The Oklahoma City Thunder gave the Los Angeles Lakers a minor spook in the 2010 NBA Playoffs, refusing to get out of the way until the final moments of Game 6 at the Ford Center. If the teams happen to meet again in 2011 -- in the second round or Western Conference Finals -- OKC made sure the Lakers know the young team is ready to win this time.
The Thunder earned their first-ever victory against the Lakers in L.A. on Sunday, with a 120-106 nightcap. The Lakers led in the fourth quarter; in fact, the teams traded small leads all throughout the period. But the Thunder went on an unrelenting 15-0 run with three minutes remaining to excuse the two-time defending champs. The run included an icy four-point play from Russell Westbrook to essentially clinch the game, as well as five sloppy turnovers from the Lakers, who had just one through three quarters and nine in the fourth.
Westbrook finished with 26 points, six in that great run. Kevin Durant scored 31, including eight in the back half of the fourth. Kobe Bryant, who had three of those late turnovers, scored 31 on 10-19 shooting, and Pau Gasol tallied 26. Kendrick Perkins has become OKC's big talker, but he didn't have a strong game. That said, the Thunder's defense performed much better than that of L.A.
The Thunder still have a shot at catching the Lakers in the standings ... if the Mavericks don't do it first. L.A. and Dallas are tied, but by virtue of a division championship, the Lakers have the advantage. L.A. faces San Antonio on Tuesday. With the Bulls chasing the Spurs for the top record overall, S.A. could be playing to win, putting the Lakers of a sixth straight loss.