OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma (Reuters) – The Oklahoma City Thunder routed the NBA defending champion Los Angeles Lakers 110-89 on Saturday to surprisingly tie their Western Conference series at 2-2.
The Thunder roared to a 12-point first quarter lead and never let up in winning their second consecutive game against the top-seeded Lakers.
Elsewhere, Jameer Nelson scored 32 points to guide the Orlando Magic to a 90-86 win over the Charlotte Bobcats and take a 3-0 lead in their Eastern Conference series. The Magic can wrap up the tie tonight.
Also in the East, the Milwaukee Bucks beat Atlanta 107-89 to trim the Hawks’ series lead to 2-1.
But in Oklahoma, the Thunder’s fast start left the Lakers in a daze as the 12-point margin grew to 29 by the fourth thanks to an aggressive approach.
“They took it to us,” Lakers coach Phil Jackson told reporters.
The Lakers had planned to work the ball inside into big men Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum but it was Kevin Durant, who scored 22 points, and Russell Westbrook, who added 18, that stole the headlines for the upstart Thunder.
“You don’t expect that,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks told reporters. “These are the defending champs with a lot of pride and a lot of talented players.”
The Lakers’ Kobe Bryant was limited to only 12 points with Gasol and Bynum sharing Los Angeles scoring honours with 13 each.
Game Five of the best of seven series is in Los Angeles on Tuesday with Game Six back in Oklahoma City on Friday.
“It’s all on us,” said Durant. “We control our own destiny at this point.”
Elsewhere in the Western Conference, Brandon Roy came back from knee surgery to help the Portland Trail Blazers defeat the Phoenix Suns 96-87 and even their series at 2-2.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 31 points and 11 rebounds for Portland. Roy, who did not start the game, came off the bench and finished with 10 points.