jets' management

Sanchez: It's 'crazy' to call Chip racist

Ronda Rousey calls out Cyborg

Five most underrated players in the NFL

Five potential NFL salary cap casualties this preseason

Winners and losers of the 2015 MLB trade deadline

Pirates do Pirates at deadline: Neat little moves

Mets acquire Cespedes from Tigers

Ranking the NFL’s 32 head coaches

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker