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Meeks peaks in powering Lakers

Updated: 2014-03-11 09:00
By Associated Press in Los Angeles ( China Daily)

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 as 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 give up," Meeks said.

"The season isn't going the way that we planned, but we have 18 games left. We'll play 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 caught 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 fun to watch someone get better."

Durant had 27 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists for his third triple-double this season.

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," Meeks said.

"Being in a rhythm like that is fun, but getting a win is also fun.

"We were down 18, so I was trying to do anything I could to help the team get back in the game."

(China Daily 03/11/2014 page23)