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RECAP
12/14/2013 11:40 AM EST
Thunder pound Lakers 122-97
OKLAHOMA CITY 122, LA LAKERS 97

By MURRAY EVANS
Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Three games into his comeback from injury,
Kobe Bryant remains a work in progress for the Los Angeles
Lakers.

While Kevin Durant's Oklahoma City Thunder continued their early
season roll Friday night.

Durant had 31 points, eight rebounds and five assists, Russell
Westbrook added 19 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds and the
Thunder routed the Los Angeles Lakers 122-97.

Serge Ibaka added 19 points and 10 rebounds for his 11th
double-double of the season and Reggie Jackson also scored 19
for Oklahoma City, which has won five straight and 13 of its
past 14 games.

The Thunder are unbeaten in 11 home games this season and have
won four straight at home over the Lakers.

"We have a pretty good team," Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks
said. "That's been the case for a while now. One of the things
that I tell the guys, every season has its own identity.

"We started the season knowing that we wanted to ... just
continue to build trust in each other and just focus on each
other and not worry about anything else, but trying to make your
teammates look good. It's early, but we've done a great job with
that."

Los Angeles has lost all three games since Bryant's return from
a torn Achilles tendon. Bryant had 13 assists - just two shy of
his career high - but showed little of his trademark offensive
ability, finishing with four points on 2-of-6 shooting. He
played 23 minutes and sat out the fourth quarter with the game
out of hand.

"There is no secret formula that you can sprinkle out there,"
Los Angeles coach Mike D'Antoni said. "He'll get more
comfortable, then the guys will get more comfortable around him
and then he'll do a better job."

Nick Young led the Lakers with 17 points. Xavier Henry, playing
in his hometown, scored 15 points for Los Angeles while Pau
Gasol had 14 points and seven rebounds.

Oklahoma City made quick work of the Lakers, setting season
highs with 38 points in the first quarter and 66 points in the
first half. Oklahoma City's lead was mostly in double digits
from the three-minute mark of the first quarter on. The Thunder
finished with a season-high 34 assists and outrebounded the
Lakers 59-41.

"They're a good team and they just beat us," D'Antoni said.
"That's number one. Our defense is not keeping it in front of us
right now and offensive rebounds, it's been a problem for us for
a while. We turn the ball over too much. It's a combination of
them outrunning us and them getting to the boards."

The Lakers played without three injured point guards - Steve
Nash, Jordan Farmar and Steve Blake - forcing Bryant into the
position even as he works his way back from his injury. Los
Angeles committed 19 turnovers, including seven by Bryant.

Los Angeles jumped to a quick 13-7 lead and briefly looked as if
it might stay with the Thunder, but Durant exited a timeout with
a dunk and a 16-foot jumper to ignite an 18-3 run that put
Oklahoma City in control.

A 10-0 run by the Lakers early in the second quarter pulled them
within 44-38, but Oklahoma City answered with a 12-0 spurt and
the lead remained in double digits the rest of the way. The
Thunder led 66-51 at halftime and weren't challenged after that.

As good as they've been playing, Durant said the Thunder still
have room for improvement.

"We just want to play our best brand of basketball at the right
time," he said. "But we can't do that unless we focus on today.
Today we did a good job of playing together and playing hard on
the defensive end. We can't think about April. We've got to get
past these days.

"We can be a lot better. There are a lot of things we need to
work on - transition defense, rebounding, passing. On offense
we've got to flow a little better. But our chemistry is growing.
That's the most important thing."

On the Lakers' first two possessions, Bryant was tied up by
Oklahoma City rookie Andre Roberson, then had the ball stolen by
Westbrook. Bryant didn't take a shot until making a steal that
led to a breakaway with 3:50 left in the first quarter, but he
eschewed dunking the ball, instead laying it off the backboard.

Bryant went 2 of 2 from the field in the first half and was a
bit more aggressive after halftime, but missed all four of his
shots. It was his second single-digit scoring outing since
returning from his injury on Sunday.

Westbrook's double-double was his fifth of the season. Durant
finished 10 of 13 from the field while Ibaka went 8 of 13.
Wesley Johnson added 13 points for Los Angeles.

NOTES: After missing three games with back spasms, Lakers C
Chris Kaman suited up Friday and entered the game at the start
of the fourth quarter. He finished with nine points. ... Thunder
G Thabo Sefolosha missed his third straight game with a sprained
right knee. The team said he remains day to day. ... Young
received a technical foul from official David Guthrie early in
the second quarter after complaining following a 3-pointer by
Oklahoma City's Jeremy Lamb. ... Oklahoma City recorded its 99th
straight regular-season sellout at Chesapeake Energy Arena. ...
Jackson has hit at least one 3-pointer in 10 straight games for
Oklahoma City. ... Lakers C Robert Sacre grabbed a career-high
eight rebounds.

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