(Reuters) - Kobe Bryant’s new pass-friendly approach helped the Los Angeles Lakers overcome the NBA-leading Oklahoma City Thunder 105-96 on Sunday as they attempt to reverse their woeful start to the season.
Bryant again flashed his all-around game with 21 points, 14 assists and nine rebounds, matching his season-high in assists for a second straight game, and the host Lakers earned a second consecutive victory.
Los Angeles trailed 87-86 midway through the fourth but took control with a 9-2 run as Bryant engineered the triumph with a dazzling array shots and passes down the stretch.
NBA-leading scorer Kevin Durant had 35 points for Oklahoma City but the Thunder, who entered the matinee game with the league’s best record, were forced to relinquish their recent control over the Lakers.
Oklahoma City (34-11) beat Los Angeles in their two prior meetings this season and eliminated them from last season’s playoffs by winning four of five games in the second round.
In a balanced effort, six Lakers players reached double figures, including Steve Nash’s 17 points and Pau Gasol’s 16 points off the bench.
Los Angeles (19-25) had lost four straight before their recent renewal and are trying to claw their way back into the playoff picture.
Reporting by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by Frank Pingue