Lakers at Thunder: Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant Battle - NBC Southern California
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Lakers at Thunder: Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant Battle

The Los Angeles Lakers travel to face the Oklahoma City Thunder as two of the NBA's most exciting players, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant, go head-to-head



    For the fourth and final time this regular season, the Los Angeles Lakers take on the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night. The Lakers trail the season series 2-1, but the Lakers won the last meeting between these two Western Conference teams.

    Unlike the last meeting, Tuesday’s game is in Oklahoma City in front of some of the more vociferous fans in the NBA (see Dwight Howard’s funny impression of a Thunder fan). Those fans have assisted the Thunder to a 26-4 overall record this season. The Lakers, on the other hand, amble into Chesapeake Energy Arena with a 10-19 road record. 

    To label the Lakers as heavy underdogs is a fair assessment. Overnight, Las Vegas expected the Lakers to lose by 8.5 points. 

    Is that advantage simply based on the home court?

    Funny: Dwight Howard Imitates Thunder Fan

    [LA] Dwight Howard Imitates "Xena" OKC Thunder Fan - Lakers
    Dwight Howard imitates a notable Oklahoma City Thunder fan who would make Xena-like sounds when the Los Angeles Lakers were shooting free throws. Shot at Los Angeles Lakers practice on March 4, 2013.
    (Published Tuesday, March 5, 2013)

    Well, along with the unfavorable change of venue, the Lakers are also missing one rather large contributor from the Jan. 27 victory at Staples Center: Pau Gasol.

    Gasol was instrumental in that win, and he was Coach Mike D’Antoni’s player of choice down the stretch. The Spaniard scored 16 points on 7-10 shooting in 36 minutes, and his four assists were vital in securing the 105-96 victory. 

    Gasol is out injured and at least a couple weeks away from returning.

    Metta World Peace Comments On "Dirty Player"

    [LA] Metta World Peace Answers To Label of  Dirty Player - Lakers
    Metta World Peace discussed his reputation of being a 'dirty player' and explained why he plays with toughness. Shot by @shahanLA on March 2, 2013.
    (Published Saturday, March 2, 2013)

    The Lakers have continued their strong play with Gasol watching in a suit, but in all honesty, LA was fortunate in the last round. Russell Westbrook, one of the most explosive guards in the league, had a rotten night at Staples Center. 

    Whereas Westbrook averaged 30 points per game in the two previous meetings, he shot a dismal 6-22, including 1-5 from three-point land, en route to 17 points in the loss. The Lakers should not count on that happening on Tuesday.

    One thing the Lakers should count on is Kevin Durant.

    Dwight Howard Talks About Kobe Bryant Dunking On Him

    [LA] Dwight Howard Discusses Kobe Bryant's Dunk Over Him - Lakers
    Dwight Howard of the Los Angeles Lakers talks about Kobe Bryant's dunk over him back when he was a rookie with the Orlando Magic.
    (Published Sunday, March 3, 2013)

    Durant leads the NBA in scoring with nearly 29 points per game, and he has averaged 38 points against the Lakers this season. Simply put, LA has no answer for the guy who would probably get the MVP trophy if LeBron suddenly vanished off the planet.

    The Lakers have their work cut out for them, but Kobe Bryant is playing like…well, Kobe Bryant.

    The Black Mamba has opted for a new name, “Vino.” The product of the 1996 NBA draft appears to be improving with age, much like a fine wine. 

    Mike D'Antoni At Lakers Practice

    [LA] Lakers Practice Video Coach Mike D'Antoni
    Video of Coach Mike D'Antoni addressing the media at Los Angeles Lakers practice in El Segundo, Ca on March 2, 2013
    (Published Saturday, March 2, 2013)

    When the Lakers beat the Thunder on Jan. 27, Bryant fell one rebound shy of a triple-double. The “Magic Mamba” has since transformed into the familiar attacking Bryant that Lakers fans have enjoyed watching for nearly 17 seasons. 

    For the past five games, he averaged 35 points per game, and his 34-point performance against Atlanta was filled with highlights that would be improbable for most 24-year-olds—let alone a 34-year-old.

    The defending Western Conference Player of the Month looks to carry his team to victory with yet another super-human performance in Oklahoma City, but the leading scorer in the league promises to offer resistance to the challenge.

    Tip-off for the Los Angeles Lakers at the Oklahoma City Thunder is 6:30 p.m. PT.

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