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Meeks scores 42 as Lakers stun Thunder
- Updated: March 9, 2014
LOS ANGELES — Three days after a 48-point debacle, the Los Angeles Lakers rallied from an 18-point deficit and stunned the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday.
Guard Jodie Meeks scored a career-high 42 points, including 20 in the third quarter, and the Lakers surprised the Thunder 114-110 before a sellout crowd of 18,997 at Staples Center.
Meeks’ performance allowed the Lakers (22-42), who were pounded 142-94 by the Clippers on Thursday night, to end a three-game losing streak and hand the Thunder (46-17) their second straight defeat.
“More importantly, we got the win,” said Meeks, who scored 24 points in the second half. “That’s the most important thing I was focusing on. Being in a rhythm like that is fun, but getting your teammates (involved), making sure they’re happy and getting the win is also fun.”
Meeks connected on 11 of 18 shots from the field, including 6 of 11 on 3-pointers. He hit all 14 of his free throws and had four steals. Meeks’ previous high occurred March 27, 2012, when he scored 31 points against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
“He is a great shooter and he competes no matter what,” said Lakers center Pau Gasol, who earned his 27th double-double with 20 points and 11 rebounds. “He always plays hard and gives everything that he has got.”
Forward Kevin Durant, who recorded a triple-double with 27 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds, said the Thunder rarely put pressure on Meeks.
“He got some easy looks,” said Durant, who finished 8 of 19 from the field and only 4 of 11 on 3-pointers. He also had five turnovers. “We’ve got to do better than this.”
Durant, who was visibly angry after the loss, said the Thunder’s overall defensive effort was poor.
“We’ve got to help each other out more,” Durant said. “We do a lot of talking in film and practice, but we’ve got to do that (expletive) in a game.”
Forward Serge Ibaka finished with 21 points and 15 rebounds and guard Russell Westbrook had 20 points and seven assists.
The Lakers grabbed their biggest lead, 95-77, after guard Jordan Farmar’s 3-pointer with 9:42 left in the game. But the Thunder rallied with a 20-7 run to cut the margin to 102-97 after back-to-back treys by guard Derek Fisher with 4:36 left.
Two free throws by Ibaka cut the Lakers’ lead to 110-105 with 1:19 remaining, then Westbrook threw down a thunderous dunk over forward Kent Bazemore to pull Oklahoma City to within three with 57.3 seconds left.
But Westbrook air-balled a 3-pointer, and a driving layup by Bazemore with 15.3 seconds left clinched the win for the Lakers, who hadn’t beaten the Thunder in more than a year.
“My only concern is what we do as a team,” said Westbrook, who managed just 7 of 23 field goals and only 2 of 10 on 3-pointers. “My job is to make sure we win games. We need having a sense of urgency knowing that teams are going to come at us every night.”
The Thunder led 46-28 in the second quarter before Los Angeles went on a 21-5 run to close to within 51-49 after a basket inside by Gasol with 1:25 left. Meeks scored 10 points in the quarter. Oklahoma City took a 56-51 lead at intermission.
Meeks continued his hot shooting in the third quarter, hitting 5 of 7 from the floor, with 4 of 6 coming from behind the 3-point arc. His back-to-back 3-pointers and two free throws and another trey by Farmar gave the Lakers an 82-72 lead with 2:08 remaining in the quarter.
A layup by Bazemore pushed the lead to 12 with 1:42 remaining in the quarter. A 29-7 spurt by Los Angeles lifted it to an 87-75 advantage at the end of the third. The Lakers outscored Oklahoma City 36-19 in the third.
NOTES: Oklahoma City outrebounded the Lakers 37-18 in the first half, including a 12-1 advantage on the offensive end. … Thunder F Kevin Durant on his visit Thursday with Muhammad Ali during the club’s road swing through Phoenix: “It was an unbelievable experience for me just to be in his presence,” Durant said. “It is something that is surreal just to meet a guy that has done so much and paved the way for people.” … The Lakers wore their Los Lakers jerseys in celebration of “Noches Latina,” a salute by the NBA to its Latin and Hispanic fans. … Los Angeles has given up an average of 136 points per game in its last three outings. … Lakers F Jordan Hill missed his third consecutive game with a sore right knee. … The two clubs meet again Thursday in Oklahoma City. The Thunder had won three straight entering Sunday’s game and 12 of the past 15.
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