Thunder silence Lakers to take 3-1 series lead
LOS ANGELES, May 20 — A late three-pointer by Kevin Durant capped a dramatic fightback by the Oklahoma City Thunder as they pushed the Los Angeles Lakers to the brink of playoff elimination with a 103-100 win in Game Four on Saturday.
The second-seeded Thunder stormed from 11 points behind early in the final quarter to take a commanding 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven Western Conference semi-final series.
Forward Durant finished with 31 points and 13 rebounds while guard Russell Westbrook weighed in with 37 points as Oklahoma City stunned a sellout crowd at Staples Centre that had sensed a home win.
Kobe Bryant led the way for the third-seeded Lakers with a game-high 38 points and eight rebounds but his team were ultimately let down by poor shooting and defence over the closing stretch.
Trailing by 11 points with just under eight minutes remaining, the Thunder steadily clawed their way back before a layup shot by centre Kendrick Perkins put them ahead 98-96 with 1.16 minutes left.
Though Bryant made two free throws to tie the score at 98-98, Durant poured in a three-pointer to give Oklahoma City welcome breathing space with 13.7 left on the clock.
Two free throws by reserve guard James Harden gave the visitors a 103-98 cushion before a Bryant jump shot on the buzzer lifted the Lakers into three figures.
The series shifts back to Oklahoma City for Game Five on Monday. — Reuters