(LOS ANGELES) — The Los Angeles Lakers would not let a lead slip away this time in game 3. Kobe Bryant put on another vintage playoff performance and the Lakers hit 41 of 42 free throws to put away the Thunder late in the fourth and win the game 99-96.
Bryant scored 14 of his 36 points in the fourth quarter to bring the Lakers within one-game of tying the series up.
“It’s two games in a row now that we’ve controlled the tempo,” said Bryant. “There’s going to be games where I win them and there’s going to be games when I lose them, so I don’t care, I take them like a champ.”
Kevin Durant scored 31 points and had a chance to win it for the Thunder with seconds remaining but his shot was unable to fall.
“We’ve got a great veteran group of guys who have been through all this,” Lakers head coach Mike Brown said. “They stepped up to the plate and gave us a chance to win down the stretch.”
The Lakers will look to even up the series Saturday night in game 4.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN Newswire