Lakers/Thunder: Pure Awfulness

Darius Soriano —  March 26, 2010

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Well, well, well.  The Lakers really know how to take the wind out of the sails of a winning streak.  Three days after having one of their better wins of the season, the Lakers come through with one of their worst games in recent memory.  The closest comparison is probably the Bobcats game that was in the middle of the Lakers three game losing streak, but that game was the 2nd night of a back to back and was at least in the 13-18 point range for most of the night.  This game, against the Thunder, was just plain awful.  It was flush down the toilette bad.  I immediately erased it from DVR so that it didn’t infect my cable box.  There were so many things wrong with this game that this recap is really a postmortem.  So here it is, bullet style:

*The Lakers scored their season low in points.  They had an offensive rating of 85.6.  Their true shooting was 45.5%.  And, if you were unlucky enough to watch this game you know that those numbers don’t even do this stink job justice.  I mean, Kobe was 4-11, Pau was 3-10, Fisher was 2-6, Ron was even worse at 1-6.  Even Odom, who didn’t shoot that poorly, needed 16 shots to score his 15 points.  No one played well on offense.  Oh sorry, Ammo and Powell combined for 14 points on 6-8 shooting.  I apologize that I barely noticed the taco unit putting up points when the game had been decided for the final 15 minutes of game time.

*In the preview, I mentioned that the Lakers needed to be conscientious about limiting the Thunder’s offensive rebounding and watching their turnovers committed.  And how did the Lakers do in those areas?  Well in the O-rebounding department, the Lakers only gave up 8.  But they made up for the success in that area by being awful in the turnover game.  18 TO’s for the Lakers with Kobe having 9 of them all by himself.  On Twitter, I mentioned that Kobe looked like the NY Giants version of Kurt Warner with all the fumbles, falling down, and passing to the other team.  But I really liked commenter Bobji’s description as well: “Kobe’s running with the ball like he’s wearing bowling shoes.” Save for a stretch where Kobe hit a few consecutive jumpers, #24 never looked uncomfortable in this game and it showed with his inability to control his dribble or make correct reads with the ball.  Give Thabo Sefolosha a ton of credit here as he stuck to Kobe better than most and didn’t fall for any of the head fakes or get distracted by his myriad of feints and hesitation moves.

*But it wasn’t just the offense that was bad, the defense was terrible too.  For pretty much the entire game Russell Westbrook got to the places on the floor where he felt comfortable and knocked down shots.  23 points on only 13 shots for Russ as he was the star of the show early and often for the Thunder.  And as for Durant, he was able to free himself up on curls and as a ball handler on the P&R to create good looks for himself.  He stroked his pretty jumper when he had space and attacked the rim when he got a step on his defender.  Early on that defender was Artest, but after some early foul trouble it was Kobe.  Then after some cross matching and switching on defense it was Shannon Brown.  But in the end it didn’t matter.  KD had 26 points on 19 shots and would have had 30+ easily had he not shot so poorly from three point range (1-7 on some pretty good looks).

I’d give you more, but what is the point?  The Lakers were beaten handily tonight by a team that wanted this game more and played like it.  The Thunder came out with a ton of energy and an offensive focus that the Lakers did not even attempt to match.  And their defense was superb as they made entry passes difficult and denied ball reversals very well.  Ultimately, my more positive self says that there are games like this and let’s just move on.  But, in the back of my mind, the negativity of another loss where the Lakers just didn’t seem to show up is frustrating.  I hate to over analyze a game like this because it truly was an awful performance.  But the Lakers have given us a few too many of these games this season and that is worrisome.  Do I think this type of game is more than just one loss?  No, I do not.  But do I see the Lakers offering up at least one of these in the playoffs?  I sure do.  We’ll have to see if/when they do how much it impacts the series that they’re playing.

Darius Soriano

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