Every time they needed a basket, the Lakers turned to a trusty shooting guard. Every time he touched the ball, the suddenly energetic crowd at Staples Center stood up in anticipation. And his prolific scoring and hustle carried the Lakers at least for one day out of the endless mess.

No, Kobe Bryant’s fractured left leg didn’t heal and allow him to play. But in the Lakers’ unexpected 114-110 victory Sunday over the Oklahoma City Thunder at Staples Center, Jodie Meeks provided a few ingredients Bryant once routinely mixed together.

Meeks set career highs in points (42) and free throws made (14 of 14) in becoming the first Lakers player other than Bryant to score so many points since Andrew Bynum on Jan. 21, 2009. Meeks sparked an offense the Lakers (22-42) have seen happen in waves amid an injury-plagued season. After once trailing by as many as 18 points against the Western Conference-leading Thunder (46-17), Meeks’ offensive fluidity suddenly sparked the Lakers into building a cushion as large as 18 points.

“More importantly, we got the win,” Meeks said. “When I score a bunch of points and we lose, it’s a great individual performance. But the team didn’t win.”

The Lakers have experienced plenty of those episodes. They just finished a see-saw week that included a surprising upset of Portland, their worst loss in franchise history against the Clippers and more non-existent defense against New Orleans and Denver.

The Lakers snapped a three-game losing streak agaainst the Western Conference-leading Thunder (46-17), who stewed afterwards about Meeks embarrassing them. So much that Russell Westbrook declined to talk about Meeks and Kevin Durant spoke in frustration.