Oklahoma City rode the hot hand of Serge Ibaka and James Harden, who combined for 26 points, to take a 52-47 halftime lead over the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday in Los Angeles in a Western Conference game of high importance for the Thunder. World Peace led the Lakers with a dozen points at the intermission.
Both teams have clinched playoff spots, but the Thunder are in a virtual dead heat with the San Antonio Spurs, with three games left to play in the regular season for Oklahoma City and four remaining for San Antonio. The Thunder were just a half-game back of the Spurs heading into Sunday's NBA action. The team with the best conference record after the regular season ends on Thursday will have home-court advantage throughout the playoffs.
The Thunder shot 42 percent from the floor in the first 24 minutes on 18-for-43 shooting. and 50 percent from beyond the three-point line. The Lakers shot 41 percent from the field, and held a six-rebound advantage (28-22) in the opening half.