Lakers Get ByThunder 99-96

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Kobe Bryant scored 36 points and the Lakers hit 41-42 from the free-throw line to take Game 3 over the Thunder in Los Angeles

The Lakers did not commit a turnover the final 2:56, a key in the 12-6 closing run that produced the 99-96 victory and cut the Thunder lead in the best-of-seven series to 2-1. Game 4 is here Saturday night in a rare playoff back-to-back, before the series shifts back to Oklahoma City for Game 5 on Monday.

Just as importantly, the Lakers were 17 of 18 from the line in the fourth. Of course they were. They were nearly perfect the entire night, converting 41 of 42 free throws, and finished the game in appropriate fashion.

“We fouled too many times,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “That’s the bottom line. Forty-two is a high number. It’s more than they average. A lot more than they average.”

True. The Lakers of the regular season shot 24.1 free throws a game.

With the season likely hanging in the balance, given the very slim chances of recovering from a 3-0 deficit, the Lakers got 41 points from the line alone. Kobe Bryant was 18 of 18, en route to the game-high 36 points. Andrew Bynum, while missing 11 of 13 field goals, was 11 of 12 from the stripe.

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