Durant’s defense helps Thunder top Lakers in Game 3

Kevin Durant became the youngest player to win an NBA scoring title this year.  Thursday, his all-around play propelled the Thunder to a 101-96 win over the Lakers in front of a frenzied crowd in Oklahoma City.

Durant put the clamps on Kobe Bryant in the fourth quarter and hit a number of key baskets.  He finished with 29 points, 19 rebounds, as four assists.

Meanwhile, Kobe didn’t have much lift on his jumper.  That didn’t stop him for launching–he took 29 shots, including 11 3-pointers.  He failed to shoot a single free throw in the game, spending most of his time on the perimeter despite OKC’s soft interior defense.

The Thunder trailed early, but rallied slowly and finally took the lead for good in the fourth quarter.

The Lakers continued to struggle to contain Russell Westbrook, who scored 27 points, mostly coming on drives to the basket.  Derek Fisher has no chance of guarding Westbrook, and both Shannon Brown and Jordan Farmer have played him poorly as well.

It will be interesting to see how the Lakers adjust in Game 4.  Kobe doesn’t look like he is healthy, but Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, and Lamar Odom should be able to carry the load if L.A. pounds the ball inside.

Game 4 should be fun to watch.

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