Thunder, Lakers close down first half

9:52 AM, Feb 13, 2014   |    comments
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( - The Oklahoma City Thunder will try to go into the All- Star break on a three-game winning streak Thursday night when they visit the Staples Center to take on the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Thunder beat the New York Knicks at home on Sunday, then took out the Trail Blazers in Portland on Tuesday. The win at Portland halted a two-game road slide.

Kevin Durant had 36 points and 10 rebounds as Oklahoma City claimed a 98-95 win over Portland. The Thunder now own a five-game lead over Portland for first place in the Northwest division.

Reggie Jackson scored 17 points with six rebounds and five assists while Jeremy Lamb added 19 points and five rebounds for the Thunder, who have won four of their last five.

"We had a group full of competitors. We competed. That's what we're about," said Thunder head coach Scott Brooks. "We've always been that way. We don't like to lose. We have a locker room that cares just like Portland. That's a group that competes also."

The Thunder escaped Portland with the victory as LaMarcus Aldridge had an open look, but missed. OKC will head into the break with the best record in the West and Durant and Brooks will go to New Orleans for All-Star festivities.

The Thunder will play their first six games at home after the break, including a rematch against the Miami Heat on Feb. 20, the first game back.

The Lakers have been a disaster of late, losing two straight after a two-game winning streak. LA has dropped nine of its last 11 and is 5-15 since the calendar turned.

The Lakers tied a franchise record with their sixth consecutive home loss on Tuesday, a 96-79 setback to the Utah Jazz.

Chris Kaman led Los Angeles with 25 points and 14 boards, followed by Wesley Johnson with 15 and Shawne Williams, who finished with 11.

As if the injury situation couldn't get worse for the Lakers, Steve Nash, playing his fourth game after missing 39 because of a nerve problem in his back, aggravated the injury in the second quarter and missed the entire second half.

Steve Blake and Kendall Marshall also tweaked injuries for the Lakers, who are without Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Jodie Meeks, Nick Young and Xavier Henry. The team announced on Wednesday that Henry had his injured knee aspirated and received a cortisone shot. He's expected to be out approximately four weeks.

The Lakers will play three straight at home following the break.

The Thunder beat the Lakers by 25 in Oklahoma City on Dec. 13 and have taken seven of the last nine regular-season meetings. The teams have split the last six regular-season matchups in Los Angeles.

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