Kobe Bryant’s free throws soak the Oklahoma City Thunder 99-96
LOS ANGELES –From the opening ticks the Lakers and the Oklahoma City Thunder put on a dramatic show.
The Lakers went up early, the Thunder fought back. The Thunder’s Russell Westbrook went to the ground for a loose ball and gets testy with Ron Artest/Metta World Peace after he throws down an incidental knee on a prone Westbrook.
Kobe Bryant jokes with a reporter going into the half that playing with Metta is like a “trip to the spa.” There were multiple lead changes and like Game 2 it was a scrap that was not finished until the final seconds drained off the clock.
Even in defeat Kevin Durant was clutch as he put the Thunder up by one with a lethal jumper with just over a minute to play left on the clock.
Bryant silenced the Thunder for good with a pair of free throws that handed the Thunder their first playoff loss of 2012.
Both teams now face the challenge of playing a grueling Game 4 without a break as they get back at it again today.
Plenty of pundits state that teams should not be forced to play back-to-back playoff games and that this situation is a result of the shortened season.
It only serves to add to the many sub-plots of this series and it will provide a true test of will for both teams.
Bryant paced the Lakers with 35 points, Andrew Bynum double-doubled with 15 points and 11 rebounds.
Durant scored 31 for the Thunder with Westbrook and James Harden both scoring 21 apiece.