Thunder visit Lakers in key Western Conference matchup

The Oklahoma City Thunder will continue their quest for the top seed in the Western Conference when they finish up a late season five- game road trip against a Los Angeles Lakers team trying to nail down the Pacific Division.

Oklahoma City trails San Antonio by one-half game for the conference's top spot with three games to play. The Lakers, meanwhile, hold a precarious half- game advantage over the Clippers for the Pacific crown as well as the third seed in the West.

The Thunder improved to 3-1 on their trek in Sacramento on Friday when Kevin Durant filled the stat sheet with 29 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists as Oklahoma City took care of business against the Kings, 103-92.

"Kevin was solid, that was a solid game, he filled out the stat sheet on just about every positive," coach Scott Brooks told the Thunder's website. "He rebounded, he passed and he made his teammates get good looks. He has to continue to focus on making his teammates look better and get better and make them get easier shots and he did that tonight."

James Harden chipped in 20 points, Russell Westbrook netted 18 and Serge Ibaka finished with 12 to go with eight blocks in the Thunder's second straight win.

"Everybody had it tonight. Russell sometimes, James, [Kendrick Perkins] in the first quarter," Durant said. "We just want to do a good job of playing together and getting a high number of assists."

The Lakers, meanwhile, welcomed Kobe Bryant back to the lineup on Friday in San Antonio but were routed by the Spurs 121-97.

Bryant had missed the previous seven games with a sore left shin. The Lakers went 5-2 over that span, but trailed by as many as 26 on Friday. Andrew Bynum scored 17 points in the setback, Bryant finished with 18 and Matt Barnes added 14.

"I'm back now," said Bryant. "It took me a half to get back to my regular self. In the second half, I felt like I had a good rhythm but the game just got away from us."

On a personal level Bryant leads the NBA in scoring at 27.9 point per game this season and is trying to hold off Durant (27.8), the reigning back-to-back NBA scoring champion.

The Thunder have won both of their earlier meetings with the Lakers this season and will be shooting for a season sweep over LA for the first time since 2000-01 when the franchise was still based in Seattle.