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March 30, 2012

Thunder beats Lakers with big second half for fifth-straight win

Los Angeles, Calif. —  

Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant started slowly. Once the NBA's highest scoring duo got going, they ran right through the Los Angeles Lakers.

Westbrook scored 36 points, Durant added 21 and the West-leading Oklahoma City Thunder won 102-93 Thursday night for their fifth consecutive victory in the matchup of division leaders.

Westbrook was 2 of 6 in the opening quarter.

"The game got out of whack. It was my job to pick it up," he said. "We did a great job of defending and closing out the game."

Durant started out 1 of 9, describing it as "probably the worst I've played since I've been here but I kept fighting.

"They were all good shots. My teammates carried me and I started to make some shots."

The Thunder shot 46 percent, ending their streak of hitting 50 percent or better in their four previous games. They outscored the Lakers on second-chance points, had a 25-8 edge in fast-break points and grabbed 19 offensive rebounds.

"We did a pretty good job in the half court, but the offensive rebounds that gave them second opportunities and transition baskets killed us," Kobe Bryant said. "Every time we give up that many offensive rebounds, we lose pretty much every game."

Andrew Bynum had 25 points and 13 rebounds and Bryant added 23 points on 7-of-25 shooting for the Lakers, who have lost their last two at home and are 0-2 against the Thunder this season, including a 15-point road loss last month.

"The thing about Kobe is that he makes tough shots, and he didn't make them like he usually does," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "Thabo (Sefolosha) did a good job forcing him away from his sweet spots and making him take tough shots."

Bryant viewed the game as a measuring stick against the West leaders, who are 39-12. The Lakers are third at 31-20.

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