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Lakers rout Thunder, Lillard's 41 helps Bucks sink Clippers

Luguentz Dort (5) moves to the basket against Spencer Dinwiddie (26).— USA TODAY Sports
Luguentz Dort (5) moves to the basket against Spencer Dinwiddie (26).— USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES: D'Angelo Russell scored 26 points as the Los Angeles Lakers produced a dominant defensive display to upset the Oklahoma City Thunder 116-104 on Monday.

Russell and Anthony Davis (24) combined for 50 points while LeBron James added 19 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists in an ultimately comfortable win for the 17-time NBA champions.

Oklahoma City went into the game as leaders of the Western Conference and they started smoothly, opening up a 12-point lead early in the first quarter.

But some stubborn defending and Russell's hot hand hauled the Lakers back into contention, and a big second-quarter — outscoring the Thunder 27-18 — gave them a lead they held for the remainder of the contest.

"Early on they made some shots and we turned the ball over, but we didn't totally collapse," Lakers coach Darvin Ham said.

"We continued to defend. I told the team at half-time: 'That's the best defensive half I've seen all season.'

"Kudos to our guys — they stepped up and defended really, really well."

The Lakers defence restricted Thunder star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to 20 points, while Chet Holmgren finished with 15 and Josh Giddey 13.

The defeat knocked Oklahoma City (42-19) out of top spot in the West, with the Minnesota Timberwolves taking over first place. The Lakers improved to 34-29 to sit in ninth.

Elsewhere, Damian Lillard produced a dazzling 41-point display as the Milwaukee Bucks shrugged off the injury absence of Giannis Antetokounmpo to defeat the Los Angeles Clippers 113-106.

- 'Embraced it' -

But Lillard and Bobby Portis caught fire in the fourth as the Bucks outscored the Clippers 40-25 to pull clear and seal the win before a fired-up Milwaukee crowd.

Lillard finished with four rebounds and four assists along with his 41 points, while Portis stepped up with 28 points and 16 rebounds.

Milwaukee improved to 41-21, leaving them second place in the Eastern Conference behind Boston (48-12).

"We're just playing together on both sides of the ball," Lillard said.

Bucks coach Doc Rivers accused some members of his team as being in holiday-mode prior to last month's All-Star game mid-season break.

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