For the second time in a week, the Oklahoma City Thunder absolutely humiliated the Los Angeles Lakers. The first time was a 40-point destruction in Oklahoma City last Saturday that didn’t feature Kobe Bryant, and the second was a 120-85 beat down at Staples Center on Wednesday night.
Amidst the carnage, Bryant was able to laugh as he matched up with Kevin Durant for much of the night. On one particular sequence, Durant blocked Bryant twice within a matter of seconds, which actually brought a smile to the face of the retiring legend, according to ESPN’s Baxter Holmes:
Kobe had his moments against Oklahoma City, as he drew fouls on pump fakes against both Durant and Russell Westbrook. Bryant also recorded his second dunk of the season, although it wasn’t nearly as emphatic as his first:
— NBA (@NBA) December 24, 2015
While his final shooting numbers (19 points on 7-of-22 from the field) in the ugly loss weren’t any good, Kobe took everything in stride because this is his last year and he understands where the Lakers are as a team:
“Listen, you have to be realistic about what we’re facing and where we are right now as a team and as an organization,” Bryant said. “You can train a cat all you want to bark. The damn cat is not going to bark. There’s no sense in yelling at it. Simple as that.”
Durant scored 21 points on the night, and he relished one of his last opportunities to go up against Bryant:
“It was fun,” Durant said. “I take on those challenges, man, and me and him are great friends, but he’s the same way I am between those lines. We’re going to go at each other, no matter what. We can laugh and we can joke throughout the game and talk to each other, but the whistle sounds, we’re going to go at each other. And that’s just how it is. It was a great challenge for me.”
Durant also admitted it was “weird” to see the notoriously competitive Bryant laughing so much throughout the contest. The two exchanged shoes after the game, and Kobe wrote, “To KD: Be the greatest!” on the pair he gave Durant.
The Thunder and Lakers play each other two more times this season.