LOS ANGELES – From Jodie Meeks’ big day to the final result, this was definitely a surprise.
Meeks scored 24 of his career-high 42 points in the second half, and the Los Angeles Lakers beat Oklahoma City 114-110 on Sunday despite a triple-double by Thunder star Kevin Durant.
Pau Gasol added 20 points and 11 rebounds for the injury-ravaged Lakers, who had lost 29 of their previous 37 games. Meeks was 11 of 18 from the field and 14-for-14 at the line while becoming the third player to reach the 30-point mark this season for last-place Los Angeles (22-42).
“The most important thing is that we keep going out there and fighting and not giving up,” Meeks said. “The season isn’t going the way that we planned, but we still have 18 games left. So we’ll play them hard and see what happens.”
Meeks is averaging 19.2 points in 11 games since returning from a sprained right ankle. Before the injury, he was averaging 14.4.
“He got on fire,” coach Mike D’Antoni said. “He has really improved his game. Defensively, he was out of sight on Russell Westbrook the whole time. He put out a lot of energy in this game, but he has been doing that on a pretty consistent basis. Jodie has been our most consistent performer. It’s really fun to watch someone get better.”
Durant had 27 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists for his third triple-double this season. Serge Ibaka had 21 points and 15 boards for Oklahoma City.
The Thunder (46-17) began the day in a three-way tie with San Antonio and Indiana for the NBA’s best record. The Pacers played at Dallas on Sunday night and the Spurs were idle.
“We lost. In some games, someone will have 40 points on you that is not supposed to have 40,” Durant said. “We pressure hard so high out on the pick-and-roll that it opened everything up, and they exploited it. They were hitting the pocket passes and going through the lane to get the ball to their shooters. But that is how we play, so we have to figure out how to make second and third efforts.”
After giving up an average of 136 points over their previous three games while losing to New Orleans, the Clippers and Denver, the Lakers trailed the Thunder by as many as 18 in the second quarter before taking their first lead on a pair of free throws by Meeks that made it 71-70 with 4:35 left in the third.
“I was trying to get my teammates involved, and they did a great job finding me in transition and in some set plays. So I give credit to those guys for helping me out with a big game,” Meeks said. “Being in a rhythm like that is fun, but getting a win is also fun. That was most important thing. We were down 18, so I was trying to do anything I could to help the team get back in the game.”
The Thunder are 3-5 since beating the Lakers 107-103 at Staples Center on Feb. 13 behind 43 points by Durant, who is vying for his fourth scoring title in five seasons.
Bulls 95, Heat 88
In Chicago, Joakim Noah had 20 points and 12 rebounds, D.J. Augustin scored 22 and the Bulls beat Miami in overtime after Jimmy Butler blocked LeBron James at the end of regulation.
“I want what they have — a championship,” Noah said. “One day, we’re going to have to get through those guys.”
The Heat have owned them when it counts in recent seasons.
With a healthy Derrick Rose and the No. 1 seed in 2011, Chicago fell to Miami in the Eastern Conference finals. Last year, with Rose out, the Heat knocked off the Bulls in the second round on the way to their second straight championship.
“It’s still a good win,” Butler said. “It gives us confidence we can beat them. But . . . in the playoffs, like Thibs said, we can’t go around them; you’re going to have to go through them.”
Dwyane Wade scored 25 for Miami, but with James struggling again, the Heat dropped their third straight game to match their longest losing streak of the season.
James scored 17 points on 8-of-23 shooting and couldn’t come through after Miami blew a 12-point lead down the stretch. With a chance to win it at the end of regulation, he got stripped by Butler on a layup attempt.
In overtime, it was all Bulls.
Chicago outscored Miami 9-2, starting with Augustin’s 3 just under a minute in. Butler added a jumper from the wing, Noah scored on a putback and Butler hit two free throws to make it 95-86 with 1:33 left before James made a layup.
Noah also had seven assists and five blocks with his dad — tennis great Yannick Noah — looking on.
Butler added 16 points and 11 rebounds while containing James.
Mavericks 105, Pacers 94
In Dallas, Monta Ellis and Devin Harris scored 20 points apiece and the Mavericks extended Indiana’s season-worst losing streak to four games.
Rockets 118, Blazers 113 (OT)
In Houston, James Harden scored 41 points, Jeremy Lin had 26 and the Rockets rallied to beat Portland in overtime for their fifth straight victory.
Warriors 113, Suns 107
In Oakland, Stephen Curry overcame a strained right quad to finish with 18 points and nine assists.
Nets 104, Kings 89
In New York, Marcus Thornton scored 15 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter against his old team, and Joe Johnson added 18 points.
Pelicans 111, Nuggets 107 (OT)
In New Orleans, Anthony Davis tied his career high with 32 points, grabbed 17 rebounds and blocked six shots.
Raptors 111, Timberwolves 104
In Minneapolis, Kyle Lowry had 20 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists for his fourth career triple-double, lifting Toronto over the Timberwolves.
Celtics 118, Pistons 111
In Boston, Rajon Rondo had 11 points and a season-high 18 assists, Jeff Green scored 27 points and the Celtics had their second-highest scoring output of the season to defeat Detroit.