NBA: Durant shines as Thunder thump Lakers

NBA superstar Kobe Bryant, sidelined by a sore shoulder, could only watch on Saturday as Kevin Durant and the Thunder humbled his Los Angeles Lakers 118-78 in Oklahoma City.

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant chases the ball as Los Angeles Lakers forward Nick Young (0) falls to court in an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City.   -  AP

NBA superstar Kobe Bryant, sidelined by a sore shoulder, could only watch on Saturday as Kevin Durant and the Thunder humbled his Los Angeles Lakers 118-78 in Oklahoma City.

Durant scored 22 points and pulled down eight rebounds before resting the fourth quarter with the game well in hand.

Russell Westbrook scored 13 points and handed out 11 assists and center Enes Kanter added 19 points and 14 rebounds in 23 minutes on the floor as Oklahoma City overwhelmed a Lakers team on course for an even worse finish than their 21-61 record of last season.

“These guys looked like they were scared tonight, or intimidated by Durant and Westbrook,” Lakers coach Byron Scott said, decrying his team's display as “pathetic in every area.”

Scott had announced before tipoff that Bryant would sit out with a sore right shoulder. Bryant said the shoulder was troubling him even before he threw down his first dunk of the season against Houston on Thursday - no surprise since he had surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff in the same shoulder earlier this year.

“It's been sore for the last couple of games,” Bryant said. He added that the dunk “didn't help,” but said the flare-up wasn't unexpected as he pushes through his 20th and final season in the NBA. “It's pretty heavy duty surgery I had this summer so I think it's kind of logical to expect it to be sore at some point,” said Bryant, who hoped to be ready to play the Lakers' next game at Denver on Tuesday.

The Thunder, meanwhile, made it clear from the opening buzzer that they intended to bounce back from a loss at Cleveland on Thursday.

Durant was scoring from every angle, draining jump shots and powering to the rim. One drive saw him spin around Lakers forward Julius Randle and go up for a dunk that helped Durant finish the first quarter with 14 points.

“I lick my chops for whoever comes in,” Durant said of Bryant's absence. “No matter who it is - I try not to worry about it and just play my game.”

Oklahoma led 35-15 after the opening period, and never let up on the accelerator.

They led 67-41 at halftime, and even when Thunder coach Billy Donovan rested his starters in the fourth the Lakers were unable to narrow the gap.

Guard Lou Williams led the Lakers with 20 points. Guard Jordan Clarkson scored 15 as the Lakers dropped to 4-23.

Knicks beat weary Bulls

In New York, the Knicks beat a weary Chicago Bulls team 107-91.

Each team was playing its second game in as many days, but while the Knicks were coming off a straightforward win over the hapless Philadelphia 76ers, the Bulls lost in quadruple-overtime to the Detroit Pistons on Friday night and didn't even get to their New York hotel until nearly 5:00 am, coach Fred Hoiberg said.

Chicago center Pau Gasol, who played 48 minutes against Detroit, didn't make the trip.

French big man Joakim Noah got his first start of the season for the Bulls and scored 21 points, while Jimmy Butler and Derrick Rose both started for Chicago after playing more than 50 minutes each against Detroit.

Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks with 27 points. Arron Afflalo added 18, Lance Thomas chipped in 13 and rookie Kristaps Porzingis scored 10.

The Knicks, who won just 17 games last season, improved to 14-14.

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