Lakers no match for rolling Thunder

Even if the Lakers come together the way Mike Brown hopes and becomes a playoff force, they face a daunting task on the road to the NBA Finals.

The Oklahoma City Thunder leads the Western Conference at the All-Star break with a 27-7 record — seven games better than the Lakers, whom they beat by a 100-85 score Thursday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Oklahoma City’s speed and athleticism stifled the Lakers, who shot 38.5 percent from the field and struggled to free Kobe Bryant for open looks against James Harden. Andrew Bynum, the Lakers’ other All-Star, shot 5-for-15 from the field with no assists and three turnovers against Kendrick Perkins’ defense.

“We did a good job — everybody using their length and their hands to disturb them a little bit,” Thunder star Kevin Durant said of Bynum and Pau Gasol.

Lakers coach Mike Brown raved about the potential of the Thunder before the game, saying he could go “on and on.” Both teams lost to the Dallas Mavericks in the playoffs last year, but the Lakers have beaten Dallas in both meetings this season.

The Lakers have two more games with the Thunder, both at Staples Center.


   –Andrew Bynum will sit out All-Star practice Saturday because he is scheduled to receive a lubricating injection to his right knee Friday. The injection is standard maintenance that was prescribed by Bynum’s personal doctor, David Altchek.
   –The All-Star break will provide a breather for the Lakers’ players, but also for their coaches, including head coach Mike Brown. It was with great excitement that Brown said he’ll be able to be home and in the stands Friday night for son Elijah’s playoff basketball game. Elijah is a junior for Santa Ana Mater Dei High.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “Everyone is going to bring their ‘A’ game against us. They want to beat the Lakers.” — Pau Gasol


   –C Andrew Bynum made 17 of 20 free throws over his previous five games prior to facing Oklahoma City on Thursday night to inch up to 61.2 percent on free throws for the season. Bynum’s seven free throws in eight attempts Wednesday night in Dallas was one shy of his career high in a single game. Bynum made all four of his free throws versus the Thunder to reach 62.7 percent at the All-Star break.
   –G Derek Fisher is shooting 37.1 percent from the field, and backup Steve Blake 39.3 percent. That’s not good stuff from the point-guard position for the Lakers, who’ve been rumored to be in the trade market for an upgrade. Blake is averaging 5.5 points; Fisher 4.9.
   –G Kobe Bryant was selected to his 14th All-Star Game and goes into this one averaging a league-best 28.4 points per game. Bryant said his favorite All-Star memory is his first game in 1998, when he got to match up with Michael Jordan.

   –G Steve Blake (costochondral fracture) is playing through the injury.

   –Point guard Derek Fisher
   –Shooting guard Kobe Bryant
   –Small forward Metta World Peace
   –Power forward Pau Gasol
   –Center Andrew Bynum
   –Guard Steve Blake
   –Guard Andrew Goudelock
   –Forward Troy Murphy
   –Forward Matt Barnes