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News » Lakers-Thunder Preview

Lakers-Thunder Preview

Lakers-Thunder Preview
Kobe Bryant just passed one Hall of Famer on the NBA career scoring list. Now he has another in his sights.

Bryant leads the Lakers into Oklahoma City on Tuesday night to face a Thunder club that allowed its two highest point totals of the season in its last two games.

Los Angeles (46-10) picked up its fourth win in a row Sunday, 111-108 at Minnesota. Bryant had 28 points, six rebounds and seven assists as the Lakers won for the 15th time in 17 games.

With a layup 1:18 into the second half, the current Lakers superstar moved past Lakers great Elgin Baylor (23,149 points) into 20th place on the career list.

"I think it's great," Bryant said. "The Lakers are one of those franchises where the greatest to ever wear this uniform are some of the greatest of all time. It's a tremendous honor to pass him."

Bryant scored 34 points in the Lakers' 105-98 win over the visiting Thunder on Feb. 10, becoming the youngest player in league history at 30 years, 171 days to reach 23,000 points. On Tuesday, Bryant (23,164) will pass Adrian Dantley for 19th all-time if he scores 14 points.

Barring an injury, Bryant seems more than likely to move well past Dantley during the matchup with Oklahoma City. The Thunder (13-43) have dropped five in a row and allowed an average of 136.5 points in their last two games.

Oklahoma City lost 133-120 at Golden State on Saturday, giving up its second-highest point total of 2008-09. Its highest came the previous night in a 140-118 defeat at Phoenix.

"We got sucked into playing their style," coach Scott Brooks said Saturday after his team dropped its seventh straight on the road. "We are not a running team, and they are. We can score, but that's not the way we're going to win games. Part of our development is being smarter and knowing how we play, and sticking to it."

The Feb. 10 loss to Los Angeles began the Thunder's current five-game skid, with opponents averaging 53.3 percent from the field during that stretch. On Tuesday, Oklahoma City will face a Lakers club that's among the league's best-shooting teams at 47.8 percent.

Lamar Odom has been a big part of that, as the veteran forward is shooting 52.3 percent and averaging 17.2 points and 13.8 rebounds since center Andrew Bynum suffered a knee injury Jan. 31. Los Angeles is 9-1 since Bynum got hurt.

"I'm just finding my way," Odom said Sunday after posting his sixth double-double in seven games with 25 points and 14 boards. "I'm feeling real comfortable out there."

Odom had 12 points and 18 rebounds in the February victory over Oklahoma City.

Thunder forward Kevin Durant had 31 points and 10 boards in that loss. In his last three games, the second-year forward is averaging 38.0 points and shooting 57.1 percent.

The Lakers, who have allowed 49.0 percent shooting over their last three games while giving up at least 108 points in each contest, will also have their eye on Russell Westbrook. The rookie point guard had 17 points, nine rebounds and seven assists in the Feb. 10 meeting in Los Angeles.

Westbrook is averaging 20.0 points, 7.4 boards and 6.6 assists during the Thunder's five-game slide.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: February 23, 2009


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