Kevin Durant delivered a highly efficient offensive performance to lead the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 122-97 rout of the overmatched Los Angeles Lakers.
The superstar forward scored 31 points by making 10 of his 13 field-goal attempts, including going 3-of-5 from 3-point range, and making all eight of his free throws. He also grabbed eight rebounds and dished out five assists Friday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City.
The Thunder dominated from the outset, grabbing a 10-point lead at the end of one quarter and steadily increasing that advantage as the game wore on.
Durant got plenty of help from his teammates, as Congolese-Spanish power forward Serge Ibaka contributed 19 points and 10 rebounds and star point guard Russell Westbrook notched 19 points and handed out 12 assists.
Reggie Jackson also was a sparkplug off the bench, scoring 19 points, tallying five assists and making two steals in 25 minutes of action.
Thunder head coach Scott Brooks was able to give his players some rest during the easy win, with Durant and Westbrook only playing 31 minutes and 30 minutes, respectively.
Oklahoma City was superior in all aspects of the game.
The Thunder committed five fewer turnovers than the Lakers, won the offensive-rebounding battle by a count of 20 to 15, and shot a higher percentage from the field (47.5 percent to 41.4 percent).
Reserves Nick Young and Xavier Henry led the Lakers in scoring with 17 points and 15 points, respectively, while Spanish center Pau Gasol chipped in with 14.
Kobe Bryant, who was playing just his third game since recovering from an Achilles injury suffered in last season's playoffs, took on the unusual role of distributor and finished the game with a stat line of four points on 2-of-6 shooting and 13 assists.
The Thunder improved their record to 18-4 and 11-0 at home, while the Lakers fell to 10-12.
In other action in a busy night in the NBA, the Cleveland Cavaliers enjoyed some rare road success in a 109-100 win over the Orlando Magic, the Indiana Pacers remained undefeated at home with a 99-94 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats, and the Toronto Raptors held off the Philadelphia 76ers 108-100.
The Atlanta Hawks eked out a 101-99 win over the Washington Wizards, the Boston Celtics edged the New York Knicks 90-86, the Detroit Pistons held off the Brooklyn Nets 103-99, and the New Orleans Pelicans topped the Memphis Grizzlies 104-98.
The Chicago Bulls scraped out a 91-90 win over the Milwaukee Bucks, the San Antonio Spurs continued their winning ways with a 117-110 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Utah Jazz defeated the Denver Nuggets 103-93, the Phoenix Suns topped the Sacramento Kings 116-107, and the Houston Rockets edged the Golden State Warriors 116-112. EFE