We all knew the Lakers were in trouble. Kobe Bryant still answers to Mamba, but the 35-year-old is also coming back from the toughest injury of his career and the rust continues to be apparent even while he passed for 13 assists in 23 minutes on Friday night against the Thunder. Despite the dimes, the Lakers lost by 25, 122-97, and Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook were the two biggest reasons why.
This slow motion look at a KD-Russ lob perfectly sums up their preternatural partnership. You can see Russ throwing the ball up before Durant even makes his return cut to the rim. Amazing.
Russ just missed out on a triple-double with 19 points, 12 dimes and eight boards in a little over 30 minutes of action. He played facilitator throughout his three quarters of action, like this over-the-shoulder feed for the Perry Jones III slam.
Durant scored 31 points on just 13 shots, making 10 of them (3-for-5 from deep) to go with four steals, five dimes and eight rebounds in 31 minutes of action. He was all over the court on defense, stripping the ball and getting the Thunder out into transition.
Despite losing by 25, with the Thunder keeping their starters on the bench throughout the fourth, Kobe might have had the pass of the night, though. Even with all the pretty looks Russ was giving his teammates, Kobe’s pass was something else. Watch as he bounces the ball off Serge Ibaka‘s backside for the Jordan Hill slam.
Despite the wily play from the veteran Kobe, the Thunder have the longest current winning streak in the league (six games) and are neck-and-neck with the Spurs and Blazers for the top record in the West. There was just no way a hobbled Kobe playing point — against Russ, no less — was going to get it done.
What did you think of OKC’s dominating win?
Follow Spencer on Twitter at @countcenci.
Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.