Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 1/12/13
LOS ANGELES -- Oklahoma City built a 20-point lead early in the third quarter and the younger, faster Thunder sprinted away from the lackadaisical Los Angeles Lakers in a 116-101 win on Friday night at Staples Center. Kevin Durant had 42 points, including 25 on 10-of-15 shooting in the first half, and added eight rebounds and five assists to lead Oklahoma City. Durant had 16 of his points in the second quarter, including a fadeaway deep 3-pointer as the first half clock was about to expire, propelling the Thunder during a 33-17 run in which they seized control. Playing with a decimated front court, absent Dwight Howard (shoulder) and Pau Gasol (concussion), the Lakers had little answer for the Thunder. And the news got worse Friday, as Los Angeles learned that center Jordan Hill would be lost for the season with a hip tear. Hill likely would not have made much difference against an Oklahoma City team that scored 64 first-half points, dealt 28 assists and maintained a 53-46 rebounding advantage in handling the Lakers their sixth consecutive loss. Russell Westbrook had 27 points and 10 assists and seven rebounds to boost the Thunder effort. Kevin Martin added 15 points for Oklahoma City, which is battling the Lakers' Staples Center co-tenants, the Los Angeles Clippers, for the best record in the NBA. Both teams are at 28-8, though the Clippers did not play on Friday. Kobe Bryant scored 28 points on 8-of-23 shooting to lead the Lakers (15-21), whose six-game slide is a season worst in a year already marked by sloppy play. Los Angeles shot just 39.8 percent from the field, including 6 of 28 from 3-point range, and shot just 36 percent in the second quarter and 31 percent in the third. Antawn Jamison had 19 points and 10 rebounds off the bench for the Lakers and Metta World Peace added 12 points but shot just 5-of-18 and 1-for-9 from behind the arc. (no first name Pau Gasol, Dwight Howard, Jordan Hill, Metta World Peace, Russell Westbrook) NOTES: Gasol was re-evaluated on Friday morning and was not cleared, and his status remains in doubt for the Lakers' matchup with Cleveland on Sunday. ... Howard (torn labrum) and point guard Steve Blake (abdominal surgery) remain out for Los Angeles. ... With the Lakers top post players out, World Peace has upped his scoring, going for 24 and 23 points, respectively, in Los Angeles' losses at Houston and San Antonio. ... After suffering two losses in all of December, the Thunder have lost twice in January in just six games. ... Oklahoma City won the first matchup of the two teams, 114-108, on Dec. 7, 2012, after a 41-point second quarter. ... Westbrook was averaging 21.8 points, 8.5 assists and 5.1 rebounds before Friday's game, and if those numbers hold up, he'll become just the fourth player in 20 years to join the 21-point, 8-assist, 5-rebound club, along with LeBron James, Chris Paul and Gary Payton.
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