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Thunder-Lakers Preview


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Back home following their most successful road trip in nine seasons, the Los Angeles Lakers look to keep the momentum going at Staples Center. Facing one of the league's worst road teams looks promising, but Oklahoma City is playing some of its best basketball of the season.

The Lakers go for their seventh consecutive win on Tuesday night against a Thunder squad targeting its first three-game winning streak of the season.

Los Angeles (41-9) finished a 6-0 road trip on Sunday by handing the Cleveland Cavaliers their first home loss of the season, 101-91. It was the Lakers' first undefeated six-game trip since Feb. 15-23, 2000, which took place during a 19-game winning streak.

After averaging 35.6 points, 5.6 rebounds and 5.0 assists during the first five games of the trip, Kobe Bryant scored just 19 against Cleveland as he battled the flu. He scored 31.8 points per game on 52.1 percent shooting as the Lakers went 4-0 against the Oklahoma City franchise in 2007-08.

Bryant is probable for Tuesday's game.

Lamar Odom posted season highs with 28 points and 17 rebounds on Sunday. He is scoring 16.8 points per game and averaging 10.8 rebounds since being inserted into the starting lineup after Andrew Bynum went down with an injured right knee in the Lakers' 115-98 win over Memphis on Jan. 31.

"That was one of the best games (Odom has) played for us," said Los Angeles coach Phil Jackson, whose team has won 10 of 11. "He's had some spectacular games, but that was a terrific game. It was the total package of his game."

Pau Gasol, averaging 26.0 points and 13.8 boards since Bynum was injured, posted his fourth consecutive double-double on Sunday with 18 points and 12 rebounds as the Lakers improved to 4-0 without their starting center.

"We're playing for perfection," Odom said, "and in order to do that, it takes a lot of energy, focus and commitment to winning and doing whatever it takes. We got production from everyone."

The Lakers may have Adam Morrison available for Tuesday's game. Acquired from Charlotte on Saturday, Morrison was scheduled for a physical in Los Angeles on Monday.

Oklahoma City (13-38) faces Los Angeles for the first time on Tuesday night following Sunday's 116-113 win over Sacramento. The Thunder won their second straight behind Kevin Durant's 39-point, seven-rebound effort. Durant has scored 30-plus points in four straight games and is averaging 28.8 points on the season as Oklahoma City has won 10 of 19 following a 3-29 start.

The Oklahoma City franchise has lost four straight road games to the Lakers since a 120-113 victory on March 12, 2006, but will have to do a better job defensively than it did on Sunday, when it allowed 67 second-half points to the Kings. Sacramento made 15-of-21 from the floor in the third quarter and shot 55.0 percent for the game.

"I thought we got too relaxed at times," Durant said. "They made some tough, contested shots, but we came back with some key baskets ourselves."

The Lakers are averaging a league-best 108.7 points and shooting 47.9 percent - third in the NBA. Oklahoma City, meanwhile, is allowing 103.2 points per game, which is sixth-worst in the league. The Thunder's opponents are shooting 47.2 percent this season.


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: February 9, 2009

 

 
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