Los Angeles: Kobe Bryant has been making more passes than shots lately and the results have been impressive for the Los Angeles Lakers, who toppled Oklahoma City from the NBA’s best record on Sunday.
Bryant scored 21 points, shooting 8-of-12, and added 14 assists and nine rebounds to spark the Lakers over the Thunder 105-96. Bryant also had 14 assists for the Lakers on Friday in a victory over Utah.
The Lakers, who have struggled most of the season with injuries and blending talented newcomers to holdover players, improved to 19-25 while the Thunder fell to 34-11, stumbling behind San Antonio (36-11) for the overall NBA lead.
Two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Steve Nash scored 17 points while Spaniard Pau Gasol added 16 in a reserve role and Metta World Peace scored 15 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.
Dwight Howard spent much of the game in foul trouble and finished with eight points and 10 rebounds.
NBA scoring leader Kevin Durant netted a game-high 35 points while Russell Westbrook contributed 17 points with 13 assists. Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins each added 10 points in a losing cause.
Kevin Garnett scored 24 points to lead Boston over Miami 100-98 in two overtimes on Sunday but the joy of ending a six-game losing skid was dimmed by the loss of Rajon Rondo for the season.
The Celtics announced during the game that star point guard Rondo, voted by fans as an Eastern Conference starter in the NBA All-Star Game, will miss the remainder of the season with a torn right knee ligament.
“We’ve just to rally around each other,” Celtics forward Paul Pierce said. “I feel for him. He was having such a great season. I’m disappointed for him.”
Rondo suffered the injury in Boston’s double-overtime loss at Atlanta and was dropped from the lineup to face Miami at the last minute and sent to a Boston hospital for medical tests that revealed the extent of the injury.
Rondo, who has averaged an NBA-best 11.1 assists plus 13.7 points over 38 games this season, will have surgery at a date yet to be determined, the team said.