(SportsNetwork.com) - Kevin Durant will continue his campaign for MVP Thursday, when the Oklahoma City Thunder welcome the Los Angeles Lakers to Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Durant is the NBA's leading scorer with 31.9 points per game and is averaging 35.7 ppg in his last 12. He helped the Thunder to a 106-98 win over the Houston Rockets on Tuesday with a 42-point performance on 12-of-22 shooting. He also made 13-of-16 from the foul line.
Russell Westbrook scored 24 points and Serge Ibaka chipped in 12 to go with 16 rebounds, as the Thunder ended a two-game losing streak and won for the fourth time in the last six tries. Oklahoma City held the high-scoring Rockets to 41.8 percent shooting and used a 30-17 advantage in the second quarter to build a sizeable lead.
"Defensively I thought we did a great job of locking in for four quarters," said Westbrook.
The Thunder will close out their three-game homestand Sunday versus Dallas and have won four in a row in the OKC. They are 27-6 as the host, including a 17-2 mark against visiting Western foes.
Oklahoma City, which is headed toward another playoff berth, also sits one game behind San Antonio for the West's top seed.
Now that Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant is officially done for the season with a balky knee, the team can move on. The team made the announcement Wednesday.
"With Kobe's injury still not healed, the amount of time he'd need to rehab and be ready to play, and the amount of time remaining in the season, we've simply run out of time for him to return," Lakers trainer Gary Vitti said. "However, Kobe will have the entire offseason to heal, rehab and prepare, and we look forward to him being 100 percent for the start of next season."
Bryant also made a statement.
"Obviously this has been a frustrating and disappointing season, but I appreciate all the support I've received from the Lakers and the fans, and look forward to being back and ready for the start of training camp."
The Lakers will play two in a row on the road against Oklahoma City and San Antonio, and have an 11-22 record as the visitor this season.
The well-rested Lakers won the last time out in a 114-110 victory over the Thunder on Sunday and were led by Jodie Meeks' career-high 42 points. Meeks sank 6-of-11 3-pointers and scored 20 points in the third quarter, while Pau Gasol ended with 20 points and 11 rebounds for Los Angeles, which ended a three-game slide and won for just the fourth time in the past 14 tries.
"Jodie Meeks has been our most consistent performer all year," said Lakers head coach Mike D'Antoni.
In milestone news, Gasol will play in his 900th career game.
L.A. snapped a three-game losing streak to the Thunder last weekend, but has lost eight of the past 11 meetings between the teams. The Lakers have lost four in a row at Oklahoma City.