Lakers/Thunder: Game 4 Preview and Chat

Darius Soriano —  April 24, 2010 — 203 Comments

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It’s funny how a loss can plant seeds of doubt into the minds of fans and media.  In game three, the Lakers pretty much controlled the game until the closing minutes of the third quarter when they allowed a run that made the game a dog fight for final 12 minutes.  In that closing period, the Lakers still fought hard, but a very good OKC team made the key plays and were carried to the finish line by the momentum that comes from a fantastic home crowd.  By no means am I trying to discount the Thunder as a team or knock their credibility as a worthy foe.  But, if the first three games have shown me anything it’s that the Lakers are the superior team that just needs to play with discipline and smarts for longer stretches of the game.  The Thunder players have that youthful exuberance and the athleticism that comes with it, but the Lakers themselves are no slouches physically and if they’re able to establish a consistent focus they can find themselves one step closer to clinching this series after tonight.  The question as always is will they do what they know is necessary to take home a win or will they only do what’s needed for stretches?

And the Lakers know what they need to do.  From the beginning of this series we’ve talked about adjustments and after game 3 we revisited the topic.  The X’s and O’s of this series couldn’t be more clear, it’s the dedication to and execution of them that needs to be better woven into the minds of the Lakers.  And really, that’s what this series has turned into.  The Thunder are a team that will not quit.  They won’t get down on themselves because the score board doesn’t show them in the lead and they won’t roll over because the outcome of the game is in doubt.  If anything, these circumstances only make them fight harder and push further to try and turn the game in their favor.  As I mentioned above, the Lakers have all the physical talent that they’ll need, it’s the mental aspects of the game that will need to be called upon if they are to prevail.  In a sense, they need to be as strong mentally in sticking to their plan as the Thunder have been when trying to dig themselves out of holes.  If the Lakers can sustain focus and not go away from what works, Thunder runs will be squelched and control of the game will remain in LA’s favor.  But, if the Lakers don’t do this, they’ll again find themselves in a close games at the end that can swing in the other team’s direction.

Even though I’ve been focussing mostly on the mental side of the game and have said that the X’s and O’s of this series are already clearly defined, there are still specific things that I’m looking for from the Lakers to trigger their success.  The first is controlling the paint on defense.  In game 3 the Lakers gave up 14 offensive rebounds.  And even though those second chances didn’t produce a lot of points, not finishing off possessions meant that the Lakers could not go the other way and work to wear down OKC (or, based off the trends of the game, shoot another three pointer).  So, I’m really looking for the Lakers to take better control of their defensive backboards.  The other key to controlling the paint is to block and alter shots.  In game 1, the Lakers had 9 blocks.  In game’s 2 and 3 they had 7 combined.  I’d also like to see a couple of hard fouls if the Thunder continue their assault on the paint.  I’m not looking for dirty play, but I’d like to see Westbrook and Durant have teammates running over to help them up off the ground after some of their forays to the rim.  The second thing I’m looking for are better/harder screens set off the ball on offense.  If the Lakers want to get players open coming from the weak to the strong side, they need to start laying some bodies on people and freeing each other up.  Gasol, Kobe, Artest, and Odom could all use some help getting open and the best way to do it is by using the screen actions built into this offense.  I want to see more curls on the weak side and our wings coming the top of the key with more space because of the pin down actions were properly executed.  Again, better execution derived from a more consistent focus.

A Lakers’ win tonight is the difference between having 3 games to win 1 or playing a best of three series against a game opponent that will have all the confidence in the world.  Which side sounds more appealing to you?  I can guarantee that your answer mirrors those of the Lakers’ players and coaches.  It’s an obvious point, but the deeper a series goes the more important each game becomes (though each game does have importance in its own way).  So, game 4 is now the key to this series potentially going 7 or having a good chance of ending in 5.  Let’s see if the Lakers take note and execute in the manner they need to and ensure that the latter is accomplished.

Where you can watch:  This is an ESPN game tonight with a 6:30pm start in the west.  For those folks that only have an internet connection, you can check out the game on ESPN3 here.  Also on ESPN Radio 710am.  Enjoy.

Darius Soriano

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203 responses to Lakers/Thunder: Game 4 Preview and Chat

  1. This one’s for Warren – when we need him.

  2. Let us hope they play like a team.

    Go Lakers.

  3. Let us hope they play like a team.

    Go Lakers.

  4. Like Darius has been saying, I just want to see them run their f’ing offense for at least HALF the game! And I don’t want to see them shoot more than like 18 three’s and Kobe shoot more than 22 shots. I love my Lakers, but like everyone else here and the rest of the die-hard fans, they’ve got to get back to what makes them good: i.e. pounding it inside to Pau and Drew for the inside-outside game, Lamar coming off the bench to give us a spark and eat rebounds, and limiting Thunder fast-break opportunities by not hurling 3’s like it’s 2012. I think we all have at least decent understanding of what they need to do to win – just playing within themselves and not trying to be the Magic or something – and we’ll see them silence the OKC crowd and get one step closer to putting these upstarts back in their place for another year. Sheesh!

  5. Lakers, please pass the ball and CUT through, or make a hard roll. I know the offensive set is a triangle but when we come down the floor and automatically line up at the three point line without even exploring the early offense, the defense is never scattered or confused. The defense just comes down and doubles or bigs because they know that the Lakers will all stop at the three point line.

    The ball will stay in one person’s hand as they dribble the clock out and then take a desperation shot. It’s infuriating when Brown and Farmar do it because all they are doing is looking for their shot!

    Please do not shoot 31 three’s this game, we should only be shooting 10-15 three’s a game!

    Another thing, please close out on every single jump shot! Do not allow the opponent uncontested jump shots. I know this utilizes energy that some of you would rather preserve for your offense, but we need every Laker to commit to this basic basketball tenet!

  6. wow, roy playing O_o!

    btw, i know for a fact that our guys will win tonight. have 100€ that theyll make it and if they dont, people in vienna will be scared because some crazy guy will be screaming at 04:00 in the morning 😉

  7. Yes Darius, this is a HUGE game. I doubt this series will go 7 even if we lose tonight, but closing this team out in 5 games will be a very good start for the playoffs for this team. It would make me more of a believer. I am predicting we win tonight in a hard fought game.

  8. The game is also on KCAL 9 locally, on the off chance that the national announcing team is horrible.

  9. I would say that this is as close to a must win game as we want to get in this series, the best 2 out of 3 could get this Laker team knocked out of the 1st round with this OKC team, in my book. I would agree with Darius though, that the Lakers seem to be in control of the series and over the Thunder, basically.

    Glad we got the honorable Warren 1st comment, good job Craig W., it is better than none.

  10. Winning Game 4 for the 3 to 1 series lead would be ENORMOUS.

    If the Lakers take 75 shots tonight I hope that at least 40 of those are attempts from 6 feet and closer to the rim.

    Go Lakers.


    (too jacked for analysis).

  12. Darius has cover the X’s and O’s pretty thoroughly over the last few days. So I’ll just add this, the lakers need to patient and persistent when it comes to executing their game plan and they need to sustain their energy and focus on the defensive end for the most of the game.

  13. Re: Phil Jackson/Coach Genius
    I think its funny to hear all these coaches and commentators screaming at Phil Jackson before this game to “run a high low game with Gasol and Bynum to take advantage of all the fronting!!!” Like it takes a rocket scientist to figure that out. Phil Jackson is just smarter than all these guys. His goal is different than most coaches… his goal is long term. He often saves things for later games in a series or a completely different series. Phil knows the Lakers can face another smallish team in the 2nd round (Jazz) and third round (Suns) who will probably be forced to front the Lakers big men as well. Phil is the kind of coach who never likes to show all his cards. You can bet at some point in these playoffs Phil is going to have one of the Lakers two big men cut to the free-throw line while the other is being fronted… it might be tonight, it might be in LA, or it might not be until one of the later rounds… but it will happen. My guess is that Phil waits to dismantle all this fronting defense till game Game 3 in Utah if that is who the Lakers play. But we will have to wait and see this PHILosopher at work and he always seems to be worth the wait.

  14. Aaron,
    It is also true that coaches can do nothing if their players don’t run the plays when they should be run.

    Isn’t it possible that the players are just not cooperating with the coaches? Phil doesn’t exactly have many options as to who to play, you know.

    It is ironic that I am talking about a veteran, World Champion club being not too smart – or too lazy – but that does seem to be the case this year. Just look at the number of 3ptrs last game – from a poor perimeter shooting team. I guess the players just don’t believe their own shooting percentages.

    Yeah, I know, we are up 2 games to one. However, we haven’t looked very smart in the last 3 games – even giving OKC all sorts of defensive credit.

  15. Without trying to drag down the thread, the Lakers have not been a great offensive team all season – at least not to a level consistent with their talent. They’ve been a better defensive team and they’ve been winning with their D all season (whether you consider them a consistent defensive team or not). It’s been the same this series. This is why I’m no longer looking for a bunch of wrinkles, but rather a return of better timing and spacing as those are fundamental principles of our sets. If we can better synch up our movement, some of those little wrinkles will return all on their own. The choices make themselves within our sets if the timing and player movement is there. Really, what we’re going through right now is reminiscent of what we were going through in the Denver series before the second half of game 5. I’m hoping we start to see some of that type of resurgence starting tonight.

  16. Bynum wins the 1st jump ball, good start.

  17. Wow. All white today. OKC has got some great fans. As mentioned before, Staples Center passed out free yellow tee’s, too. The OKC crowd looks to be 98% white and 2% yellow.

  18. Oh Pau.

    Meh, he’s still tough to me.

  19. ROFL. Thought Artest was gonna miss that layup for a second.

  20. Here’s a bad sign: Artest is starting to hesitate on open corner threes because of his recent struggles. This is when Fisher-like mindset can help.

  21. I do apologize for the quadruple post.

    Edit: quintuple post.

  22. Hmm… interesting that Lakers are turning it over so much this early. And that Gasol & Bynum start moving away from the defensive glass, leaving Fisher alone with Krstic. Guess who got the rebound.

    Yet despite all this, we’re pretty much even. I like the determination to go inside early to Gasol and Bynum. Kinda like how we started Game 3. But we’ll see if this one ends a little differently.

  23. The sloppiness concerns me, but the transition defense is more worrying. It’s one thing to have Westbrook doing it all series, but if Durant gets easy baskets early that doesn’t bode well for the rest of this game. Easy shots fuel the rest of a player’s offense.

  24. bynum and gasol with 4 fgas already

    thats what i like to see

  25. Kobe has now passed up two wide open threes. In years past, I would’ve been more worried about a shooting rebellion, especially since he’s not yet attempted a shot. But thank god he’s matured, or so we hope.

    Fisher, meanwhile, is not passing up anything. Whether open or not.

  26. Odom said he’s going to be very aggressive this game. He just came in. We’ll see about that.

  27. a couple of rebounds that slipped through led to a huge swing

  28. Sloppy, lazy, slow, stupid play….it has gotten to the point that I actually hate this team.

  29. then don’t watch BH

  30. BH – ya, OKC has the swagger and lakers look like deer in the headlights. Freaking represent or go home.

  31. LOL @ LeBron on Game 3: “Chicago played a great game. We digged, digged, digged, but we digged ourselves too much of a hole. We played well to end the game.”

    LeBron, the word is “dug.”

  32. Love it – lakers officially stink and are going to be satisfied going home 2-2. I am turning this stupid game off already. Beam me up.

  33. It’d be nice to see the Lakers respond to a double-digit 1st quarter deficit in a similar manner to OKC in game 3.

  34. We will be OK, the game is young. Lots of long J’s though by us, and the Thunder are getting close shots that are going in and in everywhere.

  35. When does the game start tonight?

  36. Westbrook is playing out of his mind right now. Those midrange shots aren’t his strong suit, and typically speaking, he’ll likely regress back to the mean. I’ll be satisfied to see the law of averages play out on this one.

  37. Well, I’ve officially given up on this team.

  38. 17 – “Wow. All white today.”

    Not watching the game, so at first I thought that was a reference to the ethnic makeup of the Oklahoma City crowd, and I was about to say ‘I’ve noticed that too!’

    31 – lmao Simonoid that’s awesome. Derrick Rose might not be the only player in that series who ‘altered’ his SAT scores.

    32 – Good, hopefully that means you won’t be around for the rest of the chat.

  39. Loved it, Farmar in, outside jumpshot, Westbrook sinks the final shot of the quarter. Just perfect.

  40. louie and BH,
    Don’t let the door hit ya’ on your way out. No one’s forcing you to watch. We’ll still let you know how it turns out after it’s over.

    As for the game, the Lakers are doing a better job of getting the ball inside, but the offense doesn’t stop there. The rest of the players need to not just watch the ball, but cut and set more screens to free up more passing angles if the possession gets extended.

  41. And Darius – in addition to TO’s, another concern lately is the Lakers’ mettle away from home. I know a large chunk of road games near the end of the regular season are meaningless, but their overall road record is less than stellar. We’ve assumed that they will be mentally tough, and while I still believe that is the case, I’d like to see the Lakers start exhibiting some of that right now.

  42. Thunder definitely playing with a lot of energy, feeding off an unbelievable crowd….gotta give them credit they are hustling… but they are also getting a lot of bounces fall in their laps.

  43. The Lakers have officially jumped the shark. It didn’t start w/ this series. It started about 20+ games ago. Kobe’s old and hurt. Artest is old. Fisher is old. This team needs fresh legs.

  44. im pretty happy with the way we’re getting the ball to gasol and bynum

    i dont get all the panic…the thunder are a good, young team at home. this should be expected. hell, i thought game 3 would start out like this.

    lakers just need to weather the storm a bit

  45. Lamar is settling a little too much. He should be going to the basket more, not pulling up for the jumper that hasn’t been there the entire series.

    Edit: right on cue – he reverses one home.

  46. Despite all their struggles thus far, here’s one thing they’re doing quite well: active hands on the ball and in passing lanes.

  47. just started watching
    Please not another blowout in OKC…

    missed the first quarter, looking at the box score/ play by play things looked ok for the most part until… what a 15-0 run or something…

    OKC off to the races at the charity stripe.

    Comon Lakers!

  48. LO is active this game, good to see, we need that from him. As I say this Kobe drains a threeee.

  49. I agree, just need to weather this energy storm a bit.. and crawl our way back just like a couple games last year in Denver

  50. It worries the heck out of me that letting a young beyond talented team get in their heads that they can beat the Lakers in the series.

    Also on the road I think it is absolutely necessary Kobe goes into Mamba mode to start the game, just like in the Finals against Orlando or against the Nuggets in the semifinals last year. Especially with the offensive talent the Lakers have displayed this season.

  51. So long as we close this to 7 or 6 points before half, we’ll be fine.

    And please do turn off the game and leave the comments; we’d rather we didn’t have to read your whining, win or lose.

  52. all i will say is that i cant wait to be rid of farmar and brown and i just some kobe still has the mamba in him

  53. Haha I love it when the camera pans over to the bench and we see Ammo yawning.

  54. You know what’s even more annoying Zephid? Is how national TV keeps saying the same thing over and over and over again. Yes, we know the Laker bench is now basically 3 players. Yes, we know the Thunder is a fast group. Yes, we know Durant is a lengthy defender. ZOMFG.

  55. And the Lakers need to make the free throws they actually get.

  56. Ibaka = Leon Powe from two seasons ago….just saying.

  57. Good, there is some moderation happening to keep FB&G a respectable site. Man, this Thunder team is full of energy tonight. Wow, I just looked up and saw the score, we have some work to do.

  58. Kobe needs to score *0 if we want to win. Odom is bad and fisher can t shoot or pass. This is sad.

  59. Does Odom want to sit?

  60. Before this series started I actually thought it could be similar to the Warriors Mavericks series a few years ago.

    Kobe is making the right plays, nobody is delivering for him though.

  61. Lakers bench need to at least stand up cheer. dont we kinda miss Sasha in this type of atmosphere??

  62. Kobe certainly knows how to pass the ball into the post. I wish the other guards, or anyone else for that matter, knew how to do it as well. Farmar and Shannon are clueless out there. Bynum is ready to play though, and so is Pau. So, if Kobe joins the party, I think we will be fine. More Luke and less Farmar please!

  63. Actually, this series reminds me more of the Lakers/Jazz Western Semis from 2008. Talented, tough team, but I think the Lakers will eventually figure them out and take the series.

  64. I don’t like it when Kobe closes out. That’s the second time he’s hit a jump shooter.

  65. I can t believe what I am seeing how about some pride guys. We are the Lakers!

  66. odom may not be hitting his shots, but at least hes looking to score

    get inside odom!

    as i typed that, kobe fouls harden for a 4-point play

    *shaking my head*

  67. Bynum is shooting bricks, but at least he is banging down low. We just need to be tougher around the rim and force the refs to blow the whistle.

  68. missed layup after missed layup after missed layup after missed layup after missed layup after missed layup after missed layup

  69. Artest has been a pathetic offensive player this year.

  70. EMH101, I was just referring to the fact that the Mavericks/Lakers both had the best records in the West and were expected to be in the Finals, the Thunder/Warriors both had a crazy home court advantage in their first significant playoff series and both teams were crazy athletic compared to what the Lakers/Mavericks have or had.

  71. This is ridicolous.Obviously Kobe can’t play.
    Give the man a break and let him recover for game5¡

  72. Who’s the 8 seed and who’s the 1 seed?

  73. okc is putting on a clinic on getting to the free throw line. and they make em too, the kids these days sure are something.

  74. Is it just me or do the refs bail out Westbrook when he barrels into the lane and flings up garbage?

  75. Kobe shouldn’t release on a long jumper shot from his side of the court. The Lakers have no fast break anyway, worry about possessions and rebounds.

  76. bynums effort has been good so far

    i’d like to see pau or bynum draw more fouls though. thunder’s big men have been doing a good job of staying out of foul trouble

    and no, im not trying to imply anything about the refs

  77. I think Fisher’s playoff beard might be helping.

  78. The Thunder are so fast that they don’t even really need to rely on turnovers to start a fastbreak. Knowing that, the Lakers need to expect a speed attack anytime the ball leaves Laker hands.

    The Thunder are a perfect 16 for 16 at the free throw line, while the Lakers have only hit one of six. The Lakers need to, obviously, 1.) hit their free throws and 2.) stop letting the Thunder shoot free throws.

    OKC bench: 17. Lakers bench: 4.

    And I’m not too sure I want Ron Artest going iso and trying to make something happen.

    We end the half within 10. Tie up in 3rd. Take over in 4th.

  79. What’s terrifying now is that the Lakers are sticking with the game plan and it’s netted them a 13 point deficit. I’m encouraged by Kobe, Ron and Fisher eschewing early looks at threes for posts and reposts…..Gasol and Bynum are producing, but they also need to be stronger with the ball.

    1-7 from the free throw line. Yikes.

  80. Wow, Kobe misses a FT, Lakers 2 of 8 from the charity strike. As I write, Westbrook takes it to the hole.

  81. I’m surprised they actually reviewed that call… Prior to this the officials were letting a lot go on that end.

  82. That’s ridiculous. Did the referees really think Kobe just dropped the ball for no reason?

    At the same time, Kobe did what we all do in pick up games. Going up and somebody puts a hand on the ball, no big deal. Just drop the ball and pretend the other player slapped it out.

  83. Yeah, we are only down 13, it could have been a lot worse for us, we are still in this game, as James Worthy just said.

  84. We are actually playing better than the last game. Problem is, Thunders know this is must win game, so they are out hustling the lakers.

  85. To be honest. I’m glad that the defecit is only 13. There were a lot of “bunnies” that OKC missed in the last 3 mins.

  86. well if we bother to box out and hit three throws we might actaully win

  87. Mike Penberthy April 24, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    Meh, everybody knew they were gonna get blown out at least once this series. Well, this is it.

  88. This game is winnable but if the Lakers lose, Durant scares me going back to LA, the guy has killer instinct like Kobe and I dont want to see him mature before my eyes in this series.

  89. They need to hit the FT’s and minimize the transition points

  90. we’re not quite there yet, but at this rate i’m going to be out in a couple of hours shopping for a broom, a dustpan, and a new TV.

  91. The Lakers are getting it in the PAINT and still LOSING!! So for many of you who thinks that the answer to the Lakers winning-YEAH RIGHT.

    Lakers BIGS need to play BIG on defense and make OKC pay for coming in the paint. Lamar needs to play better D also. Artest is doing is job on D. As for Fisher we all know Westbrook would dust him–but shouldn’t the help D be there. Lakers are making OKC look like a championship squad.

    We don’t win unless Kobe SHOOTS the ball. Period.

    We win if our Bigs Play better Defense

    We win if Pau and Bynum score 20 or more each!

    We certainly win if we get admirable contribution from Lamar.

    It’s just not about getting the ball in the inside. Teams will crowd the inside if you don’t prove you can score from the outside. No one has made that proof evident accept Kobe, that’s why he MUST SHOOT the rock. Besides we will win the series only on his back. I’ve said it and I will say it again. Black Mamba is dangerous!

    Lakers Please play with Pride and championship savvy (ala Boston).

  92. Players like Serge Ibaka show how valuable draft picks can be

  93. Since this is a game that the Lakers are supposed to be blown out of, according to post 88. Then there’s nothing to lose.

    Jackson should free the Lakers up and stop running the triangle (the defense is geared to stop the triangle) allow the Lakers to open up and just play!

    Mix it up, some run and gun, some pnr, some motion, a little triangle anything to throw these young players off stride.

    The Lakers are acting like the newbies to the playoffs and the Thunder are acting like the world champions.

    Go ahead and play the bench, play Mbenga, Powell and Morrison, Allow Farmar and Brown to pick up Westbrook full court to slow him down offensively.

    Come if it ain’t broke don’t fix it! Well right now its an ancient ruin, so please fix it! Or, at least mend it!

  94. Mike Penberthy April 24, 2010 at 8:05 pm

    Is it the cliched “pride” and “championship savvy” or is it the fact that Miami is a nothing team?

  95. I’m still looking for thunder players on the floor when they come into the paint….i think Darius wrote that, and I think thats a good way to deter or at least make them think twice about driving down the middle.

  96. 95, exactly as Charles Barkley says Dwade is Michael Jackson playing with the Jackson 5. I feel bad for the guy I think he is capable of being the best player in the league (that finals series was the best 4 games I’ve ever seen by a player) but he has a scrub team around him kind of like Kobe had for a few years.

  97. poor 3pt shooting has finally caught up with the lakers. the thunder can play the percentages and clog the lane.

    in the playoffs, weaknesses get exploited.

    LA is doing good things. i’m hopeful they can turn it around.

  98. OMG 3rd time Kobe hits jumpshooter.

  99. wow, this is hilarious. Kobe doesn’t know how to close out on shooters without fouling because he hasn’t done it for years.

  100. Kobe acts like he just doesnt have an interest in the game

  101. YES, 3rd foul on Durrant.

    EDIT: Fisher misses his two FT’s, ugh.

  102. fisher drew a foul on a layup!?!??!

    this is a good sign!!!

  103. There is something between a dunk and a 3 pointer!

    It’s called a mid-range jump shot!

    Phil, free the Lakers up to not even attempt to run the trianngle because they’re not running it anyway!

  104. These ESPN announcers are hard to listen to.

  105. Wow…3 for 12 from the line.

    Our N.Y. forwards are non-existant.

    To think we worried so much about re-signing Odom during the off-season.

    I have been disgusted with the Lakers’play for serveral months now and haven’t posted.

    I hate to write this, but I can’t see this group winning a championship this year. Hope I eat these words in June.

  106. What a mess! I am NOT encouraged by what I see. As usual the Lakers making life miserable for themselves, AND US!!!!! At the line, PATHETIC. I fear 1st round elimination, which would round out the year this has been as a whole. Lamar is so disappointing.

  107. The Thunder is just the better team…face it.

  108. Doris is great at interviews but commentary? Yeah, rough.

  109. Phillip had a post about OKC’s fast break opportunities, and they are having them again tonight.

  110. If we don’t knock these mother-f*ckers on their asses when they drive to the hoop WE WILL LOSE

  111. Ok we are in trouble now.

  112. I just turned off this game.

    I really don’t care if the Lakers come back to pull this one out (I very much doubt this possibility). They are just not playing good, basic basketball. Yes the Thunder are doing things right, but…

    Freethrow percentage???

    Bynum just standing under the basket and slightly out-of-bounds to wait for a rebound???

  113. Wow, say hello to 2-2 going back to L.A.

    Who has the momentum now?

    This series will not end well for our Lakers.

  114. I’m watching the game on mute, and it’s not much better.

  115. Why did the Lakers stop playing offense this season? They need to pick up a pure shooter/fast PG in the off-season

    The Lakers still have this series locked up so let’s not panic just yet If the Lakers had made their ft’s it would be a very close game.

  116. The thunder ISN”T the better team, but the Lakers have the very unique ability to allow inferiority to get the best of them. THEY allow it, not that they are being beaten, they ARE ALLOWING THIS TO HAPPEN, remember what I said last month, 2 months ago, 3 months ago, the switch won’t work when you need it. It’s not working now and this is going to end up tied 2-2.

  117. Yes – doesn’t look good for the lakers. Momentum is with the Thunder – they steal the next game and then win at home in 6.

    No one thought they could do it but i’m a believer now.

  118. wow, the thunder are looking like the championship caliber team. this is kind of depressing.

  119. Where did this Thunder team come from? Green with a reverse layup now, everything is falling for them, including their FT’s tonight.

  120. This Laker team looks older and slower than the 2004 edition with Malone and Payton.

  121. I dont want to throw in the towel yet but if the Lakers dont get this lead under 15 at the end of the 4th I think it would be wise to rest the starters the entire quarter to have somewhat fresh legs for the next game

  122. sigh…i expected game 3 to be a blow out and game 4 to be close and the lakers getting the win.

    instead, game 3 was the close game the thunder won and game 4 is the blowout.

    just dont hit the panic button folks. remember last year?

    round 1 – lakers just keep letting the jazz back into the game!!!

    round 2 – lakers have no heart!

    round 3 – lakers arent tough enough!

  123. The Lakers are exposed to the world, no bench, can’t shoot, no defense and old tired legs!

    This is something that we recognized the last month of the season.

  124. FB&G is hard to read when the boo birds come out.

  125. BrooklynBoyKP when wil you wake up? This is where us (non fans as some previously put it who see the sloppiness and weaknesses) bandwagoners said months ago that this team is very much a sliver of last year’s. Unless I see more AND QUICK this is worrisome.

  126. Artest with the PUJIT, oh man… Well we obviously are not running the triangle offense anymore now, that is for sure.

  127. Geezzz..maybe I should have kept Ariza and gotten rid of lamar? Stupid stupid stupid!!!! (along with head banging)

  128. Joel, that would be true except for the fact that almost every team in the NBA improved this year to counter the Lakers. Last year the Lakers were heads above the rest in terms of talent, this year it is an even playing field.

  129. I said it before, the Lakers do not know how to run a fast break! Look at the spacing on that last play! And the one with Kobe and Artest was just sad!

  130. Man. I thought the Celtics looked old.

    Lakers look O.L.D.

  131. Is Artest drunk?

  132. Mike Penberthy April 24, 2010 at 8:33 pm

    “Who has the momentum now?”

    Whoever is at home.

  133. Did the Lakers go party in downtown OKC last night? They look like they got hit by a Mack truck.

    Lakers need some energy…they look older they actually are. They might be able to beat a young OKC team, but I don’t know if they can keep up with Jazz/Nuggets.

  134. I wonder if Thunder fans freaked out this much when they dropped the first two games.

  135. The frustration with a game like this is understandable. Every loose ball is going to OKC and the Lakers are shooting very poorly from the outside. As I type, it’s a 17 point game, but things still aren’t looking good. The Lakers need to stop fouling if they hope to cut this deficit.

  136. 135, if the Jazz win their series the Lakers would kill them. Basketball is about matchups and right now the matchups the Lakers are facing are tough to handle for a team with tired legs.

  137. I think the broadcast team had it right. It’s like the Lakers think this game doesn’t matter because they’ve got game 5 and 7 at home and they’re planning to win those.

    Dangerous way to live.

  138. At least there is an extra days rest before games 5 and 6.

  139. I’m going to eat me some veggies right now. That way I can feel good about SOMETHING tonight. Geez.

  140. Time to rest the starters

  141. This is kind of ruining my weekend, we cannot buy a shot, and everything is going in for OKC. PJ should pull the starters, we have seen this before, and we have to win game 5. Now Luke gets a tech.

  142. I will make a prediction:

    Whoever wins game 5 wins the series in 6.

    If the Lakers win, they will finish them off in OKC.

    If the Thunder win, they will finish off the Lakers at home.

  143. Yes – I am totally one of those!!

    If they play like this at staples……Booooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  144. *Imagine if LO got the superstar calls. Think he might attack a bit more if he didn’t get shafted by the refs?

    * Thunder are playing to their advantages, Westbrook is putting in an amazing performance. Amazing team free throw shooting.

  145. All you can do is laugh at how terrible the officiating is

  146. FB&G is hard to read when the boo-birds come out; almost as hard as the games are to watch when the Lakers consistenly play unorganized, uninspired, unintelligent, underachieving basketball.

  147. Right The Lakers DO NOT struggle with UTAH. The Lakers actually had the easiest time with UTAH last year than any other team in the Play-offs.

  148. This is a rough game to swallow.

  149. if any team can come back and win this game, it’s the Lakers. i haven’t lost hope.

  150. Well, all of our bigs shot as many or more shots than Kobe tonight.

  151. Dillusional. This IS the state of the Los Angeles Lakers in 2009-2010.

  152. Stern warned PJ there would be a worse punishment then fines… this is it. and 127 Sure this team isn’t as good as last years but they are still one of the best and I’ve seen this team clicking on all cylinders it isn’t like they haven’t shown they can play great they just haven’t done it consistently

  153. If we all put $5 into a pot, do you think the pot would be enough to buy Lamar a foul?

  154. BOO, no they’d probably just call a few more for Harden

  155. Lets see if the Thunder can get up to 50 FTA!

  156. Please have the female commentator for the Lakers/OKC stop talking. Everytime she talks I want to change the channel.

  157. at this point it has become unwatchable anyway.

  158. While we complain about the refs, someone please answer me how many dunks or dunk attempts have the Lakers taken?

    Aggressive moves to the basket get you freethrows in this years playoffs not the little soft layups and putbacks. The Lakers avoid contact when they go to the hole and the Thunder expect contact when they go to the hole; thus they convert!

    Whose fault is it that the Lakers have missed 10 freethrows? Oh, its the refs because they didn’t shag balls for the Lakers during the summer!

  159. This is sad, I am watching Lakers Playoff basketball live, and all I want is to get a gallon of ice cream to drown in my sorrows tonight. I will expect better on Tuesday though, from the World Champion Lakers. It is just everything that could have gone bad for them has.

  160. Nice helicopter imitation by LW…I think that was the most athletic move I’ve ever seen him make!

  161. Nail meet coffin

  162. The Lakers can not come back and win this game. It’s over. We know it, they know it, OKC knows it. On to game 5.

  163. oh wow, this is so bad.

  164. That’s how you do it, Shannon! Drive it into the shot blockers chest! Finally, something to cheer about!

  165. Hey guys? Fans of Oklahoma City? I believe that you are, quite convincingly, going to “Beat L.A.” Sit down and chug your beers.

    You know a team has arrived when you suffer a loss so humiliating that you start to feel a visceral hatred for the team and its fans. I’m about at that point right now.

    Begrudgingly though, I can’t help but admire those fans. Every time they show the crowd, there’s someone in an embarrassing, ridiculous outfit standing and screaming like a complete fool. This is what a sports crowd should be like. This is a crowd that gives its team energy and makes a tangible difference.

  166. Sorry to say it, but the Lakers staff is being out coached!

    No adjustments from period to period; from half to half nor from game to game!

    Your stars can’t do it! Could you guys earn your pay and coach, formulate a plan or a defensive scheme?

  167. someone please kill me

  168. We’re going to learn ALOT about this Laker team’s character after a beating like this.

    Last year we didn’t lose two-in-a-row in the playoffs. After a loss the Lakers always came back next time with a focused, sharp game (and a win). Didn’t happen tonight.

    Tuesday’s effort, and execution, is going to be VERY interesting, and telling, to watch.

  169. What game are these 2 broadcasters from espn attending, it could not be this one, because if they did maybe they would aee what the rest of the country is seeing,did stern tell them not to say anything. I m from tex, love bb but this is a mess,lakers making the same playes but not getting the same call. ESPN send these 2 back to college Football.

  170. All right I’m done for tonight. Only bright spot is Lamar at least contributed something, as opposed to absolutely nothing. Otherwise, the Lakers got outshot, outhustled, outfouled, etc. Team needs to have a meeting and ask themselves whether they actually want to win or not, because this level of physical and mental effort is not going to get it done.

  171. Mbenga has Artest style hair now, that is a cool thing to see tonight. I am sure Darius’ game recap will cheer me up (you will try, right?), as I am eating ice cream (a whole gallon) later tonight.

  172. Umm…I feel like crying! The announcers are talking like this is it for the Lakers and rubbing it in. So hard to watch Kobe hurt and getting old. Get the feeling if the Lakers even get passed the thunder, this is the cycle will most likely see. teams will take us to 6-7 games til we get knocked out or get beat in the finals. (edited for profanity)

  173. @171 I think the Lakers have already decided that they don’t want to contend for the championship.

    Action speaks louder than words!

  174. #160, chearn, who was complaining about Lakers not getting calls? Before you get all huffy and puffy, please read first.

    Lamar has been attacking the basket and, no, he’s still not getting to the free throw line. Stu, our Lakers commentator, has said “Lamar just doesn’t get any respect from the refs” about three times this game. I suppose you know more basketball than Stu Lantz.

    While I don’t expect the Lakers to fret over the loss, the Thunder will surely use this as a confidence boost for Game 5. To be honest, I’m not even too sure what the Lakers can do to counter the Thunder’s speed. As I said earlier, they seemingly fastbreak whenever they feel like it.

    Artest continues to struggle. Pau, Bynum, and Kobe all shoot 50%, but only taking 10 shots each. While we didn’t play our best offensive game, the Lakers lost due to their inability to stop OKC without fouling.

  175. ReignOnParades April 24, 2010 at 9:18 pm

    Every day I wake up and think about the gaping hole at the PG position

    I can’t stand it

    How could management do this?

    Unbelievable. Absolutely unbelievable.

  176. all this doubt is good for the lakers

    generally, theyre good at bouncing back from bad losses in big games. it’ll definitely light a fire in them

  177. Bitter Sonics ex-Fan April 24, 2010 at 9:26 pm

    It was garbage time early tonight. The Lakers suddenly look decrepit. Not just worn down or slow or old, which they’ve looked like for a while; but geriatric.

  178. Bryant didn’t take a shot in the first quarter, not one shot!

    Here we go again … it’s all about “me.” “You don’t like me shooting so much, Ok, I won’t shoot at all, how do you like that?”

  179. @176 No, I don’t presume that I know more than Stu Lantz, but when Lamar goes to the hole he is not looking to DUNK the ball! He is attempting to finesse it into the basket. Thus, no aggression!

    The Thunder to a man are looking to drive and throw it DOWN, up to and including pg Westbrook.

    The Lakers are not being jobbed, if you look around the NBA playoffs in 2010 its a really physical playoff. Those that are athletic are getting calls for throwing it down on dunks.

    The only team that doesn’t attempt to dunk on every play are the Jazz. And they have players that are physical under the basket and know how to get three the hard way.

    I love LO (for what he’s capable of doing on the court) but let’s face it, LO does not DUNK or BLOCK shots!

  180. Like I have said guys, this isnt the Laker team of last year, they simply arent as good and Kobe I truly believe is on his decline. The great performances will be there but just not as often. Its going to be like this every series, get used to it. We will get them back in game 5.

  181. Lakers don’t have heart. They just want to win on their talent without working hard. For the defending champs to get blown out is embarrasing. The lakers are more likely to lose this series then win a championship. Teams are just to good to not want to go out and give effort.

  182. While this game leaves me pissed, for neutral fans it must be entertaining to see a youthful underdog team making hustle plays, converting on fast breaks and taking it to the hole. They’re making the most of whatever opportunities they have, from loose balls and second chance points to making their free throws. Give the Thunder credit for their play.

    At the same time, again the Lakers made more field goals, shot a higher percentage (believe it or not), and lost.

    Lakers look like they’re playing crappy, they look lethargic, their body language is off, 3pt shooting off, but if the defense could just limit the free throws for OKC then things would be a lot better. Learn from these guys and go for contact at the offensive end.

    Maybe that’s bad logic on my part, but nobody on the Thunder is shooting the lights out except from the charity stripe.

  183. I just looked at the stats:

    Bryant took only 10 shots for the whole game? Just because you’re criticized for shooting too much doesn’t mean you shouldn’t shoot at all!

    Free Throws: Thunder 42 out of 48 (87.5%)
    Lakers 17 out of 28 (60.7%)

    Lakers: 18.2% from the arc.
    Thunder: 33.3%

    Rebounds? Lakers should have the edge here, right?
    Thunder: 50 rebounds, 13 offensive
    Lakers: 43 rebounds, 10 offensive

    This game was lost on the free throw line, and rebounding.

    48 free throws? Yikes! Well, maybe they were reaching and grabbing too much while the Thunder players ran past them.

    But, getting outrebounded 50 to 43 is just unacceptable with the height advantage the Lakers have. The only way that happens is if the shorter team simply want the ball more; that’s the only way they can outrebound a team with two 7 footers in the middle.

    The Thunder just wanted it more, that’s the story of these last two games.

  184. Is that a serious comment Dick Barnett? Kobe just cannot win no matter what he does.

  185. Darius, I really look forward to reading the recap. I had to watch game updates on Scorecenter and didn’t get the live benefits (although it appears they were few). Seems all starters except Ron shot well (plus LO)…just no D??

  186. “Is that a serious comment Dick Barnett? Kobe just cannot win no matter what he does.”

    That’s right, that is a serious comment, and I’m not the only one who makes it. Lot’s of basketball people in the league, and TV analysts, have said the same thing more than once.

  187. The road to repeat is not easy. Its better to struggle in the playoffs than in the Finals. Just like what happened last year, when nuggets kinda fix the Lakers loop holes and went on to win the Finals in 5 games. In this case, there are a lot of fixing to do, so expect a couple of losses and long series for this Team.

    Lakers round 1 – need to fix handling young athletic teams

    Round 2 (Utah or Denver) – Need to be stronger expect a physical game

    Round 3 – (Phoenix or SA or Dallas)
    – these are veteran teams so I guess mental toughness and defense.

    This will prepare the Lakers facing either the Orlando or Chokerland (the Crowned 2010 NBA champion in papers only)

  188. That final shot of Kobe before the KCAL broadcast ended said so much…….I’ve been so conditioned to “cheering through” (ha ha) Kobe’s injuries, it never occured to me that he could ever rack up enough damage to actually slow him down. It got to the point where I literally disregarded any injury problems he had, but now I’m looking at him in that shot, and I’m watching LO struggle, and I agree with Stu. Kobe looks bad. That final shot reminded me of the image of Magic thrashing about on the floor of the Palace against the Pistons in ’89, knowing that he was done for the series. Kobe’s clearly not done for the series, but I think the Lakers need to have the mindset that anything they get from him is a bonus at this point, and try to find the magic they had during that stretch they had without him where they played so brilliantly, going into Utah sans Kobe and Bynum and smothering a team that was white hot at the time. None of the on paper advantages we had going in tonight showed up at all. We were outrebounded, outscored in the paint, and pretty much outclassed by a superior basketball team.

    We did a good job as I said earlier of staying committed to our post players, but it frankly didn’t matter as we had no defensive resistance to Oklahoma City, primarily for Russell Westbrook and of course Durant, but really for no one on their team. The fact is that for every quarter since the first of the series, as Stu pointed out, OKC has either stood toe to toe or outclassed us.

    This series can be won, but it’s going to take at least one or two X factors emerging. Simply counting on the “on paper” advantages just isn’t going to cut it against an opponent this athletically superior AND determined. OKC has avoided the intimidation trap waiting for young teams, maybe they’ll fall victim to the overconfidence trap….

    That foul on Kobe to start the 2nd half was ominous…and it only got worse from there.

    The points about last year’s playoff struggles are well taken, but I don’t get the sense that this is a flip switching issue. the Lakers played hard tonight, they just had no answers.

    Let’s see what the Lakers (and the Staples fans) bring Tuesday night.

  189. @183 I disagree! I KNOW the Lakers have heart! Our stars, Pau and Kobe are tired! Fish is old, but we knew this coming into the season. The bench is inconsistent mainly non existent, led by LO.

    There’s nothing new that I’ve said, these are all factors that any knowledgable fan of the Lakers knew at the start of this season.

    A horrible first round opponent, is one that has the coach of the year and the scoring champion. Incorporate these two facts, with a superstar pg and a sixth man that has blocked, what 25-30 shots in four games. Couple all of that with the youngest legs in the NBA and the Lakers were going to be in trouble.

    None of what has been said, thus far, means that the Lakers won’t win the series it just means that it will not be easy.

  190. How many times did Russell Westbrook beat our players to long offensive boards? Sometimes, the ball actually hit the floor before it was rebounded. I realize Westbrook is explosive, but he just had a hunger and nose for the ball that our players did not show. Westbrook was chasing down loose balls and long rebounds like his life depended on it; there’s no question we looked quite slow and flat-footed tonight.

    I’ve never seen Kobe look this human. I’m talking about the little details – stumbling when guarding Durant, on a not-even-full-blown crossover. Remember that guy who used to get up to guard Lebron, a guy with 40 pounds on him? The heart is still there, but Kobe’s body isn’t.

    I’m not going to pretend to know what the future will bring. But it’s becoming clearer and clearer that Kobe’s decisions are finally coming back to haunt him. He should have had surgery over the summer. He should have rested when he first started accumulating injuries. I wouldn’t call it arrogance, but Kobe had a supreme belief that because he was better conditioned and ‘more devoted’ than others, his body wouldn’t catch up to him. The rest at the end of the season was too little, too late.

    Then again, if he had rested at the first sign of pain – then he wouldn’t be Kobe. It’s that warrior spirit that’s made his career.

    It’s not age (by itself) as much as injuries. With a month or two of rest, I expect to see Kobe back to his old self. But when he’s this banged up, I have a hard time seeing him suddenly “get healthy” in the thick of the playoffs.

  191. Bitter Sonics ex-Fan April 24, 2010 at 10:35 pm

    I kept thinking, “The Lakers are groping around in the dark, searching for the switch, but the wall is smooth, there is no switch. This is the Lakers we saw for the last quarter of the season.”

    Of course, things are never really as bad as they look after a blowout. Right? Right?

  192. How is the flip the switch thing going/

    Also how is the Artist vs ariza thing going?

    I think Ariza shot 54% 3’s in the playoffs.
    I think ron is 3 for 30 and 10%.

    When you small forward becomes the worst shooter in the NBA that’s not good.

    Expecially when your bench and your point guards make Westbrook look like the best in the league.

    No team in the history of this current playoff system has ever going from Champs to losing to a 8 seed.

    I am going to pretend this game never happened. I don’t want to have nightmares.

  193. lakers, just win this series. this team has exposed our weaknesses enough already, and some they didn’t have to expose.

    if only this was the toughest series…if.

    well kind of reminds me of houston last year…only this time, thunder have more tools to use to make upset a reality.

    oh well, here’s to some close games at staples again. GO LAKERS in 6!

  194. Once again our problem is not on offense. We can score, that’s obvious. But our BIGS are useless if they don’t perform BIG on defense. Pau, Bynum and Odom didn’t block anything convincingly tonight. And they sure didn’t deter any shots in the paint as OKC had a fiesta in the paint.. Wow where was our BIGS defense. They like to cry about touches but I hardly hear them cry about stepping up on their defense!

    I sure hope we make some adjustments in the next game-starting with perhaps playing Fish and Shannon at the 1 and 2 with Kobe at 3 with Artest (for defense only) and Pau and Bynum rotate. Just a thought.

  195. Man, after reading this it seems the lakers are o. The brink of elimination. Okc up 3-1? Oh, it’s 2-2??

    I respect Kobe but I am not his biggest fan. I’ve always been under the opinion that the lakers a re a better team with the ball run through the triangle, and I stand by that. But I feel for Kobe. He looks really out of sorts, and not just his shot, but his legs look slow, evidened by some fouls outside. We need Kobe to facilitate the offense.

    I won’t say blowouts happen (though I just did). Okc has a real home court advantage. I wish Staples was like that from the 100 section to 325. They really feed off that crowd, and I can’t blame them.

    I’m going to leave the adjustment to Darius, bc I am still waiting for the same adjustments in game 1.

    Big big game 5. Lakers need to run the post. Should get more calls at home… Should. But Darius mentioned it earlier, once it’s in the post there r other things to do.

  196. Kobemoney,

    No one played D today. Not the bigs, not your name sake no one.

    Before u call them out why don’t u look at the last three games for pau and see if he isn’t playing defense. He’s the only one cleaning up glass and blocking shots.

    U call out everyone but Kobe. Where was he? Where was his defense?

  197. kobemoney????

    in the last 14 games the Lakers have scored more then 100 2 times. They were 28 in 3 point shooting and in this series they are a 40% team.

    Sounds like a offensive problem.

    Kobe is shooting 36% and ron is shooting 3 for 30 in 3 pointers.

    Sounds like a offensive problem to me.

  198. #195 I don’t think its obvious that we can score, we’ve only broken 100 once in the past 10 games and that was against the Kings…

    The reason the defense is so awful is because our turnovers (bad passing) or long rebounds (bad shots) are leading to transition opportunities for the Thunder, our players can’t compete with the Thunder athletes in the open court. If we can get 40% shooting from Ron and Fisher we should be able to win most of those games, but I guess 40% is too much to ask right now.

    Kobe was definitely deferring no matter what this game, I don’t know how much of it was because of the criticism and how much of it is a realization on his part that he’s struggling but in this series we NEED him in the post. I don’t know what’s going to happen, this feels a little bit like the Denver series last season, lets hope it ends the same way as the Denver series.

    Oh and how about that -22 FT advantage in game 3 and now -20 in game 4… It’s not like we’re not attacking the hole, seems like Odom was trying his ass off to attack the rim but he got no calls. I think the OKC crowd did a great job influencing the refs.

  199. I agree.

    I’m younger than Kobe, yet I, like most real Lakers fans, have watched Kobe grow from an afro-rocking teenager to a grown ass man. This is as mortal as I’ve ever seen Kobe. Yes, the Denver incident made me realize that Kobe, like us, is still just human, but that incident was off the court. We all know Kobe has his personality downfalls and whatnot, but I still managed to think of Kobe as the consummate basketball player and the ultimate assassin on the court.

    These emotions I’m feeling are reminiscent of when I found out Santa wasn’t real.

    With that said, the real issue isn’t Kobe. Our team is still skilled enough to still defeat the Thunder even without Kobe, I believe. Even in a game where Kobe shot 50% (which is extremely efficient compared to the recent slump caused by his injuries), we were completely steamrolled.

  200. Their bench is more effective than the Lakers’, and their players don’t seem to whine as much.

    More than anything, they look as if they know what they’re doing, the Lakers disorganized and inconsistent, and for the second time here in less than a month the Lakers are blown out.

    Could’t resist printing my least fav writer TJ Simers comments.

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