(SportsNetwork.com) - The Oklahoma City Thunder will try to be the next team
to run up the score on the floundering Los Angeles Lakers when the two Western
Conference inhabitants clash Sunday at Staples Center.
The Lakers have given up 408 total points in the last three games, allowing an
average of 136.0 ppg, and are 29th in opponents' scoring at 107.9 ppg.
Oklahoma City is averaging 105.7 ppg this season and has scored 100-plus
points in each of the last six games, including a 128-122 setback at Phoenix
on Thursday. The Thunder had a 16-point lead late in the third quarter until
the Suns stormed back with a 21-2 run.
One game after recording a triple-double in about 20 minutes versus
Philadelphia, Thunder guard Russell Westbrook scored a season-high 36 points
on 13-of-22 shooting and made 4-of-9 3-pointers. Westbrook also had nine
rebounds, nine assists and four steals.
NBA leading scorer Kevin Durant had 34 points and made 12-of-24 from the
field, while Serge Ibaka and newcomer Caron Butler scored 18 and 14 points,
respectively, for OKC, which had a three-game winning streak stopped and lost
for the fourth time in seven tries.
Durant leads the NBA with 31.8 ppg and has scored 25 or more points in the
last 27 games, averaging 35.3 points in that terrific run. He scored 25-plus
points in 29 straight games back in 2009-10.
The Thunder, who have a 20-10 road record, are even with San Antonio for the
top spot in the Western Conference and will start a three-game homestand next
week versus the Houston Rockets, Lakers and Dallas Mavericks.
Oklahoma City hopes to show some of its resiliency in L.A. and is 42-12 in
games after a loss since the start of the 2011-12 season.
The Lakers have lost three in a row and 10 of their last 13 games, and dropped
a 134-126 decision at Denver on Friday. Pau Gasol led the charge with 27
points, Ryan Kelly and Jordan Farmar scored 24 apiece and Jodie Meeks added 16
in a losing effort.
"We are trying everything we can do," Lakers head coach Mike D'Antoni said. "I
don't know if the air has gone out or we are tired or what the problem is."
Los Angeles has been marred by injuries all season and hopes a return home
will bear fruitful results. It is 10-20 at Staples Center and has lost two
straight and 11 of 13 games as the host.
In injury news, Nick Young (knee) is questionable Sunday and has missed the
last seven games. Young once led the Lakers in scoring this season and is
averaging 16.8 ppg. Gasol leads L.A. with 17.7 points.
The Lakers will have a few days off before visiting the Thunder on Thursday
and are 0-2 against them this season. OKC has won three straight and eight of
the last 10 matchups between the teams.
The Thunder won their last visit to Staples Center on Feb. 13, but have a 4-10
record in the last 14 contests as the guest in this series. Durant scored 19
of his game-high 43 points in the fourth quarter in that recent win.
The Sports Network