NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, December 22nd (All times eastern)
Oklahoma City Thunder (13-13) at Los Angeles Lakers (22-4), 10:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The red-hot Los Angeles Lakers return to Staples Center Tuesday night after a very productive road trip to take on an improving Oklahoma City Thunder squad.
The Lakers finished 4-1 on their recent trek and won for the 15th time in 16 games with a convincing 93-91 win over Detroit on Sunday. Kobe Bryant scored 28 points and had five steals in that one.
Andrew Bynum chipped in 16 points for the Lakers, who finished a five-game road trip by securing their first home-and-home sweep of the Detroit Pistons in eight seasons.
"We wanted to get on the road and get our feet underneath us, understand how to play on the road," said Lakers coach Phil Jackson. "I think we did okay. None of the teams we played against had above .500 winning percentages, so we knew we had a good chance to go through this."
Pau Gasol recorded 13 points and 11 boards, while Ron Artest contributed 14 points, nine assists and six steals in the victory as LA moved to an NBA-best 22-4.
The Thunder, meanwhile, came up empty in Houston on Saturday when Trevor Ariza poured in 31 points as the Rockets fended off Oklahoma City, 95-90.
Jeff Green tallied 21 points and eight rebounds for the Thunder, who lost for the fourth time in five contests. Russell Westbrook and James Harden each had 15 points. Kevin Durant was limited to 13 points on 6-of-18 shooting.
"It was a physical game," Green said. "It was very competitive, but that's how every game is...Houston is a great team."
Los Angeles has already topped Oklahoma City twice this season and has won six straight over the Thunder at Staples Center. Overall, the Lakers have won 10 consecutive games on their home floor and sport a gaudy 15-2 mark as the host on the season.
12/22 10:47:11 ET