OKLAHOMA CITY — The Lakers nearly squandered all of an 18-point lead, letting their advantage slip to only 75-74 early in the fourth quarter before racing away to a 107-93 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder tonight. Kobe Bryant scored 36 points to lead the Lakers to their fifth consecutive victory. Pau Gasol added 14 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Kevin Durant led the Thunder with 32 points on 11-for-20 shooting. Russell Westbrook, a former UCLA standout, scored 14 points on 5-for-13 shooting.
Bryant jammed his right ankle on a drive to the basket late in the game. “That’s OK, I have ankle insurance,” he said, chuckling. In other words, it’s nothing that would keep him from playing in Thursday’s game against Shaquille O’Neal and the Phoenix Suns on Thursday.
Derek Fisher marveled at Bryant’s play in the fourth quarter, when he scored 15 points and added two assists in the final 9-plus minutes. Bryant made 5 of 6 shots and 5 of 7 free throws.
“He doesn’t really do anything that amazes me anymore, but it’s still just fun to observe his ability to just make his mind up and say, ‘OK, this is what I’m going to go do,'” Fisher said. “To just make his mind up that he’s going to make the shots go in, I just don’t know if there’s anybody in our game who can consistently match that ability. I know I’m biased, but it was impressive to me.”