Oklahoma City • When the Los Angeles Lakers and Oklahoma City last met, Metta World Peace delivered an elbow that sent the Thunder’s James Harden home with a concussion.
It’s the Lakers who are smarting after the playoff rematch.
Russell Westbrook had 27 points and nine assists, Kevin Durant added 25 points and the Thunder blasted the weary Lakers 119-90 on Monday night in the opening game of the Western Conference semifinals.
The Thunder took a 15-point halftime lead, opened the third quarter with a 15-2 blitz filled with crowd-pleasing 3-pointers and dunks and never looked back.
“From then on, it was cruising for us,” Westbrook said. “When our team plays like that throughout the game, we put ourselves in a good opportunity to win.”
Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum scored 20 points each for the Lakers, and Bynum had 14 rebounds.
Two games after trailing by as many as 28 points in a blowout loss in Game 6 in Denver, it got even worse as the Lakers were down by as many as 35. They responded to their last loss by beating the Nuggets 96-87 in a thrilling Game 7 on Saturday night.
They’ll need another big bounce back for Game 2 in Oklahoma City on Wednesday night.
“We got beat tonight. You can say anything you want to about a seven-game series and us having a day or whatever,” Los Angeles coach Mike Brown said. “The bottom line is this is the playoffs, we’ve got to come to play and we didn’t. We got beat.
“It’s one game, so we’ve got to bounce back for the next one.”
The Thunder didn’t need any dirty tactics to get even for World Peace’s suspension-worthy transgression. The league’s most turnover-prone team — committing 16.4 per game in the regular season — gave it away only four times, a record low for the franchise.
“I think that’s huge,” coach Scott Brooks said. “Four — we’ve had that the first 6 minutes of games at times.”
While the Lakers were making a quick turnaround less than 48 hours after ending the first round, the Thunder had eight full days off following their first-round sweep of defending NBA champion Dallas.
It got out of hand just after halftime, in highlight-reel fashion.
Durant lobbed the ball to Westbrook for a two-handed slam, then connected on a 3-pointer from the left wing to draw a timeout from Brown.
That still didn’t slow down Oklahoma City, which got what could have been a costly two-handed dunk from Perkins on its next trip and then another 3 from Durant before Thabo Sefolosha swiped the ball from Bryant and ran out for a layup that made it 74-46 with 8:39 left in the period.
Brooks said Perkins could have returned to play in the game but would be re-assessed on Tuesday. Perkins had missed most of the week of practice after straining a muscle in his right hip in the final game of the Dallas series.
That was about the only negative for the Thunder, who tied for the 12th-worst blowout in Lakers playoff history.
“I’m always saying, ‘We can’t get too high and we can’t get too low.’ ... You know those guys are going to come out and play extremely hard,” Durant said.
Both coaches started going to their benches with 8½ minutes left.
Up next in West
P L.A. Clippers at San Antonio,Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.
TV • TNT • L.A. Lakers atOklahoma City,Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.
TV • TNT