Kobe's Big Fourth Leads Lakers Past Thunder

One game after the Lakers allowed the Minnesota Timberwolves to hang around until the final buzzer, they seemed intent on taking care of business much earlier against a similarly subpar Thunder team. But after giving back almost all of a 16-point third quarter lead, it took Kobe Bryant taking over in the fourth for L.A. to pull away and win it, 107-93.

The Lakers started off strongly, opening the game on a 21-9 run in hopes of putting the Thunder away early. Luke Walton had seven of the team's first 14 points, and L.A. led by 10 after one and by 12 at the half. The lead reached as many as 16 in the third, before Oklahoma City finally made their run.

And it was a big one.

The Thunder went on a 15-2 run from the end of the third quarter through the first minute and a half of the fourth, which cut the Lakers' lead to just one at 75-74. It remained tight for another minute or so, until Kobe Bryant decided to take over and singlehandedly end it in his team's favor.

Bryant scored 10 points in less than three minutes, which stretched the Lakers' lead to nine with six and a half minutes remaining and effectively put the game out of reach. He finished with 15 points in the quarter, and 36 in the game on 13-of-21 shooting.

Kevin Durant continued his stellar second year for the Thunder, and finished with an impressive line of 32 points, 10 rebounds, and six assists. But while his game seems mostly effortless at times, it doesn't come with the same dominating impact that Kobe's game does, and so far, he hasn't been able to make it translate into too many wins for his ball club.

Despite this being a one-point game in the fourth quarter, the Lakers pulled away to win by a comfortable margin. Whether a 14-point victory over one of the worst teams in the league (record-wise) is enough to satisfy the stat geeks, however, remains to be seen.

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