Friday night featured a solid NBA doubleheader on ESPN. While you were out handling your business, the Oklahoma City Thunder hosted the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Portland Trailblazers traveled south to take on the Los Angeles Lakers.
Thunder outpace T-wolves behind combined 64 from Westbrook and Durant
Russell Westbrook had 37 points, nine rebounds, and seven assists and Kevin Durant had 27 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists as the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Minnesota Timberwolves in a high-scoring affair 127-111. Minnesota had seven players score in double figures, led by Alexey Shved with 17, but it was no match for Oklahoma City’s high-powered attack.
Other than 17 turnovers, the Thunder put on an offensive clinic Friday night, shooting .578 from the field, including .643 from beyond the three point line, and going perfect from the foul line at 22 for 22.
Minnesota didn’t exactly struggle themselves, shooting .482 from the field and adding 23 free throws, but Oklahoma City was too much as Minnesota could not get a stop all night en route to a loss despite scoring 111 points.
Kobe goes for 40 as Lakers outlast Blazers
Kobe Bryant scored 40 points on just 23 shots and Dwight Howard added 19 points and 16 rebounds as the Lakers beat Portland 111-107.
Led by Nic Batum and J.J. Hickson with 22 apiece, the Blazers actually took two-point leads into halftime and the 4th quarter, but after a back-and-forth battle in the final frame, the Lakers eventually took the win after four free throws in the final seconds from Bryant sealed the victory.
The win capped an emotional week for the Lakers after seeing team owner Dr. Jerry Buss pass away. Bryant challenged the team to make the playoffs and contend for a title in his memory. Friday night’s affair against Portland was their first game since Buss’ death and their first test, which they passed, along with the Blazers in the standing, to move to ninth in the West and just 3.5 games behind Houston and the eighth seed.
All statistics via ESPN.com