Lakers guard Kobe Bryant reacts after fouling Thunder guard Russell Westbrook… (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles…)
Lakers 105, Thunder 96 (final)
The Lakers won their second consecutive game by defeating the Oklahoma City Thunder, 105-96, on Sunday afternoon at Staples Center.
Coming in with the best record in the NBA, the Thunder are now 34-11, trailing the San Antonio Spurs for the league's top spot, after getting outscored by the Lakers, 30-21, in the final quarter.
Kobe Bryant had one of his best games of the season with 21 points, 14 assists and nine rebounds. It's the second game in a row that Bryant finished one rebound short of a triple-double and one assist short of tying his career high.
Bryant also spent most of the game guarding Thunder All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook. Although Westbrook was also one rebound short of a triple double with 17 points, 13 assists and nine boards, he made only six of 22 shots from the field.
The Lakers survived foul trouble that limited Dwight Howard to 30 minutes, relying primarily on Pau Gasol as their center. Gasol finished with 16 points on seven-of-10 shooting along with four rebounds and four assists.
Howard had eight points and 10 rebounds to go with five fouls. He also struggled from the line, making only two of 10 free trhows.
Kevin Durant led all scorers with 35 points on 10-of-26 shooting as the Thunder shot 44.4% from the field.
Six Lakers scored in doubl -figures in what may have been the team’s best win of the season. Steve Nash had 17 and five assists as the Lakers climbed to 19-25.
Lakers 75, Thunder 75 (end of third quarter)
Kobe Bryant dished his 10th assist of the game with 9.9 seconds left in the third quarter, giving the Lakers a brief two-point lead. Russell Westbrook hit a running jumper with 1.2 seconds left to tie the score going into the fourth quarter.
Bryant has 15 points, 10 assists and nine boards after three quarters, all while guarding Westbrook who had 10 points on four-of-17 shooting. Westbrook is also one board away from a triple-double with 11 assists and nine rebounds.
The Lakers are shooting 51.8% from the field for the game but have missed 12 free throws. Five Lakers finished the third in double figures, led by Bryant’s 15 points.
Kevin Durant leads all scorers with 28 points as the Thunder are shooting 44.6% from the field.
Dwight Howard went to the bench with 7:37 left in the third after picking up his fourth personal foul.
Thunder 53, Lakers 52 (halftime)
The Lakers briefly extended their lead in the second quarter to nine over the Thunder but couldn't sustain it. Kevin Durant had 18 points in the first half to lead all scorers, helping to push his team ahead of the Lakers by halftime.
Antawn Jamison led an early charge with 10 points. Jamison and Metta World Peace each have 10 points to lead the Lakers.
As a team, the Lakers shot 51.3% from the field while the Thunder converted 57.8% of its attempts. Oklahoma City, though, struggled from behind the three-point line, making only one of nine.
Dwight Howard missed six consecutive free throws for the Lakers, who made seven of 16 (43.8%) overall from the line.
Kobe Bryant looked on pace for a triple-double with six points, six assists and seven rebounds.
Lakers 27, Thunder 23 (end of first quarter)
The Lakers finished a strong first quarter of basketball with a four-point lead over the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Antawn Jamison hit three free throws with 1.9 seconds left in the quarter to give the Lakers their biggest lead of the game. Serge Ibaka got up gingerly after fouling Jamison, favoring what looked like his hip.
The Lakers shot 45.5% from the field with seven players scoring, led by Metta World Peace, Earl Clark and Steve Nash with five points apiece.
The Thunder hit only 38.5%, led by Kevin Durant's seven points.
Oklahoma City had seven offensive rebounds to the Lakers' five, giving them four more shot attempts in the quarter.
The Lakers (18-25) host the Oklahoma City Thunder (34-10) on Sunday afternoon at Staples Center.
The Thunder have the best record in the NBA. The Lakers finally ended a four-game losing streak with a victory on Friday over the Utah Jazz.
It would be a huge win for the Lakers but a difficult one to get against Oklahoma City.
For a more in-depth breakdown, check out Preview: Lakers at Thunder.
Even in victory, Lakers struggling with turnovers and free throws
Lakers' teammates prefer Kobe Bryant as a willing passer
Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash receive Italian national team jerseys
Email Eric Pincus at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.