"I believe in Kevin, I believe in Russell, I believe in what our guys do," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "Some nights they're not going to fall for you, but if the execution is good and the shots are good, you have to live with the results."
World Peace was making major contributions to the Lakers on both ends of the court before his ejection for yet another unpredictable outburst in the erstwhile Ron Artest's long history of misbehavior.
World Peace, who changed his name last year, has been mostly well-behaved during his three seasons with the Lakers, even winning an award as the NBA's citizen of the year for his extensive charity work around mental-health issues. Yet he'll always be most famous for his 86-game suspension for participating in the brawl in the Palace of Auburn Hills stands while playing for Indiana in November 2004.
The Lakers pulled within one point on World Peace's dunk, but fell apart after the ejection, managing just 14 points in the next 14 minutes.
NOTES: The Lakers missed their first eight 3-pointers before Blake's 3 with 4:36 to play. ... Bryant wore no support on his knees, and Lakers point guard Ramon Sessions ditched the harness he has worn for several games on his sprained left shoulder. ... Derek Fisher got another loud ovation from his longtime Lakers fans when he checked in for the Thunder. The veteran point guard had five points. ... Jack Nicholson celebrated his 75th birthday in his usual courtside seat. Other fans near courtside included Denzel Washington, Will Ferrell, Mark Harmon, Ashton Kutcher, Steven Spielberg, Jerry Ferrara and Flea.