Thunder 122, Lakers 97

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OKLAHOMA CITY -- Forward Kevin Durant scored 31 points to lead the OKLAHOMA CITY Thunder to an easy 122-97 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.

Durant added eight rebounds, five assists and four steal in 31 minutes of action. Guard Russell Westbrook flirted with a near triple double as he collected 19 points. 12 assists and eight rebounds. Forward Serge Ibaka chipped in with 19 points and 10 rebounds.

The Lakers (10-12) got 14 points and seven rebounds from center Pau Gasol while guard Kobe Bryant handed out 13 points but scored only four points on 2-for-6 shooting in 23 minutes. The Lakers dropped to 0-3 since Bryant returned to the lineup.

With the Lakers having no healthy point guards available, Bryant was forced into double duty to start the night. In only his third game back from rehabbing a torn Achilles, he not only had to run the offense, he was assigned the task of guarding Westbrook.

However, after Westbrook scored a quick seven points Lakes coach Mike D'Antoni switched Kobe off of Westbrook and onto rookie guard Andre Roberson.

But it was Durant who had the hot hand early. The NBA's leading scorer collected 12 points to give OKLAHOMA CITY a 38-28 lead after 12 minutes of action.

Guards Wesley Johnson and Jodie Meeks led the Lakers on a surge and closed the Thunder's lead to six. Johnson came off the bench looking for his shot from behind the arc and scored 11 points before Oklahoma was able to doing anything about it.

However, the Thunder responded with a 15-2 run keyed by Durant and reserve guard Reggie Jackson

Throughout the first half, Bryant played facilitator, trying to get the rest of his team involved. In doing so, he took only two shots in entire half as OKLAHOMA CITY held a 66-51 advantage. OKLAHOMA CITY set a new season high for points scored in the first half. The old mark was 64, which was set against Detroit.

The second half was more of the same as OKLAHOMA CITY didn't let up. The Thunder pushed their lead to 20 heading into the fourth and then benched their starters.

The Lakers had no answer for the any of the Thunder's big three or their roles players. It was a complete and total route of a team that used to be considered a bench mark.

OKLAHOMA CITY (18-4) moved to 11-0 at home. It joins the Indiana Pacers as the only tams in the league who haven't suffered a defeat at home.

NOTES: When Lakers G Kobe Bryant tore his Achilles tendon at the end of last season, many didn't know if he would ever play in the NBA again. OKLAHOMA CITY F Kevin Durant was not one of them. "Kobe's just a fierce competitor," Durant said. "I didn't even think twice about him coming back and how he would be or if he would lose a step." ... While on the Arsenio Hall Show on Tuesday, NFL great Jim Brown levied a few comments about Bryant, including how because "he was brought up in another country, (Bryant) doesn't quite fit what's happening in America." Bryant responded on Twitter Thursday night. "A "Global" African American is an inferior shade to "American" African Americans?? #hmm.. that doesn't sound very #Mandela or #DrKing sir." ... OKLAHOMA CITY G Thabo Sefolosha missed his third straight game with a sprained right knee. ... Thunder coach Scott Brooks described G Russell Westbrook as an unfriendly competitor. "Russell is a very competitive guy," Brooks said. "Russell, he doesn't like a lot of opponents as you guys know. He's not a friendly type of competitor. He wants to beat you."

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