The Oklahoma City Thunder outlasted the Lakers, 104-103, on Friday night at Staples Center in a close fourth quarter that saw the lead change seven times in the last five minutes.
Kobe Bryant missed a jumper by nearly a foot with 55.9 seconds left with the Lakers down a point. Russell Westbrook converted his attempt with 38.2 seconds left to put the Thunder ahead by three points, 104-101.
Jeremy Lin got the Lakers to within a point with 32.5 seconds left, which was followed by a Lakers stop. But Bryant’s final shot at the buzzer wouldn’t drop for the win.
Westbrook was the game’s leading scorer with 31 points to go along with 10 assists. Reggie Jackson added 25 points off the bench for the Thunder, who were playing without reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Kevin Durant (ankle).
Serge Ibaka added 16 points for the Thunder, who shot 43% from the field and 75.9% (22 of 29) from the free-throw line.
The Lakers had six players in double figures, but not Bryant, who finished with nine points on three-of-15 shooting (20%), eight rebounds and eight assists.
Ed Davis led the Lakers with 18 points. Ronnie Price scored 14 in the first quarter but didn’t add to that total. Carlos Boozer scored 14, Jeremy Lin 12 and Nick Young 10.
Young was ejected with 11:24 left in the third quarter after a tussle with Thunder center Steven Adams. Young was called for a flagrant foul 2, which could warrant a suspension.
As a team, the Lakers shot 48.2% from the field while making 11 of 15 (73.3%) free throws.
The Lakers (8-18) travel to Sacramento on Sunday to play the Kings (11-15). The Thunder (13-14) return home to play the New Orleans Pelicans (13-12), also on Sunday.
Thunder 82, Lakers 73 (end of third quarter)
A late Carlos Boozer turnover led to a buzzer-beating three-pointer from Anthony Morrow, giving the Thunder a nine-point lead -- their biggest of the game -- to end the third quarter.
Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook leads all scorers with 25 points while guard Reggie Jackson added 19 off the bench and forward Serge Ibaka has 14.
The Lakers have gotten 14 points apiece from Ronnie Price and Ed Davis on a combined 11-for-16 shooting.
Kobe Bryant’s difficult night continued, making two of 10 shots for seven points, although he did lead the Lakers with seven assists.
Westbrook has nine assists for the Thunder, who shot 45.2% from the field.
The Lakers made 46.7% of their shots but turned the ball over nine times compared to just four for Oklahoma City.
Thunder 52, Lakers 50 (halftime)
The Lakers were unable to hold their early lead, which had climbed to as high as 11 points. Instead, the Thunder climbed ahead by the end of the half for a two-point lead.
Thunder All-Star guard Russell Westbrook leads all scorers with 21 points in 17 minutes. He made all 13 of his free throws in the half. Reggie Jackson added 12 off the bench for Oklahoma City, which made 42.5% of its shots from the field.
Lakers point guard Ronnie Price scored 14 points in the first quarter but didn’t add to his total in the second. Kobe Bryant shot one for six from the field for four points in the half.
The Lakers shot 44.2% from the field as a team. They attempted only eight free throws compared to 16 for the Thunder.
Lakers 26, Thunder 20 (end of first quarter)
Ronnie Price nearly hit his career high of 18 points by scoring 14 in nine minutes to help the Lakers get off to a quick start against the Thunder.
The Lakers led by as many as 11 points, shooting 45.8% from the field. Kobe Bryant didn’t score in 12 minutes, but the team finished the quarter ahead of the Thunder by six.
Perry Jones started in place of Durant, going scoreless in five minutes.
Russell Westbrook leads Oklahoma City with nine points in nine minutes. The Thunder shot just 31.6% from the field.
The Lakers (8-17) have been off since Monday, but they’ll return to the court on Friday night, hosting the Oklahoma City Thunder (12-14).
The Thunder are on the second night of a back-to-back, after Kevin Durant suffered a mild right ankle sprain in a loss to the Golden State Warriors and will be out against the Lakers.
The Lakers are still down Xavier Henry (Achilles), Ryan Kelly (hamstring), Steve Nash (back) and Julius Randle (leg).
For an in-depth breakdown, check out Preview: Lakers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder.