OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma, May 15 – Russell Westbrook scored a game-high 27 points and Kevin Durant had 25 points as Oklahoma City embarrassed the Los Angeles Lakers 119-90 in their NBA Western Conference second-round playoff series opener on Monday.
“We are a good team, especially at home,” Westbrook said. “I just tried to come out aggressively and get some good legs under me.”
The well-rested Thunder led by as many as 35 points thanks to 53 percent shooting from the floor and superb performances from starters Westbrook, Durant and reserve guard James Harden, who finished with 17 points.
Westbrook added nine assists and seven rebounds, while Durant grabbed eight boards for the Thunder who scored the most points of any team in the postseason.
Andrew Bynum finished with 20 points and 14 rebounds, and Kobe Bryant had 20 points for the Lakers who looked tired on Monday as it took seven games and a series of struggles for them to eliminate the Denver Nuggets on Saturday.
Game two is scheduled for Wednesday at Oklahoma City.
Westbrook said he expects the Lakers to come out in game two with a chip on their shoulder.
“Game two should be a little more physical,” he said.
Oklahoma City led by 15 points at the half and outscored the Lakers 39-24 in the third quarter in front of a crowd of 18,203 at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.
“We did a good job of taking care of the basketball,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “We held each other accountable on defence.”
Brooks said the key was stopping Laker stars Bynum and Bryant.
“Kobe Bryant is one of the best players ever to play this game and we did a good job of making him take tough shots,” Brooks said. “We also did a good job of not giving Bynum any easy shots.”
The Thunder knocked the Dallas Mavericks out of the playoffs with four straight wins, completing the first series sweep of the defending champions in the first round since the Miami Heat were dismissed in 2007.
Oklahoma City and Los Angeles are familiar with each other, having played three times during the regular season, including as recently as April 22 when Metta World Peace was suspended for seven games after his elbow to the head of Harden.
Oklahoma City won the first two regular season contests against Los Angeles by 15 points and nine before Los Angeles rebounded to win the final meeting at the Staples Center in double-overtime.
World Peace was booed loudly during the pre-game introductions Monday and wasn’t a factor in the game, shooting four-of-10 and grabbing just two rebounds.
Asked about the booing on Monday, World Peace said, “Right now it is just about basketball.”
Turner shines as Philadelphia 76ers level NBA series
In Boston, Evan Turner scored the go-ahead layup and drained a couple of key free throws down the stretch as Philadelphia held on for a 82-81 win over Boston to even their Eastern Conference playoff series at 1-1.
Turner drove to the basket, got knocked down but still made the layup as he was falling under the basket to give the upstart Sixers a 76-75 lead 40 seconds left in the fourth.
It put Philadelphia up to stay and came after a flurry of threes by both teams that had the score seesawing back and forth.
“You play a game like this,” said Sixers coach Doug Collins, “and it’s worth like 10 regular season games in terms of experience.”
Jrue Holiday scored 18 points, Andre Iguodala had 13 for Philadelphia who became just the fifth No. 8 seed to win a first-round series when they knocked off the Chicago Bulls.
Rajon Rondo finished with 13 assists, eight points and seven rebounds for the Celtics.
Philadelphia outplayed Boston for most of game one until the Celtics’ experience took over down the stretch in a 92-91 Boston victory.
The Sixers nearly squandered another double-digit lead but managed to hold on down the stretch thanks to a pair of free throws by Turner with 12 seconds left that made it 78-75.
Boston’s Kevin Garnett hit a three pointer at the buzzer for the one-point margin. He was called for an offensive foul on a key Celtic possession in the final seconds that led to two more free throws for the Sixers which they made.
“I wasn’t fond of it,” said Boston coach Doc Rivers, who said the officials were letting similar screens go all night. “But we put ourselves in that position … to let someone else do something (to win the game).”
Game three of the series will take place Wednesday in Philadelphia.
Philadelphia took two of three games from the Celtics during the regular season.
The Celtics defeated the Atlanta Hawks in six games to advance to the second round for the fifth consecutive year.