OKLAHOMA CITY - Kevin Durant scored 22 points and rattled in the go-ahead basket on a baseline runner with 18 seconds left, and the Thunder scored the final 9 points to rally for a 77-75 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals Wednesday night.
Oklahoma City trailed by 7 with two minutes left before surging back with a series of defensive stops by its stars to take a 2-0 lead. Game 3 is Friday night in Los Angeles.
Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum scored 20 points apiece for the Lakers, who came up empty on their last six possessions after Bynum’s hook shot made it 75-68 with 2:09 remaining.
After struggling throughout the second half, the Thunder suddenly came alive after Scott Brooks called timeout following Bynum’s basket that gave Los Angeles its largest lead of the game.
James Harden drove for a layup before Durant used his height advantage to reach up and tip away a pass from Bryant, who he was guarding. Durant ran out for a righthanded dunk at the other end before Russell Westbrook forced another turnover by aggressively challenging an outlet pass to Bryant along the sideline.
Harden made the next stop, blocking Bryant’s jumper on the next Lakers possession and getting a layup in transition off it to cut the deficit to 1.
Bryant couldn’t connect again, this time on a 3-pointer, to give the Thunder the ball back with the chance to take the lead and Durant was able to make it happen.
The Lakers got a desperation try but Metta World Peace’s long pass for Bynum was intercepted by Harden.
Westbrook added 15 points for Oklahoma City, which tied its lowest scoring total of the season but still gutted out the win.