Lakers/Thunder: Game 2 Preview and Chat

Darius Soriano —  April 20, 2010

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One of my favorite things about the playoffs are the adjustments that teams make.  The playoffs are like a drawn out chess match where coaches study the film, look at what both sides did to be successful, and then try to replicate that for their own team and put schemes into place to slow down the opposition.  Every game, every detail is looked at meticulously in order to try and gain an advantage.  This series will be no different and tonight we get to see which coaching staffs make the appropriate adjustments to give their players the edge.  As someone that loves the X’s and O’s of the game, this punch/counterpunch exchange that is drawn up by the coaches and acted out by the players is one of the best parts of the second season.

For the Thunder they need to try and find a way to continue the success that Russell Westbrook had in game one while also having some of their other players join the party.  First and foremost, that means getting Kevin Durant on track.  In the last game, KD struggled mightily when trying to shake free from Ron Artest’s smothering defense.  Over at Pro Basketball Talk, Kurt explained what the Thunder did to try and free Durant and how Artest combatted it:

To help Durant out, the Thunder ran some simple plays right out of every NBA playbook — some cross screens, some pindowns — trying to free Durant up on the strong side. Artest just blew those up and was in Durant’s grill the whole time. Two reasons for that. First, Artest has been seeing those since he entered the league. Artest is a smart player, a savvy one. If he knows it’s coming, you’re not going to succeed with it very often. You have to do better than the basics to catch him off guard.

Second, there isn’t a player strong enough on the Thunder to set a pick Artest can’t run through, especially on the screen-and-roll. Much like Durant himself, this is a young and lanky team. That serves them well in transition, not as well in a game of physical half-court sets.

The Lakers bigs also defended the picks well, they showed out on Durant enough until Artest arrived, which was not long. The Lakers were well prepared for this part of the Thunder playbook.

Brooks and his staff have to figure out ways to get Durant free. That may be better putting Durant on the weakside then using quick ball rotation to get him the ball in isolation. They can’t keep running basic sets and keep Durant on the strong side.

The Thunder will need to find a way to combat the way that the Lakers played these screen actions.  As Kurt suggests isolating Durant on the weakside and then reversing the ball to get him some touches may be a good place to start.  I also think that rather than starting Durant on the low block and then running pin down actions for him, they may want to run more actions where KD is at the extended wing and then move him across the court or towards the basket so he can catch the ball on the move more.  Artest is a demon when he can get you in his crosshairs and focus on a stationary target – something he proved again in Game 1.  Needless to say, the Thunder need to try and avoid those situations tonight if they hope to get KD going.

Conversely, the Lakers must continue to find a way to keep Durant under wraps (while also anticipating some of the Thunder’s adjustments and scheming for them), but their bigger task is figuring out a way to control Westbrook.  In game one, Russ was able to spring free in the open court and find creases in the Lakers half court D.  Russ got almost all of his baskets in the lane off pull up jupmers and hard drives to the rim.  So, the Lakers need to devise a plan to build that wall and keep Westbrook out of the paint and at a distance where he is less dangerous.

The first way they can accomplish this by being more selective on offense and not taking so many long jumpers with an unbalanced floor.  Too many times in Game 1, the Lakers took jumpers from the baseline with players in motion moving towards the basket.  When those rebounds went long, the Thunder were able to race up the court and create 3 on 2 or even 3 on 3 scenarios where Westbrook could play in space in one on one situations.  If the Lakers can limit these opportunities, it will go a long way in containing Westbrook.  This is obviously a major point of emphasis with the Lakers coaches, so we’ll see how successful they’ll be in executing their plans to hold Russ down better than in the last game.

Offensively, adjustments are also in order for the Lakers.  As we discussed in the posts proceeding game 1, the Lakers struggled with the fronting of their post players.  If the Lakers are to exploit their biggest advantage (their size inside), they need to find a way to consistently get the ball to Pau and Bynum on the block and let them work against the undersized Thunder.  My first suggestion would be to start the offense on the extended wing in the standard formation for a sideline initiation (ball handler at the hash mark, another player in the corner, post man at the low block).  At this point, if the post man is open, pass it to him.  However, if the post man is being fronted, the Lakers should pass the ball to the corner to flatten out the passing angle to the post man.  This pass to the corner not only initiates some of our offensive movement, but it should also help the  post player create a natural seal to the baseline side so that receiving the pass is much easier.  After the catch is made, the post player can go to work as normal.  My second suggestion would be to play more high low where the weakside big man flashes to the FT line in order to recieve a pass and then allow an easier angle to make a  lob pass over the top of the fronting defender.  If the Lakers can find ways to use either of these tactics, I believe they’ll have success against the Thunder’s fronting schemes.

Understand, that while Game 1 set the tone for the series, Game 2 can be the first real nail in the Thunder’s coffin.  OKC does not want to go home down 0-2 to the Lakers and facing the prospect of winning 4 of the next 5 games.  Like any other team that starts a series on the road, the Thunder had to come into these first two games thinking that all they needed was a split in LA to then have the advantage going back to their home arena.  Phoenix and Denver have already dropped games at home and lost their home court advantage.  The Lakers need to take note of those games and come out today to seize complete control in this series.  A win tonight can be the difference between a potential sweep (though I think 5 games is more likely) and a 6 or 7 game slugfest.  Focus, defense, and offensive execution will be the usual keys to produce a win.  Tonight we see if the Lakers can build on game one’s success and do what’s necessary to earn another victory.


Darius Soriano

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304 responses to Lakers/Thunder: Game 2 Preview and Chat

  1. warren.

    let’s go baby!

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  2. This one is also for Kobe – he will have a good (shooting) game. Period.

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  3. @Darius think you meant to put comment #2 on the previous thread

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  4. 3, I don’t care so much about kobe this round– would rather force feed OKC a steady diet of Drew, Pau, and Lamar. Kobe’s D in game one was terrific– a repeat performance would be enough to make me happy.

    That said, I agree that the Mamba is due for a Mamba-like game and we’re going to need him at his best as we go forward.

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  5. #3. Don,
    Whatever do you mean? I don’t see a comment from me. 😉 As you can see, I fixed it. Thanks for the heads up. Hahaha.

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  6. I’ve been webmastered.

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  7. Game 2 is such a pivotal contest in the first round. We have to make the homecourt count- that means bringing the same defensive effort from Game 1 and coupling that with a smarter, more inside-out approach on offense.

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  8. @don – there’s no shame in that, we all gotta go through this on our journey to enlightenment… 🙂

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  9. One thing I will say for Artest: His intensity never seems to waver. I have every expectation that he will hound Durant again tonight. Wouldn’t surprise me to see Brooks get a technical while complaining about it.

    Feed the beasts down low, play hard defense, take smart open looks.

    When you have talent, all you have to do is perform the basics correctly.

    Go Lakers.

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  10. Artest is 6th in DPOY voting. I can see 3rd or 4th, but 6th seems a little low to me. Looking at the other names…East Coast bias anyone?

    I suspect he will be highly motivated tonight. But I think Durant will be, too. Should be an epic series between those two however many games it goes.

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  11. ^4 games :]

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  12. Expect to see OK come our running. I predict they will be up at half but the Lakers led by Kobe will come back and go ahead to win by 3 in the 4th.

    Expect bigger game from LO and Pau will be huge on offense,

    So there now we don’t have to watch thr game.

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  13. I was a little confused about the fouls called when Durant swung his arms through Ron’s body. Kobe does this move all the time, but he catches players with their hands on his arms. Don’t see how it’s a defensive player’s bourdon to avoid Durant whipping his wet noodles at their body.

    discuss.

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  14. If only it could be that simple ken. these are the lakers, so it’s going to have to be more dramatic somehow.

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  15. Game 2 will be a blowout. There, I called it first right here.

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  16. i want to ask the same question as jon.
    There was a play durant smacked the ball into artest’s chest and it was called artest foul. The commenters all agreed on the foul…but I dont get why it’s the defender’s fault if the guy with the ball smacks the ball into the defender’s chest.

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  17. @16 – it was my belief that regardless if the ball hits the defensive player that still counts as impeding the progress of the offensive player hence the foul call? That’s just my understanding of the call.

    Also I think Ron will have a great game tonight. He seemed pretty upset at the DPOY results so I expect him to take it out on KD and hit some of those open 3’s. Let’s go Lakers!

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  18. My predictions for tonight:

    1. Durant will be out for revenge and blood. He’s a competitive guy, and it was blindingly obvious he was, ahem, unhappy, with his performance and impact in Game 1.

    2. Kobe will take his frustrations at his own lackluster performance in Game 1 out on any Thunder players that comes too close. He will either win the game for us, or he will force things he shouldn’t and potentially cost us the game instead. Live by the Kobe, die by the Kobe. Either way… look for him to explode. He’s frustrated.

    3. Ron will be completely unafraid of anything the Thunder attempt to do to get Durant free to work, and will continue to harass, pester, and hound Kevin Durant as only he can. Ron is in full rottweiler-mode, and he knows very well what the team and coaches need him to do. He’ll get it done and done well, and come back for Game 3 with a vengeance. (Have I mentioned lately that I’m really starting to like Ron Artest as a player? He’s still certifiably crazy off the court, but on the court, he’s gold.)

    4. Jeff Van Gundy will say something completely off the wall incoherent at least twice in the first half.

    Uh-oh… there’s a major thunder storm coming in towards my area. Does anyone know what kind of sacrifice the thunder gods demand before they will agree not to strike any TV tower or my satellite dish at least until the playoffs are over?

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  19. Wasn’t there a Game before the Lakers one on TNT? Seems like only Boston showed up.

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  20. Here is Rule #12:

    http://www.nba.com/analysis/rules_12.html?nav=ArticleList

    I cannot find anything in it that specifies that particular type of contact as a foul, either way.

    In FIBA it would be a “Cylinder Violation”, and a judgment call by the official as to which player enter which player’s cylinder.

    The NBA doesn’t use that definition though, so I have no idea…

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  21. any links? thanks!

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  22. @ Mimsy – I think you’ll need to sacrifice a live chicken? lol

    I expect to see Kobe on Westbrook early as I don’t see Westbrook playing the facilitator role early as he probably gained confidence in the last game by how easy he was getting into the lane. However when he went on that 8 point tear our big man Drew was on the bench so here’s hoping Drew plays some more minutes and makes Westbrook think twice about taking it to the rim.

    Although I think KD will shoot better I also think Kobe will go Mamba tonight; he is clearly frustrated with the media/himself and I think he’ll be aggressive from the outset.

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  23. Well, at least TNT turned away from the massacre in Boston. Now they have Kenny, Charles, and Ernie calling the Suns-Blazers game, and Kenny just said that the Blazers miss Outlaw and Blake. Umm, Kenny, they’re 16-3 or 17-3 with Camby. They don’t miss Outlaw when they already have Batum and Webster, and they don’t miss Blake when they have Bayless.

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  24. @Rich,
    I did sacrifice chicken breasts to the flames of my gas-stove… does that count?

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  25. Again, Fish did just fine guarding Westbrook in the half court. He scored the majority of his points in transition. He would have scored those buckets even if Kobe had been assigned to him. I’d rather have Kobe conserve energy most of the game by guarding OKC’s non-entity SG.

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  26. @ Mimsy
    Hmm I think that’ll do nicely! And maybe it’s an omen? I mean we are playing the Thunder and thunder storms are considered bad so maybe just maybe that means that OKC will play bad?

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  27. Anyone got a video feed yet for the game? I’m stuck with no coverage :(((

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  28. Recipe for Game #2 Success: Stick to the Script.

    1. Lock in defensively.
    2. Execute offensively from the inside – out.
    3. Limit Turnovers, which diminishes their open court/transition opportunities (Westbrook).
    4. Don’t take bad/forced shots from the perimeter.

    If we apply these 4 principles, no reason why we shouldn’t be headed to OKC up 2-0.

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  29. man miami blew a golden opportunity. this game might have cost their series and their season already.

    phoenix looking set to win but portland has that swagger about them.

    i can’t help but want utah to keep winning. do we take an easy route to the finals or do we take the tough uphill climb? right now, i want us to have as much rest as possible.

    most interested to see ron-ron. i want to see some consistency from him on both ends. his D is great, his offense is needed. it won’t hurt to put up HOU numbers right? even as a fourth option?

    spoiled wishing.

    GO LAKERS!

    GO LAKERS!

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  30. Kobe hits his first shot, hope this is a good sign that he will be on tonight

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  31. Either it’s the chicken breasts, or the sliced peaches, crushed red peppers and chili powder that I offered together with them, but the thunder storm seems to have passed…! I will knock on wood, eat more chicken, and hope for the best as I keep watching.

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  32. Kobe’s shot looks really flat.

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  33. I don’t like that OKC is taking so many threes. They are a worse 3 point shooting team than we are and even if they hit a few that’s a recipe for failure.

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  34. 7 FGA between Fish and Kobe so far, 0 for Bynum and Gasol combined…

    oh, there’s Pau’s first!

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  35. how hard is it to pass it down low?

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  36. goodness fisher is doing a westbrook…or an andre miller to begin

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  37. there you go kobe, attack! attack!

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  38. yes! Thanks jonn matrix!

    atdhe was the only one I could get to work, and the quality is good 🙂

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  39. I lost my internet connection for a while there (I can only assume the thunder gods disapprove of chili powder), so I didn’t get a chance to post this until now: Ron’s hair color is considerably improved from the last game. the purple logos, the consistent non-blotchy gold… it all bodes well.

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  40. Good patience by Brown these two games, saw that the Thunder big wasn’t coming out to meet him and so he pulled up with a nice jumper.

    LO needs to know that KD loves that swing through move so he should be prepared for it when he’s playing tight.

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  41. Here’s to hopin Kobe finds his rhythm again. It seems to be eating into his aggressiveness/confidence attacking the basket

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  42. Thunder with another dismal shooting in the 1st (6-of-21, 28% FG).
    Durant with 10 points on 9 shots early. Artest is getting bored with that matchup.

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  43. We could be up by 29 if someone hadn’t of served popcorn with butter before the game. Slippery hands!

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  44. I’ve counted 2 legit post-ups in this game. Gasol against Green is our single biggest advantage in this game but Gasol didn’t even get the ball down low until about 7 or 8 minutes into the game.

    I do like how they are walling off Durant and also any time OKC has forced a switch to get a good matchup to negate the advantage.

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  45. Lakers looking pretty good again. But this is exactly the first round matchup we all hoped the Lakers would get…OKC just can’t hang with this squad physically.

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  46. Up by double digits with Westbrook coming in against our bench, here’s where we need to keep the lead.

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  47. Rich – Excellent point. If this lead can be maintained during a stretch with Westbrook on the floor and the majority of our starters on the bench, it will be a good sign.

    It would also be good if Drew would stop getting called for travelling violations!

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  48. What I really, really liked about Bynum just then: A couple of turnovers, and a good reason to feel frustrated and what he did was grab a defensive rebound and then hit a face up jumper.

    Bynum of a few years ago might have sulked, or still been thinking about what he did wrong. Now he just goes back to work.

    Very good sign for the future.

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  49. Every time Fisher enters the open court, I automatically think, “Wasted possession.”

    He’s wasting these beautiful defensive plays. Slow the frick down.

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  50. AusPhil – thanks man, with some starters back in the bench basically did their job even in limited minutes and that’s what we need from them.

    As I say that great D from Artest but another breakdown in transition, looks like their to indecisive on what they should do so they make late passes which is leading to turnovers.

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  51. Wtf? You can’t pick up the ball, walk two steps, stop, AND then pivot, without shooting or getting rid of the ball. Where’s the travel???

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  52. Sorry for this but,,, has anyone seen a point guard worse on a fastbreak then Fish?

    ?

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  53. I don’t see him taking all that many PUJITS this game Snoopy…not sure what you mean.

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  54. How bout watching some footage of the Suns in the open court? 🙂

    Get this Chewbaca guy out of the game!

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  55. 50,

    Ditto. He’s a rookie on the open field.

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  56. Wow – can fish and the lakers run a decent fast break?! Man – they should be up by about 20 right now – they blew so many easy opportunities. Come on Lakers – take this team out already!!

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  57. It’s not the PUJITs, it’s the running blindly into a thicket of defenders and falling into the row of photographers. How have you missed that? Kobe rescued him earlier with a putback, and just now Fish threw a hopeless lob to Kobe after he realized he couldn’t score on the break.

    Also, credit where credit is due: I wouldn’t call the Thunder’s transition D great, but they’ve had some nice blocks recently.

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  58. unbelievable how this team can’t hit an open 3.

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  59. Come on Lakers, you had Thabo on AB but you attempt two 3’s instead? Really poor offensive execution these past few possessions which is allowing the Thunder to make a comeback.

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  60. Monty McCutchen April 20, 2010 at 8:35 pm

    Announcers just mentioned that the Lakers have 21 FGA in the paint but only 2 FTA. Compared to 10 FGA in the paint and 9 FTA for the Thunder. They are on to my tactics! Come on OKC start playing better so I don’t have to continue keeping you in the game!

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  61. Lakers, will not be able to get away with playing like this in Oklahoma. If our bigs do not start DUNKING; instead of taking that soft crap up around the rim, its going to be another home court loss in the playoffs!

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  62. As bad as Ok is playing most team in the West would be up by 30/ Guess that’s why we are 18th in shooting in the NBA.

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  63. By the opposite token Pau Gasol drives me crazy.

    He is so damn good, and I know that complaining about him is spurious, but he does so many things to perpetuate that “soft” label.

    He almost never finishes, nor rebounds strong.

    I swear to you, I have no idea how he gets his 18 and 12 a night… I really don’t…

    He is great, but he could be so dominant if he played a little stronger.

    1) Finish using dunks with BOTH hands around the rim.
    2) Pull down rebounds with BOTH hands.

    (Thanks Pau. Major rebound. Blocked shot. Ran the floor and stuffed it home. Make me look bad all you want big man. Have I mentioned he drives me crazy?)

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  64. looks like he listened to you…

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  65. Fisher with his first good decision tonight, pass to Gasol who dunks

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  66. Is there any coach for the Lakers? How about demanding they stop shooting 3s.

    Do they ever listen to Phil anymore?

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  67. I’ve never seen a team get swatted more than us. Seriously?

    Phx and Utah both shot over 49% from the field. Apparently, it’s not that hard…

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  68. I personally would love to see Gasol add a little more bulk to his frame. I think if he added a little more muscle to that skillset…he’d be unstoppable.

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  69. come on – everyone is praising Bynum but he isn’t playing against anyone big. Wait until he’s up against Shaq, Dhoward, Perkins, name it.

    Like Ken said, nearly any other playoff team in the west would be crushing the thunder by now.

    Come on lakers – you’re better than this!!! Let’s see you play some clean ball. Better passing – complete a fast break – dunk the ball on this small team with no inside presence.

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  70. I’m impressed by the shotblocking the Thunder have come up with today, especially in transition. I realize this isn’t vintage Kobe and he just doesn’t have that lift anymore, but still.

    Right now it seems like fastbreaks should only occur when we have a dunker running the floor; either a big or Shannon. Otherwise the fastbreak results have been pretty poor overall, at least as a % of the opportunities we’ve had.

    Durantula’s coming.

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  71. With all the blocks OKC is getting in the paint the Lakers should start using the up/pump fake to get the OKC defenders up in the air and hopefully draw some fouls or get easier buckets.

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  72. Turnovers, it appears as if the Lakers did not come out with the same focus as they did in game one. Did the Lakers not watch the Denver and Phoenix games?

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  73. Wow – Lakers just trying to give this game away. This is sickening!

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  74. Part of the problem is that Kobe’s finger has really messed him up. He used to be one of the top two or three offensive threats in the league and right now he isn’t that. It’s just the way things are and the Lakers will have to scrap and fight.

    Of course that doesn’t excuse not pounding the ball down low against OKC.

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  75. Kobe, you know I’ve pledged my eternal undying love to you, but was that really necessary? I feel bad, he’s trying to push through his limitations but he never even had control of the ball, and he just doesn’t have the quickness to split the double anymore.

    We need more patience offensively. That’s all, and we’ll be fine.

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  76. wow, the refs on that last couple of transitions….i don’t know….either way

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  77. I am so pissed right now!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  78. Wow…horrible officiating. Kobe was completely set. The big difference is our transition offense is horrible. We’re getting steals but not capitalizing on them.

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  79. The Lakers don’t know how to run a fastbreak anymore, how sad. From ‘Showtime to Notime’. Too many, old heads that don’t practice running fastbreaks in practice.

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  80. Down by 2 at home to the 8 seed. Man, we’re good!

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  81. This team is a joke. Who ever is the offense coach should be fired!!!!!!!!

    Never seen a worse offensive performance then this.

    They deserve to loss. There is no team work and no coaching.

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  82. Does anyone else think Thabo looks like a less dangerous version of Ime Udoka?

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  83. Not sure why the Lakers are so intent on breaking the Thunder down from the outside in.

    Inside out works better.

    Play hard, and us some pump fakes, no doubt.

    Kobe is 6-15. He is actively harming us at this point… Facilitate the offense. Feed it to the bigs. Use post moves and cutters.

    *sigh*

    Let’s hope that Phil blisters the paint in the locker room…

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  84. lol, if I wasn’t watching the game I would think the Lakers are down 20. You guys are in some serious need of perspective.

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  85. Typical Lakers. Everyone one is going to blame Kobe but disregard Lamar’s complete waste of minutes with his mix of no offense and bad defense. Pau was not assertive and very indecisive when he had the ball. Artest and Fisher still can’t hit shots. The lakers all of a sudden forgot how to run a fast break. The lakers were outscored by 10 points in the second up 11 points mid way through the quarter and finished the quarter being outscored by 13 points. Terrible.

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  86. Lakers need to make adjustments and get the ball to Gasol and Bynum and run the offense

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  87. Thunder players are feeling as though they can go down in this playoffs history as the team that stole homecourt advantage away from the old heads.

    Laker players are acting as though they’ll just ride Kobe’s back into the next round.

    Let’s not complain about officiating because if anyone has watched the games over the past few days, especially the Utah-Denver game, the referees are not calling anything that’s a touch foul!

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  88. Zephid,

    Lakers should be up 20.

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  89. Zephid – what game are you watching?

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  90. I’ve never seen a more skittish group of fans than those that root for the Lakers. I’m glad the players aren’t as nervous as some of you folks. In case some of you forgot (or if you never knew in the first place), the Thunder have been a top 10 defensive team the entire year. They play defense. We’re not playing the Warriors. The Lakers do need to get the ball inside more, but the Lakers bigs still aren’t getting around the fronting and the Lakers guards aren’t moving the ball enough to get the Thunder D moving to get post defenders turned around and on our bigs’ backs.

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  91. @ 82 & 83
    first off we’re in the Western conference where the 8th seed has 50 wins, it’s not as if we’re playing a bad team. OKC was ranked top 5 in defense and all of a sudden some Laker fans are surprised at this? Let’s not forget we should know OKC would come out hard as in order to have a chance in this series they need to get the split here in LA.

    As for worst offensive performance ever? Obviosuly you don’t watch the Eastern Conference outside of their Big 4 teams. Also our best player has a fractured finger on his shooting hand, AB is coming off an injury, LO has to relearn his role as he’s now coming off the bench.

    Sorry but we’re only down 2 points and it’s not the end of the world.

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  92. No, the Lakers are not down by 20, but they don’t look like they’re ready to play and the Thunder are fired up! These two equations do not equal a win.
    The last thing you want to do is make the Thunder believe that they can play with the Lakers, especially with them going home for three games.
    The Lakers have old legs and need as much rest as possible, this means that they need to end this series as quick as possible or they’ll be in a 7 game series. Believe me, that’s not something they want.

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  93. Here is perspective. OKC can’t shoot or play any worse and they are up.

    10 turnover and we are shooting 40%. Barkley just said Lakers frustrate him becuase they make the game so hard.

    Yelling at them for not bringing the ball in the post. They just called Lakers arrogant. There is your percpective.

    Sorry Rich if our best player has a broken finger why did he shoot 15 times, more then bynam and gasol togeather and have 5 shot blocked?

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  94. why dont the lakers actually try to put the ball in the post? Gasol + bynum has a combined 12 shots, with Gasol 6 ft. Kobe has 15 shots…when you’re not that good anymore, you really should realize that and have someone good shoot a better percentage shot.

    Kobe acting as decoy and facilitating is the Lakers at their best, because he keeps the other team honest while giving the Lakers high-percentage shots. The problem is, Kobe is way too egocentric. Tim Duncan was fine having Tony Parker as 2007 Finals MVP…could anyone imagine Kobe allowing Pau become the 2010 finals MVP? His notion is either “we win a champion and I’m the best player with most stats, or we don’t win it.” What is wrong with him? Seriously…

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  95. I’m off to this chat, can’t bear them again. 🙂 I’m sticking to my post, this will result in a blowout.

    Darius,
    Could you show us a clip of that Ron Artest where he stole KD’s pocket, then blocked Thabo’s shot twice? That’s unearthly!

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  96. I’m guessing PJ’s message wasn’t properly received by Kobe.

    I hope that this game somehow serves as one of those famous ‘let players figure it out on their own’ games.

    Really, Kobe, -10?

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  97. Ken – I don’t even like barkley but i fully agree with him on this one. The lakers are thier own worse enemy – they make the game so hard when they could easily be crushing this team. Many, many missed easy opportunities.

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  98. Sorry for double-posting, but with all the excuses about Kobe’s injuries…if you have injuries and can’t shoot the ball, then you should pass and have someone else who is effective shoot the ball!
    Basketball 101: if you CAN’T make the shots, pass it to someone else who CAN make the shots.

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  99. LA just not respecting OKC in the first half so far. Their just playing just enough to get by, everybody should not be so surprised they have done this pretty much the entire regular season.

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  100. Kobe stop shooting so much. Please give pau, bynum some shots thanks. U shouldn’t have more shots than pau and bynum combined. Thx.

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  101. LOL @ Barkley.. “Ya’ll are assholes around here.”

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  102. 81 – Tex Winter is already home. And that’s been a huge problem this entire year.

    We’re just not being patient right now. The ball’s not entering the post enough, and we’re pushing the pace and getting virtually nothing out of transition. With Kobe hobbled, how many good finishers do we really have?

    Fish and Artest are legitimately awful finishers, and Kobe hasn’t been good today. Unless our bigs are involved and running, I want Fish/Kobe to pull the ball out and just run the sets.

    It’ll be interesting to watch the pace of this game at the start of the 2nd half, see if Phil’s (obvious) message of patience gets through.

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  103. I also think Phil brought back Kobe and Fish too soon. Jordan and Shannon were playing extremely well, pushing our lead to 11, then Fish came in and started wasting fast breaks set up by Ron-Ron’s steals.

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  104. Some of you cats sound like you’re ready to jump off the top of a 50 story building. We’re down 2 against a good team (50 wins. In the Western Conference). Relax.

    Our half court defense is good, but we’re playing sloppy ball, which is leading to easy transition buckets for them. Kobe needs to calm down & stop forcing the issue. As a team, we need to get our bigs more involved. And once involved, they have to be aggressive & attack the rim.

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  105. Alright I had to make another post. Yes Kobe has more shots than Pau & Bynum but they also need to get into deep post position and stay there and not back out the second they don’t get the pass. They are also being fronted very well and hopefullybwe can make those adjustments.

    Kobe was shooting 50% before he started taking it to the rim and the OKC defense was collapsing very well. Should he try to facilitate more? Yes of course but OKC still has to collapse when he drives and I expect things will pickup and Kobe will make the pass

    As for Kobe not allowing Pau to be MVP, etc that’s just not right. Sorry but Kobe is about winning and he’ll do whatever it takes to win, maybe you missed all the games where he would score below 15ppg and would let his team get the accolades.

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  106. Lakers just need to slow down and take care of the ball. Run the offense. They’ll be fine.

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  107. The post is getting swarmed and cutters to the basket for that matter. Solution, get pau his 15 footer going to open up the paint. Have guys like Shannon cutting backdoor with the open paint. Lastly, get someone going from outside (I think Faramar is up for the task.)

    If this happens, we win by double digits. If not, its going to be a close one my friends.

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  108. 105, I agree, the bench was playing well and we could’ve gotten some more good minutes out of them.

    You guys expect the Lakers to blow out every team, every game. That’s just idiotic. The Thunder are a damn good team and you guys are disrespecting them and their hard work. They’re playing excellent defense, working extremely hard on the glass, and keeping themselves in this game through grit and effort. You all are just disrespectful.

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  109. Bottom line so far:
    Fisher, Artest and Bryant are a combined 10 for 30 FGs (33%).
    Bynum and Gasol are 9 for 15 FGs (66%).

    At some point, if you are a professional team you have to, HAVE TO, go to your strengths.

    It simply drives us fans crazy that they are not.

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  110. Don’t worry, we have the Black Mamba.

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  111. 112. Well it seems like most laker fans dont want kobe to shoot. But Phil needs to put Brown in for Fisher.

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  112. Kobe doing his cheesy face again. LOL.

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  113. Marv Albert is hilarious, especially when he growls.

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  114. good god fish… STOP SHOOTING! especially PUJITs! save it for the finals or something… ehhe.

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  115. Is Phil going to let Fisher shoot the lakers out of the game?

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  116. If Fish is still in, I’m going to be pissed.

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  117. fish has great basketball iq – shooting the long ball early in the clock. what a dunce!

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  118. In short, I want the Lakers to act like a championship football team.

    You have a punishing, clock killing, possession oriented inside game that for our purposes is much like a power running game in the NFL.

    If you can use up 18-22 seconds of each possession, protect the ball, score at a 55-60% clip, draw some contact and get some defenders in foul trouble than no other team can beat you.

    But if you get the lead and start tossing the ball deep over the middle looking for killer scores don’t be surprised when the other team picks you off and is suddenly leading.

    Play smart, hard, and with discipline.

    (I am laughing after that last sequence… I don’t think the Lakers CAN play with discipline. We will see.)

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  119. Boy if you want to talk about taking too many shots- the worst offender today is Fisher.

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  120. Wow this is just fun (and sloppy) basketball. I love this game.

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  121. Wow…Pau got absolutely hammered on his putback. No call.

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  122. Geeesh you guys work my nerves! Kobe is not taking bad shots. Most of them have been in the paint- just missed. As for our Bigs I don’t see them REALLY fighting to get the darn ball. And bigs need to play BIG! Stop blaming Kobe for the score. Where’s Artest and Odom?

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  123. Are we still calm? 50 wins and we act like we’re disrespecting them! Recipe for a disaster. What was that Stu, “Dunk the ball!”

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  124. If your going to take it into the paint when OKC had already 9 blocks in the game and lead the NBA in blocks you have to remember to use an up fake and than shoot.

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  125. Goddamn, they’re not going to go away, are they? I really wanted to see an improvement offensively over last game and thus a blowout. Now I’ll just be happy we cover the spread.

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  126. That’s how you do it Pau, go up to DUNK!

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  127. @125, you said it!

    Terrible foul to end the Q. However, Lakers won the 3rd by 6. I, for one, am calm.

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  128. Wow, I’m going to have to say it. These refs suck.

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  129. love the OKC is playing the lakers tough. seems like they’ve been sleepwalking since december… they need to wake up and i think OKC is going to do that to them. i hope.

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  130. 132, Activity and aggression get calls… And if you happen to be spindly and fast you are going to get some calls from the confused older men that the NBA employs as referees.

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  131. Can Gasol make a Grown Man Move more than once in the game? He’s a really good player but won’t be called one of the Greatest at his position until he starts man-handling guys!

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  132. we barely win at home – now i would not be surprised if they go to okc and lose 2 or 3 there. i definitely think okc will have one blowout game against the lakers. they’ll get hot at home and lakers will continue to their sloppy play.

    sign up that half time dude to hit our 3 pointers since none of the lakers can make it.

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  133. How is it that the Lakers are the only team in the NBA that has to play 8 on 5…AT HOME!!???

    WHAT THE #*#&$&?

    The Lakers are playing their behinds off. They came ready to play. It’s not execution or focus.

    The Thunder are being allowed to grab arms, smack heads, etc on every shot attempt…and it’s being called blocked shots?

    Durant got nothing but arm and it was called a block?

    It’s freaking Monty McCutheon.

    I hate making excuses, but the refs are controlling the game right now…OKC is being allowed to do whatever it wants under the basket like Boston in 2008.

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  134. absolutely the worst bench

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  135. i don’t know if this bench can ride this bench to the finals

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  136. Kobe is completely out of control in this game.

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  137. Kobe is getting no love from the refs

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  138. I’m glad someone invited me to the block party!

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  139. If a team puts itself in position to where the refs can determine the outcome than the onus is on that team to not let themselves be put into that position. I hate some of the calls but that’s part of the game.

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  140. Bryant and Fisher both with 4 fouls. Blasphemous as it is, maybe the offence will be run properly now when they’re on the bench?

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  141. Although I’m calm, I’m really bothered by how hammered our guys are getting and no calls. Don’t blame Kobe one bit for that frustration foul.

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  142. I’ve never seen Kobe this frustrated. We need to play through the refs.

    Grown man move from Odom right there. I love when he pulls out that Statue of Liberty move.

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  143. Need more Odom

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  144. With Kobe forced to sit and the other starters now sitting as well, Lamar time. I want to see him score a couple more baskets and remind these Thunderkind (German for “Thunder kids”) how dangerous he is. I don’t really trust anyone else on the bench except Walton, so right, step it up LO!

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  145. its understandable that there will be bad calls in a game… but it’s completely one-sided today. what’s up with the refs? giving the entire thunder team the superstar treatment as far as calls…

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  146. Well, I have a legitimate sense of dread.

    A note on officiating… I will never understand how you can land ON TOP of someone in the paint and that is no foul, but you can appear to graze an outside shooter and expect a whistle every time…

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  147. I should point out that the Lakers have contested a lot of shots too, gotten clean blocks, and gotten called for fouls on those clean blocks.

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  148. Kudos to Scott Brooks, he’s coaching a good game. He’s negated the Lakers bigs and no one else is stepping up, except Kobe!

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  149. I was wondering why Kobe wasn’t getting any calls, then I realized Derrick Stafford is officiating. This guy never gives calls to Kobe. But Lakers are going to cough this game up. Its just a shame that this team just cannot score.

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  150. Joits – Pls stop complaining about the refs. The calls have been pretty even today. I don’t see any favoritism. bTW, I’m a Laker fan.

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  151. STOP, kobe time!

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  152. Nice of Kobe to give us that little cushion before the return of the OKC starters…

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  153. Yes! I love Odom being patient and pulling it out there, instead of forcing the fast break when it’s not there, like we did earlier in the game.

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  154. yikes! sloppy play

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  155. durant may just be the next kobe…but am not high on the comparing thing.

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  156. The Dude – I’m no troll. I’ve been on this board before the Thunder even existed…way back when Kurt was the moderator. I AM a Laker fan…but you’ve got to be kidding yourself if you think the calls have been unfair.

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  157. well, it’s close, but I think we can handle this one.

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  158. Ibaka has completely outplayed Odom in every aspect of the game today, that is inexcusable.

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  159. Kobe has a funny way of reacting to advice… or direction.

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  160. What’s the odds on Kobe attempting 30 shots?

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  161. odom is the best guy on lakers bench, no wonder their bench is so inconsistent

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  162. Lakers shooting a pathetic 38 percent, and Bryant thinks he can play by himself.

    Wonderful recipe for a loss.

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  163. i like that okc is giving us the challenge we need…but hopefully the margin to keep winning.

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  164. 159, we’ve never seen a beast quite like Durant. 6’10, long arms, range out to 27 feet, can handle and rebounds decently.

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  165. caught the 4th quarter of last night’s jazz-nuggets game. they go at it hard. if we’re gonna have trouble remembering to box out and can’t hang on to the ball against oklahoma, I wouldn’t want to watch the semis.

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  166. I bet Durant makes these two freethrows.

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  167. Durant isn’t all that different from Dirk in terms of skillset, isn’t he?

    Pau! Show us what you’re made of!

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  168. Yeah Pau Gasol, keep feeding him.

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  169. OKC can keep pace with us at staples – they’re going to blow out lakers at okc. they aren’t going to shoot this bad at home. durant, westbrook are going to tear it up.

    This is slow torture for lakers fans.

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  170. hey zephid, yeah and look how kobe-esque his cold dagger jumpers look. great for the league to have a bron, wade, durant era.

    but right now, it’s kobe’s time. a shame he is battered and injured.

    and checking my grammar, “hopefully” ain’t grammatically correct.

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  171. wow… lakers got a break on that kobe 3… which should have been a two. hope the game doesn’t come down to a one point win… don’t want any controversy.

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  172. freak – gasol was WIDE open for a dunk – but fish ends up take the shot. ugggggg!!!

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  173. btw, point taken zephid, his physique is unique as is lebron’s and as is kobe’s…

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  174. I don’t think Fisher has any business hoisting 10 shots if he’s making 20%.

    Same goes for Ron now.

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  175. man the defense this game is making the offense unbearable. i must admit though that a lot of our plays look forced, out of rhythm and out of whack (someone getting a deflected or blocked ball and cleaning up)

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  176. Lakers will play better on the road. They have a knack of doing that in the playoffs.

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  177. I really don’t get what’s about so many jumpshots and so few feeds inside where we are clearly superiors……

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  178. Artest and Fisher are trying to shoot the Lakers out of the game.

    Artest is simply out of it.

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  179. NO WAY this team goes on to the finals. Do you see them beating Portland, Denver, Dallas, even Phx…they do match up against utah…but the others will just embarrass them.

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  180. #173 they’ll probably review right now during the timeout and change it.

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  181. 3 pointer just changed to 2 according to the box score.

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  182. Artest and Fisher are 4 for 20 at this point…

    Ooof. Artest is playing great defense, and I wish he wouldn’t give some of it back with the bad shots early in the clock.

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  183. lakers are such a poor jump shooting team it’s not even funny

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  184. That was a wide open shot for Fish. He absolutely should have shot it.

    He also should have made it.

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  185. The key for this game is if we feed the post down the stretch. I don’t want to see the outcome depend on 28-footers with a lot of time on the shot clock.

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  186. Zephid, yes we have – he plays in Cleveland. Fine James is 6’8, but Durant is only 6’9. Not that different, and they both have decent range. Durant, admittedly, is a better shooter, but James is a better everything else.

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  187. It’s really hard to get the ball to Pau in the post when we have no spacing. That’s why Artest took that 3; he’s trying to make them pay for doubling Pau before the entry pass, but we just don’t have that shooting.

    I’d love to see a no-defense game (not in these playoffs) with Kobe and Durant both healthy, just to watch 2 brilliant scorers go at it. I still think Melo at his best is even more of a pure scorer than Durant, but this is ridiculous.

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  188. We can win now. Fish just picked up his 6th.

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  189. horaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyy fisher is finally out

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  190. 3threeIII said that the lakers need to play hard and smart with discipline. I laughed because isn’t a little farfetched to expect the lakers to play smart with discipline and as I type this Fisher fouls Westbrook on a jumpshot.

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  191. This could be the turning point of this game.

    Fisher fouling out.

    I’m sorry if I sound like Aaron today, but really, nothing I can say for Fisher tonight.

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  192. Fisher fouls out, Thunder take a lead …

    I smell upset, and so does OKC.

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  193. No balls inside still.It’s becoming really weird.

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  194. Lamar gets no respect. LOL

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  195. We’d have no problem with a healthy kobe but now it’s not a sure thing.

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  196. WHY. CAN’T. THESE. GUYS. GO. UP. STRONG?

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