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Jodie Meeks' career-high 42 points lead Lakers past Thunder, 114-110

The Lakers stun Oklahoma City behind the play of Jodie Meeks, who makes 11 of 18 shots and all 14 of his free throws.

March 09, 2014|By Mike Bresnahan

It's a little unclear what happened the past week to the Lakers.

Probably best to just recap: They beat Portland, lost to New Orleans, the Clippers and Denver by a combined 63 points, and then beat Oklahoma City.


It made no sense but became official after the Lakers beat the Thunder, 114-110, Sunday at Staples Center.

BOX SCORE: Lakers 114, Oklahoma City Thunder 110

They delivered their second head-scratcher in seven days as Jodie Meeks outscored Kevin Durant and the worst team in the Western Conference beat the team that was tied atop it.

So the Lakers were good enough to win at playoff-bound Portland, which had happened only seven times in 32 regular-season tries since Kobe Bryant was a rookie, and strong enough to hold off Durant and his very talented friends Sunday.

But bad enough to surrender 132 points to New Orleans (at home) and experience their most one-sided loss ever (Clippers, 48-point differential, embarrassing). Not to mention a follow-up loss to Denver in which they allowed 134 points.

"You can't explain it," Meeks said after scoring a career-high 42 points against the Thunder, 15 more than the NBA's leading scorer.

It's hard to even try.

The Lakers stunned the Thunder in a game that ABC seriously considered dumping ahead of time for Phoenix-Golden State, what would have been a rare move for the network on a Sunday marquee game.

But the Lakers (22-42) put on a show after finding themselves down 18 in the second quarter.

It started with Meeks, continued with Meeks and all but ended with a Kent Bazemore finger roll after he beat Durant off the dribble and quickly arriving Serge Ibaka.

How hot was Meeks? He outscored the Thunder in the third quarter, 20-19. Lakers fans started standing in anticipation every time he took a three-point shot.

He made 11 of 18 shots and all 14 of his free throws. And he was great defensively, helping to hold Russell Westbrook to 20 points on seven-for-23 shooting (30.4%).

It's true. Someone on the Lakers played defense.

"He just got on fire," Lakers Coach Mike D'Antoni said. "Defensively, I think he was out of sight on Westbrook the entire time. So that's a lot of energy he put out on the game."

Meeks, 26, becomes a free agent in July. Somebody will pay him more than the $1.6 million he makes this season. The Lakers like him and hope they're the ones to do it.

They were apparently on their way to another ridiculous loss Sunday when Westbrook's fastbreak dunk put them down 46-28 with 7:20 left in the second quarter.

Seen this before. Plenty of times.

But then they went on a crazy 67-31 run to take a 95-77 lead on Jordan Farmar's three-pointer with 9:42 to play.

The Thunder (46-17) made it close, with Derek Fisher hitting two three-pointers, but that was all.

"The most important thing is you keep going out there and fighting, not giving up, because we could easily give up," said Meeks, whose previous career-high was 31 points. He had 38 through three quarters Sunday.

The lucky bounces and breaks that eluded the Lakers so many times this season were in attendance Sunday.

Meeks had a bizarre back-to-the-basket play where he peeked briefly as he threw the ball over his shoulder on a fourth-quarter drive. It went in.

Bazemore (11 points) lost the ball on a third-quarter drive but it caromed off the backboard and into the basket.

Pau Gasol (20 points, 11 rebounds) even smiled a bit, taking extra delight in beating an old nemesis from when he was winning championships with Bryant. He left his right arm in the air a few extra seconds after making an eight-footer for a 17-point lead.

The Lakers couldn't stop anybody for three entire games but held the Thunder to 42% shooting.

They are now 24 1/2 games behind Oklahoma City in the standings.

On Sunday, though, they were the better team. It happened so rarely this season but there was no doubt about it.

Twitter: @Mike_Bresnahan

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