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Thunder praise the Lakers after losing

December 23, 2009 |  8:26 am

Durant It was an ugly win Tuesday night for the Lakers, 101-108, over Oklahoma City, and Phil Jackson wasn't happy about his team's performance.

But in the loser's locker room at Staples Center, the young Thunder team and its coach was effusive in their compliments for the Lakers after dropping another one to the defending champs.

Thunder forward Kevin Durant led his team with 30 points. Durant told the Oklahoma News: "I know we don't like to take moral victores. But tonight we showed a lot of toughness, a lot of maturity. It was a tough loss. But we were right there at the end and could have won the game."

Ex-Bruin point guard Russell Westbrook had a strong game for the Thunder with 21 points, 13 assists and only two turnovers. "Honestly, I think we've made that next step. The Lakers are a great championship team. We did a good job competing. Tonight, it's just unfortunate we had a couple of missed shots at the end."

And Thunder Coach Scott Brooks: "Kobe needed every one of his 40 points tonight to beat us. I have a lot of respect for how he plays. He brings it every night...

"The Lakers are an elite, championship team right now. They're the best team in basketball."

-- Barry Stavro

Photo: Kevin Durant. Credit: Jae C. Hong / Associated Press