'We can do a much better job' - Bryant remains positive after Thunder clobber Lakers in Game One
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP):
For the second time in less than a week, Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers must figure out how to fight back after a humbling loss.
Bryant responded the first time by calling out his teammates for lacklustre effort.
It might not be so simple this time.
Russell Westbrook had 27 points and nine assists, Kevin Durant added 25 points and the Oklahoma City Thunder blasted the weary Lakers 119-90 on Monday night in the opening game of the Western Conference semi-finals.
This blowout came four days after Bryant's Lakers trailed by as many as 28 in a loss at Denver, then bounced back to win Game Seven. They'll need to find some answers before Game Two in Oklahoma City tonight.
"I've seen both sides of that equation and my experience has taught me just to be patient and to think the game through," said Bryant, who tied Andrew Bynum for the team lead with 20 points.
"We can come up with a different strategy and we can do a much better job and have a much better showing in the next game."
The Thunder took a 15-point half-time lead, opened the third quarter with a 15-2 blitz filled with crowd-pleasing three-pointers and dunks and never looked back. The final margin ended up being the fourth-largest in the history of the Oklahoma City franchise, including their years in Seattle.
"We got beat tonight. You can say anything you want to about a seven-game series and us having a day or whatever," Los Angeles coach Mike Brown said. "The bottom line is this, it's the play-offs, we've got to come to play and we didn't. We got beat.
"It's one game, so we've got to bounce back for the next one."
The league's most turnover-prone team - committing 16.4 per game in the regular season - gave it away only four times, a record low for the franchise.
"I think that's huge," coach Scott Brooks said. "Four - we've had that the first six minutes of games at times."
While the Lakers were making a quick turnaround less than 48 hours after ending the first round, the Thunder had eight full days off following their first-round sweep of defending NBA champions Dallas.
"Obviously, they're more well-rested than we are, but I don't think it made that much of a difference for us," Bryant said.
"We could have had the same amount of days off. They're just younger and faster. And tonight, what you saw is them executing extremely well."
76ERS 82 CELTICS 81
Evan Turner made the go-ahead layup with 40.4 seconds left and Philadelphia held off Boston the rest of the way with six straight free throws as the 76ers evened the second-round Eastern Conference series with an 82-81 victory Monday night.
Turner finished with 10 points, including his layup that put the Sixers up 76-75. He added two free throws with 12 seconds to go. Jrue Holiday scored 18 points and André Iguodala added 13 points, seven assists and six rebounds for the Sixers.
Kevin Garnett had 15 points and 12 rebounds, and Ray Allen scored 17 points for the Celtics.
Game Three is tonight in Philadelphia. Philadelphia won their first play-off game in Boston since 1982 despite committing a play-off-high 19 turnovers and getting outré-bounded 47-36.