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Patient Lakers Outlast Thunder, 90-87

A strong defensive effort by the Los Angeles Lakers gave them their fourth straight victory, a 90-87 win over the Thunder in Oklahoma City. The Lakers, who trailed 56-51 at halftime and were down by as many as 13 points in the first half, held the Thunder to just 31 points in the second half. Pau Gasol had 18 points and 11 rebounds, and Andrew Bynum had 16 points and 10 rebounds to pace the Lakers, as the duo combined to make 12 of their 20 field goal attempts. In addition, Kobe Bryant passed Elvin Hayes to become the seventh all-time leading scorer in NBA history.

Kobe scored 17 in the game, but struggled to do so under duress from Thabo Sefolosha for most of the game. Bryant made eight of 22 shots, including one for six from three-point range. Bryant began the season in 12th place on the all-time scoring list, but has passed four legends this season. Kobe passed former Celtic John Havlicek on December 10, passed Dominique Wilkins on January 4, passed Oscar Robertson on January 7, and passed Hakeem Olajuwon on January 28:

NBA All-Time Scoring List
Rank Player Points Avg
1 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar   38,387 24.6
2 Karl Malone 36,928 25.0
3 Michael Jordan 32,292 30.12
4 Wilt Chamberlain 31,419 30.07
5 Shaquille O'Neal 28,590 23.7
6 Moses Malone 27,409 20.6
7 Kobe Bryant 27,320 25.2
8 Elvin Hayes 27,313 21.0
9 Hakeem Olajuwon 26,946 21.8
10 Oscar Robertson 26,710 25.7
11 Dominique Wilkins   
26,668 24.8
12 John Havlicek
26,395 20.8

The Lakers were up 90-87 with Lamar Odom going to the line with 10.9 seconds remaining, trying to ice the game. But Odom missed both free throws, giving the Thunder a chance to tie. On their final possession, Kevin Durant and James Harden both missed three-pointers that would have tied the game. Durant scored 21 for Oklahoma City, and Russell Westbrook led the Thunder with 22 points, and had six rebounds and six assists. The Lakers head to Minnesota to face the Timberwolves on Tuesday night.

For more information on today's game, be sure to read Silver Screen and Roll.