LAS VEGAS --The Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder, 74-68, in 2009 NBA Summer League action on the campus of the University of Nevada - Las Vegas this afternoon. James Harden scored a game-high 23 points, but the effort wasn't enough to overcome Adam Morrison's 17 points and the Lakers.
"I have to give all the credit to the players in this one - they came out and played hard and won this one for us," said Lakers head coach Chucky Brown. "At halftime we told them to keep playing hard, and they got it done."
A close game throughout, the teams knotted in seven ties and the lead changed hands eight times before the final buzzer sounded. The Thunder, who led for much of the fourth quarter, were overtaken by the Lakers in the fourth quarter, 63-62 and were never able to regain it before suffering the eventual six-point loss.
Harden, the third overall selection in the 2009 NBA Draft was three-for-three in the first quarter scoring six points. His sharp-shooting contributed to the Thunder's 82 percent first quarter from the field. The teams traded baskets in the first, with the Lakers controlling a small lead throughout. Only three Lakers scored in the first quarter, with Chinemelu Elonu scoring five points and Shakur and Morrison each scoring six. The Thunder eeked out a 19-17 advantage at the end of one.
In the second period, Morrison scored six points, en route to 12 in the half, to pace the Lakers who finished the half down four, 38-34.
Harden scored 11 points in the third quarter, including sinking two long-range attempts as the back-and-forth game continued in the second half. The Lakers regained the lead, 40-38 early in the period but Oklahoma City wouldn't relinquish it easily, regaining it 49-47 before finishing up the period with a five-point advantage, 56-51.
B.J. Mullens and Kyle Weaver each scored 10 in the loss for Oklahoma City.