Thunder strike at Lakers
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Kevin Durant had 29 points and 19 rebounds, and snapped out of a shooting funk just in time to lead the decisive run in the first playoff game played in Oklahoma City, lifting the Thunder to a 101-96 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night.
Durant and Russell Westbrook scored 22 of the final 23 for the Thunder, including every point during a 10-2 surge that put Oklahoma City ahead to stay.
The top-seeded Lakers got back within 98-96 on Kobe Bryant's driving layup with 13.5 seconds left, but the Thunder closed it out from the foul line to pull within 2-1 in the seven-game series.
Game 4 is Saturday night in Oklahoma City.
Bryant scored 24 points to surpass Jerry West's franchise record for playoff scoring, and Pau Gasol had 17 points and 15 rebounds for Los Angeles.
Undaunted by a raucous sellout crowd, the top-seeded Lakers scored the first 10 points of the game and were in control until the Thunder roared back with an electrifying run of eight straight points late in the third quarter.
The fans reached a deafening pitch as the Thunder completed their charge back from an 11-point deficit set off by Westbrook's right-handed tomahawk dunk. James Harden and Durant followed with back-to-back 3-pointers to tie it at 74, and Oklahoma City finally took its first lead of the game on its opening possession of the fourth quarter.
Andrew Bynum pulled Los Angeles even for the final time by powering through Nick Collison's hard foul for a right-handed dunk, then hitting the ensuing free throw to tie it at 80.
Durant answered at the other end with a jumper from the right side with 8:41 left to give Oklahoma City the lead for good, then converted Bryant's turnover into a two-handed jam on a fast break.
His 19-foot jumper from the right wing put Oklahoma City up 90-82 with 4:28 remaining, and that lead was just big enough for the Thunder to hang on down the stretch.
Westbrook finished with 27 points and Harden, a rookie, scored 18 after going scoreless in Games 1 and 2.
Thursday, April 22
Chicago 108, Cleveland 106, Cleveland leads series 2-1
Oklahoma City 101, L.A. Lakers 96, Los Angeles leads series 2-1
Phoenix 108, Portland 89, Phoenix leads series 2-1
Friday, April 23
Boston at Miami, 7 p.m.
Dallas at San Antonio, 9:30 p.m.
Denver at Utah, 10:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 24
Orlando at Charlotte, 2 p.m.
Phoenix at Portland, 4:30 p.m.
Atlanta at Milwaukee, 7 p.m.
L.A. Lakers at Oklahoma City, 9:30 p.m.