Kevin Durant continued his ascent up the ladder in terms of NBA history and the Oklahoma City Thunder walloped the Los Angeles Lakers, 131-102, Thursday night.
Durant, who totaled 29 points, has scored at least 25 in 30 straight games. That is the longest stretch of his career and represents the most by an NBA player since Michael Jordan put together 40 straight contests of scoring a minimum of 25 points during the 1986-87 season.
Russell Westbrook also scored 29 and dished out nine assists for Oklahoma City, which exacted revenge for Sunday's 114-110 loss to the Lakers at Staples Center. The Thunder also received 15 points, 13 rebounds and seven blocks from Serge Ibaka, and won for the fifth time in seven contests overall and for the sixth consecutive time at home.
Jodie Meeks, who scored 42 on Sunday, led Los Angeles with 19 points Thursday.
The Lakers, losers in seven of their last 10 games, will go the remainder of the season without Kobe Bryant or Steve Nash. Bryant is out due to a balky knee and Nash, who has appeared in just 10 games this season, is sidelined due to a back issue.
Westbrook and Durant combined for 20 of OKC's 33 first-quarter points. A 14-3 run by the hosts widened the gap. Ibaka drilled a 3-pointer during the spurt, which ended on Durant's two free throws for a 31-17 difference. The lead stood at 14 points after 12 minutes.
OKC scored 11 straight during the second quarter. Westbrook's layup culminated the push for a 52-29 margin with 5:11 left in the half.
The Lakers were within 60-46 at the break and closed to 69-58 following a 3- pointer from Ryan Kelly with 7 1/2 minutes to go in the third. Westbrook then took matters into his own hands by engineering an ensuing 14-2 spurt. He scored the final nine points of the run and had 12 consecutive OKC points in the period.
The end of the third quarter typified the seasons for these two teams. Ibaka swatted away Xavier Henry's layup attempt and Caron Butler drained a 3-pointer at the other end in the waning seconds. The Thunder held a 101-77 lead going into the fourth and led by as many as 31 down the stretch.