Thunder prove a point in Los Angeles against the Lakers

There's a certain style of game you have to be prepared for come the postseason. The kind where things aren't really going your way, your best players aren't playing well, nothing is falling and it doesn't seem like you can get a call.

But you have to find a way to press on, push through and get past those minutes. The Thunder got a small taste of that Thursday at Staples Center against the rejuvinated Lakers as Oklahoma City suffered through its worst shooting half of the season, hitting only 35.8 percent from the field the first 24 minutes.

Kevin Durant was only 5-of-16. Russell Westbrook had only nine points. James Harden was 2-of-9. And yet, somehow, the Thunder were only down five to L.A. at the break and assuming their stars could play like themselves in the second half, they were to be fine.

Which is precisely what happened. Durant hit 10 of his next 14 shots, Westbrook had 27 of his game-high 36 in the second half and the Thunder put it on the Lakers winning 102-93 as L.A. looked rather helpless in the fourth quarter. It was supposed to be a potential statement night for the Lakers with their renewed roster led by Ramon Sessions. The Lakers were refreshed since dumping Derek Fisher and despite some recent issues with coach Mike Brown, were looking like the type of team that could contend.

But then the Thunder strolled into town and humbled them, stating their own message. Think about that. Just three years ago, it was the Lakers that everyone measured themselves next to. OKC lost a tough opening round series to L.A. and looked at it as the place they needed to be. Now? Now the Thunder are at that level the Lakers want to be at. The Thunder have won their last three meetings with the Lakers, two coming this season. In those contests, Kobe Bryant has gone 7-for-24 and 7-for-25 from the field. Westbrook and Durant have torched the Lakers. Kendrick Perkins has handled Andrew Bynum. And the Thunder have looked far the superior team.

Every big play, every loose ball, every important moment went the Thunder's way. They weren't scared of the Lakers. Nobody feared Kobe. Nobody was worried about Bynum taking over because Perkins had him. The Thunder looked like the big bad team that had it all along while the Lakers were the team scrapping and clawing to hold on. The tide has been turning for a while now, but it's completely spun around. The kids from OKC are now sitting in the driver's seat while the Lakers search for a way to get to their level.

The game featured quite a bit of trash talking as Bynum jawed at Perkins after a first quarter bucket, Thabo Sefolosha and Kobe had an extended conversation in the second and Westbrook and Kobe conversed in the third. There was some obvious blood boiling, whether it was bad blood or not is unknown, but both sides didn't want to back down. The Lakers had a whole lot to say to the Thunder, but in the end, OKC had the last word. On the scoreboard. The place that talks loudest.

For OKC, that's two games against top flight opponents this week and two wins. An easy takedown of Miami on Sunday and now an impressive second half domination of the Lakers Thursday. Does it mean anything more than that? Sure, but the Thunder have two more headliners ahead on the schedule next week. They could lose to the Bulls and Heat next week and everyone will forget all about these. That's the point. It's late March and while it's clear the Thunder are very, very good, and are playing some terrific basketball, it's only another win to build on during the drive to something bigger.

It's obvious: OKC just has another gear. The Thunder can go to another level, call upon a different focus and mentality when they need it. When they lock in on both ends, they're just scary good. If Sunday's win over the Heat made a statement, this win over the Lakers was a declaration.

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