NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, March 26th (All times eastern)
Los Angeles Lakers (53-18) at Oklahoma City Thunder (43-27), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The top-seeded Los Angeles Lakers shoot for their eighth straight win tonight, when they resume a six-game road trip with a visit to the Ford Center to battle the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Los Angeles opened the road swing with a 92-83 victory at San Antonio on Wednesday courtesy of Kobe Bryant's 24 points and six assists. Lamar Odom added 19 points with 13 rebounds and Ron Artest chipped in 16 points and eight boards for Los Angeles, which is nearing its third straight Pacific crown and sits eight games ahead of Phoenix in the division standings.
"We simply made adjustments," Bryant said. "In the first half we blew a lot of assignments, which was something we were trying to minimize as we had guys wide open in during our rotation."
Pau Gasol had 10 points and 12 rebounds in the win, LA's fourth straight as the visitor.
The playoff-bound Lakers will also make stops in Houston, New Orleans and Atlanta on this trip and are 21-13 away from Staples Center this season.
The Thunder, meanwhile, ended a two-game slide with a 122-104 victory over Houston on Wednesday in the second test of a four-game homestand.
Young All-Star Kevin Durant netted 25 points and James Harden added 23 off the bench for Oklahoma City, which got 19 points from Jeff Green and have won seven of their last eight home games.
"It was a great game for us. We came back after a tough loss [Monday] against the Spurs and we bounced back and played great basketball," said Thunder head coach Scott Brooks. "We really did a good job of moving the ball, sharing the ball. Defensively, we held them to a low percentage and that's our style of basketball."
Oklahoma City made 58.8 percent of its shots and is currently sixth in the Western Conference standings, just 1 1/2 games behind Phoenix for the fifth spot and a game ahead of No. 7 San Antonio.
The Thunder will also host Portland on this residency and are 23-12 at the Ford Center this season.
The Lakers are in search of their third straight season sweep of the Oklahoma City franchise and have won the first three meetings between the teams in 2009-10. Los Angeles has won 12 straight and 14 of its last 15 matchups with the Thunder, who have lost six in a row as the host in this series.
03/26 10:56:25 ET