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Kobe and Lakers strictly above board in rout of Thunder

NBA champions and their show-biz fans put on quite a show, with Bryant setting the tone by making a spectacular basket from behind the backboard.

November 23, 2009|By Broderick Turner
  • Lakers guard Kobe Bryant pulls up to take a shot over Thunder guard James Harden -- and the backboard -- in the first quarter. The creative shot went in.
Lakers guard Kobe Bryant pulls up to take a shot over Thunder guard James… (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles…)

The two days the Lakers had off left them well-rested.

The two days of practice forced upon them by Coach Phil Jackson had them sharp.

As for Sunday night's game, it became a show in more ways than one, the highlights starting with the Lakers' running up a 28-point lead en route a 101-85 thrashing of the Oklahoma City Thunder at Staples Center.

The 26 points, seven assists and six rebounds Kobe Bryant produced were just part of his show.

The 25 points (on nine-for-11 shooting), nine rebounds and two blocked shots by Andrew Bynum were entertaining, especially since he showed no signs of the right ankle injury that had kept him out of two days of practice.

The 15 points, seven rebounds and six assists by Pau Gasol were a nice stat line.

Shannon Brown, as has become customary for him, was part of the show.

"I thought it was some inspiring basketball, actions, tonight," Jackson said. "There were some things that we felt we did really well defensively and kept this young team off-balanced that's very athletic and kind of entertaining in its own way to watch."

Ah, yes, the entertainment.

With 8:58 left in the fourth quarter, during a timeout, from the Black Eyed Peas grabbed a microphone and began singing "I Gotta Feeling," along with his group mate Fergie, who called rapper B-Real out of his seat to be alongside them and Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez.

During the song, belted out, "Kobe Bryant, MVP."

Later in the fourth, Jay-Z walked by and signaled to Bryant, who signaled back.

"I had my back turned to that, but being on top of all the music groups in the country, I knew who it was right away," Jackson said, laughing.

The American Music Awards show was across the street at the Nokia Theatre, which explained why the entertainers were here.

"It was cool," Bryant said about the impromptu concert.

Bryant delivered two plays late in the first quarter that left the fans thrilled.

Bryant's first spectacular shot came when he drove the baseline but was cut off by James Harden and had no place to go.

Trapped, Bryant, looking like he was playing a game of "H-O-R-S-E," lofted a shot from behind the backboard that arched over the glass and settled into the net.

"It was pretty crazy tonight," Bryant said. "Pretty crazy. We had our rabbit foot on."

With time running out in the first quarter, the basketball shot out from a pack of players under the basket. Bryant ran it down and threw up a quick, left-handed 15-foot shot that banked in as time expired.

In the fourth quarter, Brown ran downcourt on a fastbreak and glided high into the air, took a lob pass from Jordan Farmar and threw down a one-handed dunk.

That also sent the crowd into a fit.

"When he banana cut, I banana cut on the other side," Brown said. "We already knew what was going to happen. It was a matter of him throwing it and me going to get it."

After it was all over, Farmar said "only in L.A." can you have so many shows in one building simultaneously.

In the end, the Lakers were happy for those two days to prepare for the show.

"We had two days off in between our games," Jackson said, "and it's always an advantage in this game, in the NBA."

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