Los Angeles at Oklahoma City

Kobe hits go-ahead shot in OT to help Lakers top Thunder

CBSSports.com wire reports
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OKLAHOMA CITY -- Ron Artest finally got to experience what it's like to be on the same team when Kobe Bryant finishes off a win.

Bryant scored 31 points including the go-ahead jumper in overtime as the Los Angeles Lakers got tested in their first road game of the season, beating the Oklahoma City Thunder 101-98 on Tuesday night.

Bryant connected on a turnaround jumper from the left side with 2:29 to play to give the defending NBA champions a 99-97 lead and then hit two free throws with 18 seconds remaining to push the lead to three.

"When Kobe's out there, he wants it," said Artest, who signed with the Lakers in the offseason. "That's the great thing. He wants it. It's not like I have to really go get it."

Bryant had been fighting through flulike symptoms earlier in the day but his fever went down before the game started. He finished 9 for 22 and had seven turnovers, but came through when it counted.

"I've been through a lot worse than this," Bryant said. He felt fortunate that he was able to play, considering the concerns over swine flu, and expected to sleep and get fluids on the Lakers' trip to Houston for their first back-to-back of the season.

The Thunder had two chances to tie it late, but Thabo Sefolosha and Russell Westbrook each missed 3-pointers surrounding a pair of missed free throws by Lamar Odom.

Bryant grabbed the ball after Westbrook's miss and tossed it toward the opposite end of the court to allow the final seconds to run off the clock.

"I liked him sometimes and sometimes I didn't like him," Los Angeles coach Phil Jackson said. "I think he was a little dehydrated when he ran off at the end and let Sefolosha have a wide-open 3. He made plays that he makes in ballgames. He got to the free-throw line and made some free throws. He was able to control the game at the end."

Kevin Durant led Oklahoma City with 28 points but airballed a pair of shots that could have given the Thunder the lead in the closing minute of regulation and overtime.

He dribbled the ball to run down the final few seconds of the fourth quarter before coming up empty on a deep 3-pointer from the right wing with 2.7 seconds left, but Sefolosha stole the Lakers' ensuing inbounds pass to send the game to overtime.

Durant then had an airball on a 17-footer from the right side in the final 30 seconds of overtime that could've put Oklahoma City ahead again. Bryant was fouled intentionally and hit two free throws to provide the final margin.

"We tell him he's going to be in that situation a lot, and every time you're in that situation, you learn from it," Thunder point guard Kevin Ollie said of Durant. "I think he's going to get better and better as we go on through this season, and he's going to have the opportunity once again. I think he's going to step up and knock down the shots and we're going to win games. We're going to ride it out with Kevin."

Andrew Bynum added 22 points and 10 rebounds, Artest scored 20 and Odom had 13 points and eight rebounds while starting again in place of the injured Pau Gasol.

Jeff Green had 18 points for Oklahoma City while Westbrook and Sefolosha each scored 12.

"Going into overtime against a team like the Lakers is something that we say we can pride ourselves on," Sefolosha said. "Even though we lost, we had a lot of opportunities to win this game."

The Lakers have won their last 10 games against the Thunder franchise, dating back to its days in Seattle.

Sefolosha hit a 3-pointer and a driving finger roll to eliminate a five-point deficit for the Thunder in the final three minutes of regulation and tie the game at 88.

Bryant answered at the other end with a turnaround jumper over Sefolosha, but the Thunder got a chance to tie the game after Etan Thomas -- playing instead of starting center Nenad Krstic -- swatted Odom's floater with one minute to play.

Green's 12-foot jumper from the left wing tied it with 49.9 seconds left, and Bryant couldn't connect on a desperation 3-pointer at the shot clock buzzer to give Los Angeles a lead. Sefolosha tipped the ball away from Bryant, and he had to scramble to regain possession before shooting.

Durant then aired out the first of his two potential game-winners.

"We got stops. That's what it boiled down to -- getting stops," Bryant said.

Los Angeles opened the game on a 9-0 run, punctuated by Bynum's two-handed jam off an alley-oop lob from Bryant. The lead reached 28-15 after Bryant finished a spurt of six straight points with a 3-pointer from the right wing over Durant.

Durant scored 10 straight points in a stretch bridging the first two quarters, and his two free throws put Oklahoma City ahead for the first time at 41-40. The teams traded 8-0 runs just before halftime to set up a closely-contested third quarter in which they traded the lead 13 times.

Notes

  • Lakers coach Phil Jackson said Gasol had a "pretty good workout" before the game but the team still had no additional information to suggest he has a tear in his right hamstring. The team has described the injury as a strain.
  • Jackson was asked before the game if he had a fondness for Oklahoma's wide open spaces since he formerly lived in North Dakota, near the Montana border. "Not really fond. There's some sunsets and sunrises that are pretty nice. The wind is aggravating if you live out here, there's no doubt about it."
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
 
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Kobe Bryant tries to calm down new teammate Ron Artest after he gets fouled hard.  (Getty Images)
Kobe Bryant tries to calm down new teammate Ron Artest after he gets fouled hard. (Getty Images)

Scoreboard
L.A. Lakers (3-1) «3220191911101
Oklahoma City (2-2) 25262217898
LAL:K. Bryant 31 Pts
LAL:A. Bynum 10 Reb
LAL:R. Artest 6 Ast
OKC:K. Durant 28 Pts
OKC:E. Thomas 11 Reb
OKC:R. Westbrook 7 Ast
Players of the Game
Oklahoma CityLos Angeles

K. Durant

K. Bryant
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
28453164
Los Angeles
A. Bynum, C4910-152-4103522
R. Artest, SF476-86-836220
K. Bryant, SG469-2212-1464531
L. Odom, PF436-110-282413
J. Farmar, PG80-10-01120
D. Fisher, PG354-60-04249
J. Powell, SF132-50-00004
S. Brown, PG100-10-02020
S. Vujacic, SG71-20-01002
L. Walton, SF60-20-01120
D. Mbenga, C20-00-00010
A. Morrison, SFDid Not Play
P. Gasol, CDid Not Play
Totals 38-7320-28361927101
 52.1%71.4% 
Oklahoma City
K. Durant, SF4510-248-845128
J. Green, SF456-123-453418
T. Sefolosha, SG365-90-041312
R. Westbrook, PG345-122-367312
N. Krstic, C183-80-01036
E. Thomas, C354-71-211049
K. Ollie, PG192-60-02414
J. Harden, SG173-92-21329
N. Collison, C160-10-03020
R. Bowen, SFDid Not Play
B. Mullens, CDid Not Play
S. Livingston, PGDid Not Play
S. Ibaka, PFDid Not Play
K. Weaver, SGDid Not Play
D. White, PFDid Not Play
Totals 38-8816-1937232398
 43.2%84.2% 
Other Games
Wash 90 Final
Cle 102
Den 111 Final
Ind 93
Bos 105 Final
Phi 74
Orl 80 Final
Det 85
Pho 104 Final
Mia 96
Mil 81 Final
Chi 83
Utah 85 Final
Dal 96
Atl 97 Final
Port 91