Lakers/Thunder: Game 3 Preview & Chat

Darius Soriano —  April 22, 2010

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In old school basketball circles, the saying goes that “a playoff series doesn’t really start until the home team loses”. Well tonight the Lakers get their first chance at snaring a road win and truly “starting” this series.  And if they’re successful they’ll essentially start and end this series in the same night.  After the Lakers took a 2-0 series lead, winning 4 of the next 5 games was going to be next to impossible for OKC.  But if the home team loses tonight, winning 4 in a row will not happen.  And even though some of the quotes coming out of the Thunder locker room are more focussed on winning one game (rather than winning the series), the Lakers would be best served not resting on the laurels of their series lead and letting a winnable game slip away.  And, despite what others will tell you, tonight is a winnable game.  Yes, the Thunder crowd will be excited beyond belief and the Thunder’s players will surely feed off this energy and bring an effort level consistent with a wounded animal fighting for survival.  But, the Lakers are the better team (even if the disparity is not as large as in a typical #1 vs. #8 match up) and there are steps they can take to win this game.

As, Andy K. over at Land O’ Lakers pointed out, if the visiting team hopes to win they’ll need to control the tempo.  That doesn’t mean that the Lakers can’t get out and run, but it does mean that they’ll need to be selective with their choices and not just indiscriminately take the first good shot that is available.  It’s been made abundantly clear that the Lakers offense works best when starting on the inside, so slowing the game down and looking to the post first should be the first option.  That said, the Lakers can’t just try to force feed our big men.  I’ve said this many times before, but the Lakers run a read and react system and should not have predetermined options for possessions drawn up in their heads.  Sure, they can run specific options or call out a certain action to initiate their sets.  But if that option is taken away, they can not force it – they must move on in their progression/reads and go from there.  This is what will lead to offensive success tonight and will hopefully create more opportunities for our post game.  As Phil Jackson said himself,

“Well, the idea is not to over-focus on (passing to the post) so it takes the rhythm out of your offense.  Take the opportunities when they come, and if the ball is moved and the players move right, we’ll find those passes.”

Carrying that same thought to its next progression, I would not mind seeing aggressive Kobe again tonight.  There were many that bemoaned the volume of shots that Kobe took in game 2, but I was not one of them.  After reviewing every one of Kobe’s FGA’s through Synergy Sports amazing video scouting service that they’ve made available to fans, I saw that Kobe took mostly good shots within the flow of the offense.  I also saw that some of the shots that he did miss were of the wide open variety that I’d have no issue him taking 100 times a game if he was given them.  I understand that it can be frustrating looking at a boxscore where Kobe’s FGA’s are more than Gasol and Bynum’s combined.  However, that will sometimes be the case in an offense where the defense dictates what shots are available to be taken.  I do hope that we move the ball enough where our advantage inside can be exploited more frequently, but the other side of that coin is what I mentioned above – forcing the ball into teammates that aren’t open isn’t the answer.  So, as always, I hope that patience prevails and that the Lakers move the ball and take the shots that are open to be taken.  If that means that Kobe is shooting a lot, so be it.  Kobe is also one of the players that can single handedly turn a raucous home crowd into a public library, so if he’s on his game I think it can go a long way towards limiting what will certainly serve as a source of inspiration for the home team.

And speaking of the home team, if there is one thing the Lakers need to be aware of it’s that role players often play better at home.  In the first two games the Lakers have treated Jeff Green, Thabo Sefolosha, and James Harden as complete non-threats.  Tonight, these players will need to be given a bit more respect when they are on offense.  I not only expect these players to be more aggressive, but I expect them to be a bit more successful in those efforts to score the ball.  I’d especially be concerned with Green and Harden as they are good offensive players that just haven’t found their groove on offense to this point in the series; they are better than what they’ve shown.  So, if the Lakers are to win this game they will need to pay closer attention to the other Thunder and not just rely on slowing down Westbrook and Durant.

In the end, the keys to winning this game will be no different than the ones used to win the first two.  As always, it will come down to execution and for the road team to sustain its energy and focus through what will be an amped up crowd and home team.  If the Lakers can take one possession at a time and exploit the match ups that are in their favor, this game will be there for the taking in the closing minutes.  Will they have the discipline?  Will they treat this game the way they’ve treated the first two?  In a way, this game – more than the games at Staples – will show me where the mental sharpness is for this Lakers team.  Last season, against every playoff opponent, the Lakers won a road game.  They’ll have that chance tonight, lets hope they take advantage of it.


Darius Soriano

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273 responses to Lakers/Thunder: Game 3 Preview & Chat

  1. Wow – this got ugly quickly. Need to stop the bleeding REALLY fast or this one’s done… at least we know we have players who CAN win from here.

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  2. The problem with Kobe is he doesn’t mix things up.. Jab step, jab step, fake, jump shot.. Why not drive to keep the defender guessing..

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  3. i thought kobe had a bit more trust in his team mates then this

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  4. kobe looks tired… and old. the mind is willing but the body isn’t…

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  5. Adrian, i think he does that more to get himself in rhythm than to shake the defender.

    We just need a stop or two to come out with a W.

    Not offense, defense. I hope our players produce some magic.

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  6. Sorry to bring this up but I’ve noticed a glaring difference between the lakers this season and cleveland this season. Cleveland goes from being blown out to only losing by 2. Lakers go from up 10 to losing by 6. This is what I hate to see.

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  7. Looks like the Lakers fell apart while I was in the kitchen making Spätzle…nicht gut!

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  8. We have experience and two of the clutchest players of this decade. Let’s do this.

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  9. WHERE WAS THE FOUL ON FISHER THERE???? TERRIBLE CALL.

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  10. That was NOT a foul on Fisher… He never touched Westbrook…

    I know this is not a popular thing to say, because “good teams play well despite the referees”, but can we get referees that are not so obviously the enemy?

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  11. Gasol, Gasol, Gasol come on

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  12. Was that Crawford on the Fisher foul call? Time for that guy to have a stroke or something so they stop using him in playoff games. The man is poison.

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  13. Was just about to type that we had two redemptions in one shot when Fisher assisted a Lamar three.

    Promptly, Fisher fouls Westbrook to cancel that three. (from the comments i’m guessing it’s not as bad as it sounds… on telecast)

    Now Gasol has a chance to redeem himself from the line (for his FT shooting, not his performance overall).

    If we win, we’ve survived a 25 pt, 19 rebound performance by Durant.

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  14. Fisher had his hand on Westbrook, and Westbrook was aware enough to go up and shoot. That’s why Fisher didn’t argue the foul.

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  15. joits: “The Spirit is willing, but the Flesh is weak…”

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  16. This will be an interesting last minute.

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  17. Alright then – now just get a stop out of this timeout, run the offense, and win the game.

    Sounds so simple put like that. These guys certainly know how to raise my heart rate!

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  18. Refs have been so one sided.

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  19. kobe needs to stop chucking.

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  20. it’s soooo over

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  21. KOBE BRYANT WITH THE SASSY MOVE!

    Is that what Marv Albert said?

    We’re down two. Foul, two freethrows. If OKC misses one, it’s Mamba time. Wait and see. It isn’t over yet.

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  22. Another 30% shooting night for Kobe. We’re really living and dying by a few percentage points here.

    Let’s see how clutch Durant is…

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  23. It’s a wrap, very very disappointing. Lakers needed two big stops what happen fisher commits a touch foul and-1. Artest fouls Durant. Kobe launches another 3 over a 6’10 guy. The lakers just cannot execute in crunch time. It’s pitiful.

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  24. If only Kobe had some more triples in him. He seems to have used them all up in that early burst…

    So a 5 point loss after being up 10 in the 3rd. It is a disturbing thing to see, given that we’re meant to be a team that has the experience to execute down the stretch.

    Here’s hoping game 4 is more pleasant!

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  25. Was that our last timeout?

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  26. Well, I don’t think any of us were counting on a sweep so…I’m still calling Lakers in 5.

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  27. what could have been a sweep or 5 game series has just turned into a brutal 7 game series.

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  28. Let’s see what Gasol has to say after this..

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  29. Turning point was that dunk by Westbrook in the 3rd quarter.

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  30. Disappointing loss for the Lakers, they possibly let one get away. Kobe’s shooting and the number of fg attempts will be a hot topic.

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  31. @Aaron,

    I don’t think Durant did anything special, Kobe just made it too easy for him. Let’s see how Durant defends some PnR’s or pin downs before we decide if he is the better defender.

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  32. There is a big difference in being negative and knowing what your talking about.

    I feel bad winning my bet.

    Good news I have Lakers winning game 4.

    Closer then I thought it would be. Kobe’s shot selection hurt us.

    oh well onward we go.

    thanks for playing.

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  33. I think the turning point was when phil took kobe out with like 3 minutes left in the 3rd when we were up 8 or 9, I believe. I know he played like absolute crap in the 4th, but he was playing well in the 3rd when he was pulled. Then OKC went on a run to close the qtr, got within 1, and gained all that confidence and momentum going into the 4th.

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  34. No more moderation for me. You guys can have this whine space to yourselves. Reading through all these comments make me yearn for the times when people actually made substantial points mid-game.

    Good game by the Lakers, they just came up short because they couldn’t get stops on the last 4 possessions when they really needed them.

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  35. Lakers shot too many threes, but part of that comes from it being so obvious that the fix was in.

    I mean, the refs didn’t even try to pretend.

    You could tell because they came out wearing THUNDER jersies.

    I hate the NBA sometimes.

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  36. Adrenaline should have made this a game where the Lakers were chasing the youngsters after the first quarter. Instead the Lakers had a good first half and the youngsters responded really well. I’m impressed that OKC managed to overcome after the Lakers took some short lived double digit leads.

    Durant is going to be a blessing for all NBA fans for years to come. We definitely saw the home court advantage given, as it should be.

    As a Lakers fan, I don’t like the final score. As an NBA fan, I love the character shown by the Thunder. I still think the Champs take this series in 6 and that the next biggest challenge will be in the Finals.

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  37. I think the 10 point start hurt the Lakers. Referees always seem to call a game in favor of preventing blow-outs..

    Still if the Lakers jack up 31 3PT attempts they have to expect to lose.

    How much more can it be said? Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, two of the best low post scorers in the league, are on your team and you are still tossing up crap long twos and last second threes.

    On the other hand, the Free Throw disparity (34 to 12!) was the difference tonight.

    Every year the NBA has one or two games in the playoffs like this where the referees don’t even bother pretending to be unbiased. Clay Bennett gets the Game 6 he was hoping for. There will be no 4 or 5 game series this year. The NBA needs the money too badly.

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  38. i love that the lakers talk repeatedly about not shooting so many outside shots as they lead to long rebounds and easy transition baskets, then go out and chuck up 3 after 3…

    credit to the thunder for great interior D, but this Lakers team is its own worst enemy so much of the time…

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  39. Zephid, I got my whiny comment out.

    But how in the world was this a good game by the lakers?

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  40. I’m aware that Kobe is our guy if we going to take it all, but when the stat sheet goes with Kobe 10/29 and the rest of the team 28/55 (Pau and Drew went for 13/21) there’s something to be said in the locker room.

    Considering the fact that OKC shot 22 more FT than us, a 5 point loss, is not the worst thing that could have happen to us. (By the way, still waiting for the NBA to put an honest promo with ” NBA where refs happen “

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  41. Zephid: +1

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  42. #
    Adrian wrote on April 22, 2010 at 9:20 pm

    Let’s see what Gasol has to say after this..

    spot on!It’s just sad how we do not use Pau as much as we should!

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  43. Zephid,

    I didn’t get to watch the game cuz of the gym. Can you tell me how Aaron will say Fisher lost this game for us?

    ———-

    I’m just basing this on the box score, but can someone tell me how Kobe’s shot selection was today? 10/29, 4/11 from threes. I love his 8 assists, but his shot selection looks really terrible. Can someone tell me what he shot on jumpshots this time around?

    Finally, did we get the ball in the post at all in the fourth quarter? Pau looks like he played a good game (and even hit two clutch free throws that I’m sure people were hoping he’d miss so they can call him soft) with his 7/12 shooting, 3/4 from the line, 15 rebounds, 2 blocks and 6 assists. Are we getting him the ball more?? Or did we go away from it! I can’t wait for Darius’ post game! Pau is absolutely our best player right now.

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  44. 236) – Durant took more free throws than the entire Laker team. Also, its crazy to think Kobe took 29 shots and didn’t get to the line one time. Granted about a third of those shots were threes, but still. Twenty nine shot attempts and no one fouled him? Not even once?

    It is what it is. The Lakers just have to dust themselves off and look to game four.

    It would be nice to see Gasol and Bynum get more attention from their teammates. I supsect this will continue to be an issue for this team.

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  45. This wasn’t a good game at all. The lakers played a decent first half. And fell apart in the second half. They couldn’t score 46 points, didn’t defend gave up 58 points. They went away from the post, Kobe jacked up shot after shot, Lamar was a no show. They fouled too much. And most importantly they couldn’t sustain a lead. Not to mention they were outrebounded 53-39. Thats inexcusable. This was a terrible game.

    The only good points about this game was Gasol and the lakers overall shooting percentage (which wasn’t that good) 45%

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  46. dont think my first post went through…

    lakers blew this game, but we gotta move on to the next one. here’s what i’d like to see

    -as always, more gasol and bynum

    -kobe getting to the line and having an efficient shooting night

    -lamar odom showing up

    -less 3s (or at least hit your open 3s)

    -crash the defensive glass

    -more gasol and bynum

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  47. wow… think the million dollar question is how kobe responds after this game. honestly, one could say after looking at the box score that he kinda shot us out of the game. will be interesting to see if he comes out trying even harder, or relaxes a little to save energy for the end of the game. thought lamar would respond better to phils comments aswell…

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  48. David Stern to Phil Jackson and Stan Van Gundy: “Make my day.” Someone’s been watching too many Westerns.

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news;_ylt=AjdhQbziIfuD3PIo4qJ2mt68vLYF?slug=ap-stern-officiating

    I agree with 236, I’m a little surprised at how this game played out. I (and the rest of the world) thought the Thunder would come out strong, and instead we led most of the way and the Thunder showed some great resiliency.

    Momentum is a strange, wondrous thing. How many times would Russell Westbrook hit that standstill 3 with a hand in his face? Yet somehow, because of the way the tide was turning, because of the way Westbrook was playing, I knew even that shot was going in.

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  49. Also, I appreciate the way Kobe played down the stretch. We constantly want superhuman performances, but I loved the patience he showed. He ran the plays and found his teammates, and the bonehead plays came from other players today.

    Loss or not, it was a good sight to see Kobe catch fire from downtown. So many timely threes.

    Artest has become one of my favorite players because of his constant effort, but he still looks awful offensively. Holds the ball too long, just waits. But worst of all is his hesitation. He’ll have a 3 and wait a few seconds until the defender recovers, then dribble and take a stepback 3.

    (Sorry, edit function isn’t working for me).

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  50. Ray

    We were having the discussion about Kobe’s 28 shots in game 2. And I was the one saying that kobe’s 28 wasn’t bad. Well Kobe’s shot selection was absolutely horrendous in the second half. He launched up contest long jumper after long jumper. What made it worse it was jumpers over the long contested shots over Durant.

    The lakers wasted a 5/8 and 4/5 from 3 game from Derek Fisher. Credit to OKC for not giving up and being discouraged. But the Lakers were terrible. I mentioned earlier that every time the lakers went up 8-10 points OKC came back and lakers just start launching shots. It’s just one game but it’s disappointing how the lakers continue to play in crunch time. I can’t remember the last time lakers got a good shot in crunch time.

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  51. “Stern said such comments were “corrosive” to the product that the league is putting on the floor. ”

    Um… the complaints about the referees are not corrosive, it is the referees that are corrosive.

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  52. I didnt watch the game but I predicted the Thunder to win this one. Just from looking at the box score I think we can all agree that Kobe needs to take less shots. I can see that there was probably too much Kobe isolation in this game, and we cant rely on that. I think we will pull it out in game 4, though it will be close and I wont be surprised if the Thunder tie the series.

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  53. 19 playoff games and this game had the largest free throw attempt discrepancy. (22).

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  54. Thoughts on the game:

    1. It’s almost impossible to win a basketball game when your opponent shoots 22 more free throws then you do. Yet, we only lose by 5.

    2. Ron hit some shots tonight, which is very encouraging.

    3. I didn’t see us forgetting Pau/Bynum so much as just not being able to get the ball into them. So many times there is look down low and then a swing to another guard on the other end. We discussed today how the passing on this team is poor and this is just another effect.

    4. We got out rebounded I think by 14, and only lost by 5.

    5. They shot how many more free throws then us?

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  55. Fisher didn’t lose this game, neither did Bryant (although he still doesn’t get the fact that basketball is played with five guys), or Odom, or Jackson, or anyone else on the Lakers.

    The Thunder are a much quicker, and faster team, you could especially see it on defense. The Lakers just couldn’t get off a decent shot, they were swarming all over them down the stretch.

    The Lakers have to hope their experience and savy can get them past these guys, because they are certainly not going to outrun, or outquick them.

    It will be interesting what kind of adjustments Jackson makes for game 4. Game 4, along with Game 2, is crucial in a 7 game series.

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  56. Oh, with regard to the free throw discrepancy; when there are that many fouls by one team that usually means that team was playing out of position, or they were out-quicked, so they have to reach and grab.

    Fish is just overmatched against Westbrook, it was painful to watch, because Fish is one of my favorite players. He is just too quick and fast for him. But, so are the others. Gasol had his hands full with Durant, but I don’t think Artest could have done any better.

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  57. @249:

    “Kobe caught fire from downtown”??? Really??? 4-11 from 3pt (36%) is hardly being “on fire”.

    I don’t understand when Kobe is going to realize that he isn’t the player he used to be. He is still getting his points, but he has to be one of the least efficient players in the league at this point. He is still going to have his good nights, but at this point he is Allen Iverson, and I don’t mean that as a compliment. His defense isn’t any good either. He gambles too much for steals and is always out of position. Uuugh!

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  58. @254

    “It will be interesting what kind of adjustments Jackson makes for game 4. Game 4, along with Game 2, is crucial in a 7 game series.”

    I don’t think it matters what adjustments PJ makes because Kobe is still going to revert to “chuck mode” once the game starts. Kobe can’t take winning if it means scoring less points/taking fewer shots. He is TOO competitive in that he HAS to compete with LeBron, Carmelo, Wade, Durant in terms of stats and cannot and WILL NOT sacrifice his stats for the benefit of the team.

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  59. i still don’t buy kobe ain’t the superstar he used to be. there is a decline sure but let’s not make it sound like it is more a tumble down than incremental. i didn’t like his 4th quarter game. i give props to the switch and i think kobe will have to face the durant matchup more. good and bad. he might make many shots. he might take too many shots and miss. toss the coin.

    i hope he sees the last 3 minutes of the game. heck they made shots! wow… speaking of too late the hero. but when facilitating, he is most efficient at this stage of his career.

    would have also liked more gasol post play. drew needs to be more involved. seeing the monster throwdown gave me hope.

    hey it’s the nba where the two number 1 seeds are bound to lose in one day.

    okc is loud. go lakers!

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  60. I agree with Zephid… this was a good game by the Lakers and just a better game by the Thunder. Kobe hurt us in a two minute stretch where he forced things against Durant. Credit Brooks for going putting Durant on Kobe like I suggested before game 1. It also created a tough cross match up where Kobe had to guard Durant on several occasions on the other end of the court. We def wasted a great game by Fisher tonight.

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  61. We blew the opportunity for the sweep with a bad 2nd half. That surge @ the end of the 3rd quarter did us in.

    People, let’s stop the crying & whining ’bout the officiating. NO EXCUSES. Plain & Simple, WE GOT OUTWORKED. WE PLAYED SOFT. Out-rebounded by 14? With 2 seven footers. SOFT. 31 3pt attempts, compared to 12 ft attempts? And last I checked, perimeter shooting isn’t our strong point. SOFT. How can we expect to get to the free throw line (and get the benefit of the doubt from the refs) when all we’re doing is hoisting threes? OKC might be young, but they’re smart enough to know not to foul on 3pt field goal attempts. Kobe was the main culprit. 41 mins, 29 fg attempts (including 11 threes) & NO free throw attempts. EXTREMELY SOFT. Everyone else in the starting 5 shot 50% or better. Once again, L.O. a non-factor.

    We have to do a better job of getting the ball down low to our big men. It seems as if none of our guards are good @ making the entry pass to the post (especially when our bigs are being fronted). With that being said, our bigs need to get tougher & stop allowing their big men to push us farther & farther out of the post/off the box. Establish position & maintain it.

    On to game 4, where I definitely feel that we’ll prevail, take it back to our house & then end it in 5. Which was my forecast at the beginning of the series.

    LAKER 4 LIFE ….. GO HARD OR GO HOME

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  62. When ever you see Stern giving a award at a game and you see Joey Crawford as a ref you assume the home team will get three times the calls.

    This was on the level of a game many years ago with Lakers and Sacramento.

    Its ok we still win in 6 ga,es.

    As for Kobe we fans have to except he has become a 30% shooter at this point. The problem is Kobe dosen’t except it.

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  63. For the Lakers, this game had that “we want to win, but with the smallest amount of effort possible” kind-of-feel. Lots of 3-point attempts, few drives to the hoop and few trips to the line. And an uncharacteristic lack of execution in the end.

    Maybe their goal (at least, subconsciously) was to win 1 of 2 games in OKC.

    I suppose, and hope, that they’ll bring their full effort to the next game, seeing as it’s a very important game now.

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  64. Maybe it is the injuries, but this Laker team is a long way from winning a championship this season. The only two players who can be counted on to make half their shots are guys who don’t get shots, Gasol and Bynum. They don’t get shots because the rest of the team is hell-bent on swinging the ball around the perimeter (or, worse, just holding it at the perimeter) before jacking up a long jumper.

    OKC cannot contend with the Lakers low post game, yet we use the advantage only in the first quarter of each game (the only quarter we consistently win). To use your strength to start a game, and to gain early leads as a result, but then to abandon that strength the rest of the way is simply inexcusable for a veteran team. I mean, is there another team in the playoffs that plays as stupidly as the Lakers? Pound them in the middle and you slow the game down. Pound them in the middle and you are set up for transition defense. Pound them in the middle and your big guys are there to crash the glass for easy putbacks. Pound them in the middle and they’ll get in foul trouble.

    This is not a complex game, except in the hands of this Laker team. As Charles Barkley says almost every night, the Lakers just make the game so much harder than it needs to be. Unless that changes, there will be no parade in June.

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  65. lamar odom is just very disappointing. no way he deserves to be a starter over bynum. this guy wants to go on vacation with his wife like RIGHT NOW

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  66. Give credit to the Thunder. They made the hustle plays and have excellent defense.

    The keys to stopping Kobe are:

    -make him shoot jumpers
    -limit his FT attempts
    -keep him out of the key
    -contest every jumper

    check, check, check, check

    The difference in this game is very simple. Westbrook penetrates at will and is able to either get fouled, make the layup uncontested, or miss and allow his teammates to crash the offensive boards with the shifted Lakers big men.

    The Thunder do a superb job of denying the entry pass. Either fronting or muscling our post players. What the Lakers lack is someone that can penetrate and make the defense make choices.

    Kobe is usually that player, but he was just tired towards the end. Lamar can be that player, but his mindset is in the dumps right now. Not invested at all this game.

    When we can’t get the ball into the post we settle for long out of rhythm jumpers.

    The blessing and curse that is Pau Gasol. Love his touch around the rim and jumper. When he doesn’t have a good look or good post position he doesn’t force the issue. Well that sounds good, but he needs to have a realization that he is a great player and him trying to drive to the hole and make a move is sometimes better than kicking it out with 7 seconds on the shot clock. That is why Pau takes so few shots, and I’d rather Pau decide to have Kobe’s mentality of I’m going to determine the success of this team and carry the offensive load.

    Bynum sent a good hard foul to Durant to prevent a dunk. I wish he was in the game to send Westbrook to the hardwood. They need to send him a message and give him a good clean hard foul. They allow way too much penetration. Credit to Westbrook for his quickness, but send that guy a message it’s the playoffs!

    Not the end of the world, hopefully a lesson of what it’s gonna take to be a champion again this year.

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  67. 264: …Lamar isn’t…a starter over Bynum…

    But I agree with the sentiment, somewhat. Drew’s playing much better ball. He deserves to close out games right now. If Phil’s keeping his minutes down because of the Achilles, then I understand. But bball-wise, Drew is outplaying Lamar and should get the finish.

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  68. #258 – agree. It’s funny how fans think that it’s PJ’s game plan and adjustments but we haven’t seen any. It’s Kobe’s ego and Kobe’s game plan. It’s what makes him this super athlete but it’s also the Laker’s curse. He is not going to give up shots attempted for the good of the team….even if it means losing.

    The interview at the half time break they asked Fisher if that was the game plan and he said, “it’s Kobe’s game plan – and added that it’s Kobe’s intelligent game plan”…ha ha ha! Kobe loves to silent the crowd – but when they aren’t falling then it kills the team. There are only so many possessions and if he’s going 9-30 or whatever, it’s going to be hard to win.

    I don’t blame him solely for the loss because others aren’t hitting the shots and doing much either.

    Someone made a great comment about the triangle being a line on this team. Yes, when it’s run properly, good passing, accurate shooters, it’s a thing of beauty. But I may have only seen this team run it correctly a few times this year. So have some other plays outside of the triangle to run when things are all bogged down.

    Oh well – just another frustrating loss. And I do not blame the refs one iota this game. If the Lakers aren’t going to drive the ball and are going to chuck up 30 3pters, then they aren’t going to get the calls.

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  69. FYI Andrew,Pau and Odom took 27 shots shooting 50%. Kobe took 28 shots and shot 30%.

    We will win or lose this year with Kobe. Charles Barkley said the Lakers are arrogent. We know who he was talking about. That being said we would be a 8th seed without him.

    oKC is fronting our bigs. They way you stop that is to have a point guard who can penatrate the middle. Oh that’s right we don’t have one.

    The problem now is to make sure a 8th seed dosen’t beat us with him.

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  70. @270:

    Who says we’d be an 8 seed without Kobe? Our offense has played MUCH better without him, and although I won’t go as far as to say we’d be a better team without him I don’t think he’s the end all be all either… Anymore. Yes, he has hit 6 game winners this season, but, I firmly believe that HIS chucking puts us in the position where we need a last-second game winning shot! I recognize that Kobe is an All-time great, and appreciate what he’s brought to the Lakers, but moving FORWARD he’s going to have to change his game and let our bigs carry us to wins (and leave his giant ego aside) or we’re not going anywhere…

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  71. Our offense has played MUCH better without him,

    ___

    This is not true, actually. The Lakers ORTG was worse when he was out. There were articles about itin many places, including the Wall Street Journal. People often confuse ball movement for effective offense,

    That said, he needs to either attack the rim, or pass more. He is settling for too many long jumpers.

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  72. Okay, I worded that poorly. What I meant was our offense ran MUCH better without him… better?

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