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Sunday, Jan. 13, 2013
L.A. misery: Lakers drop sixth straight
LOS ANGELES — Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook both realize they weren't facing the Los Angeles Lakers who recently won an NBA title. They weren't even facing the full talent of the Lakers' current roster, which hasn't been able to get much above .500 all season.
Running the Lakers out of their own building still feels pretty good, though.
Durant scored a season-high 42 points, Westbrook had 27 points and 10 assists, and the Oklahoma City Thunder easily sent the short-handed Lakers to their sixth straight loss, 116-101 on Friday night.
Kevin Martin scored 15 points and hit three 3-pointers for Oklahoma City, which romped to a 27-point lead in the second half. The Thunder have won seven of nine, while Los Angeles is on its first six-game skid since March 2007 while playing without injured stars Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol.
Oklahoma City (28-8) matched the Clippers for the NBA's best record — and the Thunder made it look easy with a virtuoso game from Durant, who had 38 points midway through the third quarter.
"Coming in here, it's tough to win no matter what," Durant insisted after the Thunder coasted down the stretch. "We did a great job of just playing together at both ends of the floor all night and not taking those guys lightly. They've got two of the best players in the world out, so we just wanted to come out and have a good game."
They had a bit more than a good game. Durant hit four 3-pointers and his usual array of athletic shots whenever he wanted, while Westbrook finished three rebounds shy of a triple-double while playing less than 35 minutes.
The Thunder only had three scorers in double figures, but that was more than enough.
Kobe Bryant scored 28 points and Antawn Jamison added 19 but Los Angeles looked lost and overmatched in its third straight game without Howard and Gasol.
Steve Nash had seven points and seven assists in a quiet 30 minutes for the Lakers, who announced during the second quarter that backup big man Jordan Hill likely needs season-ending surgery on his left hip. Metta World Peace added 12 points, going 1 for 9 on 3-point attempts.
Los Angeles (15-21) hadn't lost this many consecutive games since the year before it acquired Gasol and embarked on a run to three straight NBA Finals.
Bulls 108, Knicks 101
In Chicago, Luol Deng scored a season-high 33 points in the Bulls' third victory over New York this season, a win that sent the Knicks to their season-high third straight loss.
Topping the 29 points he scored here last month, Deng shot 13 of 18 from the field and also led the defensive effort that contained Carmelo Anthony in the decisive first half of his return from a one-game suspension.
Anthony ended up with 39 points for the Knicks, who were roughed up again a night after losing in Indiana.
Hawks 103, Jazz 95
In Atlanta, Devin Harris scored a season-high 24 points and the Hawks rallied from 15 points down in the second half.
Randy Foye had 25 points to lead Utah, which had won four of five but was denied its first back-to-back road wins of the season.
Hornets 104, Timberwolves 92
In New Orleans, Greivis Vasquez had 18 points and 13 assists to lead the Hornets to their fourth straight win.
Eric Gordon added 16 points, Ryan Anderson had 15, Jason Smith 14, Al-Farouz Aminu 12 and Roger Mason 10 for the Hornets, who have won five out of six with Gordon in the starting lineup.
Celtics 103, Rockets 91
In Boston, Paul Pierce scored 16 of his 23 points in the second half and Kevin Garnett added 17 points and four blocks as the hosts nearly blew a 17-point lead before pulling away late.
The Celtics extended their season-high winning streak to five games, but only after surviving a 12-0 run that pulled the Rockets within two points midway through the fourth quarter.
James Harden scored 24 for Houston.
Nets 99, Suns 79
In New York, Joe Johnson scored 19 points and MarShon Brooks added 17 points off the bench as Brooklyn won its fifth straight.
The Nets have won three straight games by 20 or more points for the first time in the team's NBA history.
Jared Dudley led Phoenix with 18 points.
Raptors 99, Bobcats 78
In Toronto, Alan Anderson scored 16 points against his former team, Jose Calderon had 15 and the Raptors won for the 10th time in 13 games.
Pistons 103, Bucks 87
In Milwaukee, Greg Monroe had 26 points and 11 rebounds, Brandon Knight scored 20 points, and Detroit handed Bucks interim coach Jim Boylan his first loss.
Grizzlies 101, Spurs 98 (OT)
In Memphis, Rudy Gay hit a pullup jumper from 4.3 meters with 27.8 seconds left, and the Grizzlies held off San Antonio in overtime for their fourth straight victory and the first over their Southwest Division rival since the 2011 playoffs.
Tony Parker, who finished with 30 points for the Spurs, forced overtime, beating the buzzer with an 8.2-meter shot that tied it at 95-95.
Warriors 103, Trail Blazers 97
In Oakland, Stephen Curry scored 22 points, including two free throws with 16.4 seconds left, and Golden State held off a late Portland charge to beat the Trail Blazers.
The Warriors led by 20 in the second half before Portland rookie and Oakland native Damian Lillard nearly rallied the Blazers. Lillard scored 17 of his career-high 37 points in the fourth quarter.
Nuggets 98, Cavaliers 91
In Denver, Danilo Gallinari scored 23 points, hitting a crucial 3-pointer in the waning seconds, and the Nuggets came back to beat Cleveland for their fourth straight victory.