Lakers/Thunder: Game 5 Preview & Chat

Darius Soriano —  April 27, 2010

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We’re finally here.  Game 5 is tonight and the chance to take back control of this series is now upon the Lakers.  And for what it’s worth, the Lakers players and coaches seem confident about the game.  Plus, as Kobe so graciously told us, he’s not sure “what the hell is going on around here” because the Lakers’ backs are not against the wall.  And since the series is tied, that’s kind of true.  But if this were baseball and the Lakers were an outfielder their feet would definitely be on the dirt of the warning track right now.  And with one more loss by LA (especially if it’s tonight), they’d be leaping up against the fence trying to snare a sure home run from out of the hands of the crowd.  I think at this point, the Lakers and it’s fans would rather it not get to that point.  So this game may not be “win or go home”, but it’s as close to a must win as can be. 

So, how to pull it out is the question on the mind of all involved.  Phillip had an excellent break down of the Lakers’ defensive woes this morning, so starting with shoring up some of their defensive principles will go a long way towards earning a win tonight.  It’s not that the entire structure of the Lakers defense has been bad – their half court defense remains strong as evidenced by OKC’s low shooting percentage – but there are issues that need to be resolved.  Like now.  Chief among them is transition defense and ensuring that the run outs OKC is feasting on are reduced (only something we’ve been talking about all series).  Second, (and related to point #1) is what Phillip touched on directly with his post – the Lakers need to make the Thunder sink outside shots.  Over at PBT, Kurt is making a similar argument, stating that if the Lakers are to win the game it will be because they made the Thunder play agaisnt their strenths:

For the series, the Lakers are shooting an unimpressive 35 percent from beyond 10 feet from the basket.

But the Thunder are worse — 33.3 percent. They also are not a good jump shooting team, you just haven’t noticed it because in the two games in Oklahoma City they got 61 shots at the rim. They are running, they are driving, they were getting the easy buckets that fuel their offense. In their game two loss, the Thunder had 16 shots at the rim, in the game three win it was 31.

All that leads us to the pivotal game five tonight at Staples Center — the team that makes the other team a bunch of jump shooters from the outside is going to win this game.

But, there’s obviously more to a win than just stopping the Thunder run outs and turning them into a jumpshooting team.  The Lakers also need to find a way to consistently score the ball.  Whether by making some outside shots, attacking the rim more (and either converting or earning FT’s), or executing the finer points of the Triangle better (all of the above?), this team must find a way to put the ball in the basket because shooting in the low 40% range for a series won’t get it done.

But, it won’t come easy.  We’re now at the point of the series where there aren’t any secrets.  The game plans are established.  It will come down to execution and which team follows through on their plan better than the guys wearing the other jerseys.  It will also come down to who plays harder – especially when Thunder coach Scott Brooks is preaching hard work before every game and during every time out.  All those loose balls and plays that require extra effort can’t go to the other team.  Many of the Lakers players say that this is the game where the series turns in our favor.  Here’s hoping they’re right.

A few other points to this game:

*In the interviews that Phil did after Monday’s practice, he spoke about trying to exploit the Thunder’s willingness to crash both backboards as hard as they are.  Phil noted that the Thunder are gang rebounding on defense and are extra aggressive going to offensive glass, thereby compromising their floor balance when transitioning to defense.  In games 3 & 4, the Lakers were not able to take advantage of this but will try in game 5.  If this indeed is a point of emphasis for the Lakers tonight, look for them to try and push the ball even more on offense and for the guards (especially Kobe and Artest) to attack the defensive glass harder so that our bigs can get out and run the floor to establish early post position via post lane sprints.

*In those same post practice interviews, Bynum mentioned that his goal is to be better in his transition defense.  He noted that he’s been pinned underneath the OKC backboard too easily and it’s made it difficult for him to get back to help build the wall they want to show Westbrook and co. in transition.  So, look for Drew (and Pau) to be active on the O-glass, but only to a point.  If they don’t have an angle to get to the ball, I expect them to be running hard back in the other direction.  So, don’t be surprised if the Lakers offensive rebounding numbers are down this game as it could be by design.

*I mentioned this in the recap of game 4, but I’m truly interested in seeing if Odom can carry over his success from the second half of that game into tonight.  Last season, Odom was a catalyst for our championship run (just as he was for the Lakers finals berth in ’08).  I know people are down on LO lately, but he’s a guy that can make a difference and turns this team from good to great or kind of beatable to not beatable at all depending on his performance (and if the other guys play to their averages).

Darius Soriano

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217 responses to Lakers/Thunder: Game 5 Preview & Chat

  1. Warren! Let’s go, baby! Winning time!

  2. Honestly I question whether the Lakers really need to execute their offense all that well. They haven’t been executing it that well in this series at all…all they really need to do to beat the Thunder is stop shooting jumpers. I don’t even think we need to score the ball a lot.

    Heck, shoot with the shot clock at less than 5 seconds from the baseline over and over again and have the bigs not even pay attention to the glass. Just get back to cover the transition. Finish the game with a 67-59 win in all its horrible and wretched glory.

    (I kid, I kid…mostly)

  3. Not so bold prediction: If Oklahoma City has +10, or more, Free Throw Attempts for tonight’s game then the Robber Barons win.

    I am chanting a small but fervent chant tonight.

    “Foul hard. Foul hard. Foul hard.”

    Go Lakers!

  4. Bring it on both ends and we win. Let’s keep the home playoff record blemish-free with another win.

  5. The 5 player combination of bryant/artest/fisher/gasol/bynum has played a total of 78.45 minutes. Almost 41% of all possible minutes. This group has a +/- of 7 points.

    The Thunder’s most effective group is Durant/Westbrook/Collison/Ibaka/Harden at +12.

    the saying goes that “Basketball is a game of runs”. The less repeated corollary is “Runs are created by match-ups”.

    What must be obvious but probably not predicted before the series is that the best 5 man combinations the Thunder has against the Lakers contain Collison and Ibaka.

    Digging further, the best 3 man teams the thunder has is Durant/Westbrook/Collison at +28 and Durant/Westbrook/Ibaka at +23. These 4 players are by far the most effective and have killed the Lakers.

    What unit is the most effective against the Thunder 5 man group and the 4 man core?

    The Lakers coaches must know this. And we would too if we subscribed to an expensive stat service…But alas I do not subscribe and must only guess.

    But this most effective Laker team must have Bynum on it.

    Of the top 4 3 man combinations, there is only one common name – Andrew Bynum.

    How do you get Bynum against Collison and Ibaka? He either begins on the bench, or comes out early to re-enter against Collison and Ibaka.

    Phil Jackson is known as being quite a poor coach during the game. He doesn’t react to game time situations.

    But he is known as the best inter game strategist in the history of the league. If he hasn’t lost his edge, we should see something different tonight. If the Lakers haven’t tuned him out, they will execute this strategy.

    History says that a Phil Jackson strategy, well executed usually results in victory.

  6. While a win (any kind – be it by one or by forty) is a win, the Lakers must control the game from the tipoff till the end. It would be difficult or even unnecessary to blow out the Thunder, the Lakers must not let the Thunder players run out and dunk. NO EASY BASKETS!

    This game will set the tone for the season. Win emphatically, and our title hope remains strong. Squeak by, and we will have trouble even reaching the finals. Lose, and we’ll be lucky to get to the round 2.

    I, for one, expect a win by 9. Go Lakers!

  7. Great analysis Bill Bridges.

    Essentially, it looks like we need to go back to the substitution pattern of ’08 and early ’09 where Bynum came out at the 7-8 minute mark for LO, with Bynum then replacing Gasol before the end of the first. I’d actually love to see that, but LO needs to cooperate by making the most of his minutes (something that has not happened so far this series). However, as I said in the preview, he had a good 2nd half. If that carries over into game 5, I think we may see the lineups that you suggest. Very interesting, indeed.

  8. start Lamar tonight? maybe it will get him going again.

    i dont think the matchup with Ibaka is working in our favor. And Lamar against Green just seems like a better matchup. Plus we haven’t taken advantage of Pau’s size advantage.

  9. As I said in my post yesterday. The results of my battle with my 5 year old on NBA Play Station 2 was my Lakers smashing his young and cocky Thunder by 17.

    Play Station is truth so therefore that is my prediction. Lakers by 17.

    So rest easy Lkaers fans!

  10. I will repeat to myself 100 times, “I will not panic” ….

  11. Well stated, Darius, and good shout out to Phillip’s excellent breakdown (which I thought actually made my point from the other day about how the Lakers are being outcoached, but I digress…).

    A smarter defensive scheme would go a long way to reducing the number of transition baskets, and so far OKC has not shown themselves to be great shooters unless they first get a lot of easy baskets. So, stopping the layups is likely to have the added benefit of lowering the Thunder’s shooting percentage.

    I would love to see Bynum and Gasol beating OKC’s big guys down the floor, but I’m not sure that will matter if the guards continue their propensity of swinging the ball around the perimeter, so let’s hope early positioning will mean more low post touches.

    I was pretty disgusted by what I saw the last two games, but I am pretty optimistic that we’ll see a better Laker team tonight. If not, the ranting will continue….

  12. Key to this game, Ron Artest shaving his hair. Including the regular season, he’s shot around 30% from the field and the lakers are around .500 when he has the blonde?, gold?, orange?, rust? color hair.

    But seriously the Lakers know what they need to do, all those who visit this site know what the lakers have to do. We all know they can do it, but will they?

  13. I am going to DVR this game, great lil’ pau, and good job for the Warren honorary 1st comment. Bill Bridges, thanks for your input, I missed you around here.

    GO LAKERS…, and take the Thunder down tonight!

  14. Just an amusing lowlight to share, since there will be controversy regarding the officiating during tonight’s game…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vaZIAXJJDKQ

    Enjoy!

  15. 12. Wow…….

    Joey Crawford has to be the worst referee in the league game. I think he’s the only referee that has been suspended for his officiating (ejecting Duncan for laughing). The league should seriously consider giving him a nice retirement package because he personally is ruining the game.

  16. okay already had my fair share of laker haters in espn (both columnist and fans) and am pumped but never as ticked off when kobe reads those comments.

    just the right thing to fire me up. am skipping gym, heck, am skipping lunch. LET’s GO LAKERS!

    hope the staples crowd boasts of a sea of gold/yellow. but i guess we’re too established to do something like that. we need staples loud. if only to switch the fans in the bleachers with the fans who are content munching and talking biz in front. hope the stars make some noise as well. oh wish wish.

    GO LAKERS!

  17. As a fan with no horse in the playoff race this year, I think that the Lakers’ biggest problem is free-throws. Sure, they need to stop the fast breaks and improve the rebounding, but free-throw shooting is what could cause them the most trouble. I am not only talking about adapting to the officiating, avoiding the ticky fouls, and being agressive on the offensive end to force an evening of calls, but also MAKING the shots when they do get there (Averaging less than 70% is not going to get it done in a close playoff game).

    I attended both games in OKC (My dad has season tickets), and I just didn’t see the effort coming from the Lakers that i saw during last year’s championship run. Getting to loose balls and long rebounds, along with getting back on defense and preventing easy baskets is as much effort as anything else. I think that eventually the lessons of last year’s playoffs will kick in and your team will be ok.

    Lastly @ Darius, Good job in carrying on the good work that Kurt did before you. Your posts are always very good, and your moderation has kept this site one of my favorites to visit.

    Good luck to your team!

  18. Let’s go, baby!! A Great Wall appearance can only bring luck!!

    Haven’t slept well since Saturday– bring the heat!

    2 hours.

  19. yeah, great wall! now am getting memories of posting here last year. the stars are now aligning…

    now kurt where are you? why not pay darius and co. a post? just pushing…

    GO LAKERS!

  20. I didn’t see the 4th game. I DVR’ed it (family obligations) and was going to watch it the following day. Unfortunately I was careless in my web surfing in the early morning and accidentally saw the final score. I decided not to bother watching it after all, and I also decided to stay away from all sports websites that day.

    I am now back to being optimistic. We can do this. We can take this. As Bill Bridges put it, “History says that a Phil Jackson strategy, well executed usually results in victory.” As long as we can get the players to execute his strategy, we will be in good shape. In fact, that will be my chant for tonight.

    “Execute! Execute! Execute!”

    GO LAKERS!!!

  21. I am just curious – this is completely off topic – but could someone explain to me all the “Warren” references – especially for the ones that are the First to comment. Thanks.

    Lakers should come out aggressive tonight…go Lakers!

  22. Bad night for the L’s tonight…Thunder by 5….bring it youngsters

  23. Phil actually is making a adjustment. Kobe guarding Westbrook. Yea!

  24. #17. Great Wall,
    Honestly, I was just thinking about you. The other day, I linked to a post we did after the game 4 thrashing that your Rockets gave us last season and I was reviewing some of the comments from you and the other Houston fans that were here during that series. Good to see you again.

  25. Sweet jesus, is anyone watching the Bulls-Cavs game? It’s like the refs are just giving the Cavs the game, taking away a three point play from Rose and giving the world’s worst And-1 call to Lebron, 6 point swing.

  26. Bill Bridges is like our in-house Hollinger. Nice work.

  27. Zephid this is the year of James in the finals and the NBA is making sure of that.

  28. Zephid, and you didn’t even mention the THREE straight touch fouls given to Shaq early in the 4th. I’m just staring at the tv in disbelief.

  29. Thanks Darius! This is really a great forum. I visit many, mostly silently to get local input on their teams. I had a great time during last year’s playoffs here as you are one of the more welcoming and informative sites.

    lil’ pau and passerby, I remember you both…maybe if my presence here carries you to another championship I can petition the good doc for a playoff share? Just kidding.

  30. I just don’t understand why Derrick Rose passes. The rest of his teammates are just completely offensively inept, and Rose can get off his own shot near the rim every time down. Del Negro may be getting a raw deal, but he deserves to be fired just for his sheer lack of using Rose effectively.

  31. Rooting for Chicago.

  32. @GreatWall
    If you get us a repeat, I’ll personally stalk and harass the Laker front office until you get your share. ;)

    Welcome back. It’s good to see you again. :)

  33. Rooting for Chicago again.

    This team was oh-so-close last year, and they could do it again with a little bit of help…

  34. They’re giving out megaphones at the door at staples. Hope that gets it loud.

  35. Tough luck for Chicago. If Rose’s shot fell in and Noah grabbed the rebound, it could be a whole different game right now. Crazy how their season could end due to two bad bounces.

    Now all LeBron has to do is his bulldoze through.

  36. The playoff beard had to go today, for more reasons than just to try something new. Good to know Artest also go the memo. People around here (Phoenix) are starting to notice the Thunder, starting to think they have a chance. I think that all ends tonight. We will have a strong all around team game. I think Kobe plays vintage Mamba, and the bigs give us a + tonight on both ends of the glass. Artest just needs to continue his defensive dominance. I really feel that the shots are going to fall tonight…

    Two 30+ point periods should do the job.

    As much as I’m cheering for the Bulls; I’m cheering against overtime!

  37. Check out Blogabull … those are some self deprecating fans over there, and this game thread is 1000 straight comments berating the refs.
    http://www.blogabull.com/2010/4/27/1448123/playoffs-open-game-thread-overflow#comments

  38. Did Del Negro even draw a play? Wow.

  39. rofl two straight horrendous plays designed by Del Negro. Luol Deng holding the ball is not a recipe for success.

    It’s ok, they’ll get a decent coach next year and land someone like Chris Bosh and they’ll be a force.

  40. Thanks Mimsy! How have you been? This is a great time of year, unfortunately I have to get my thrills from watching the success of teams other than my own. I expect your Lakers to have a game like they have not had this post-season. If they just play with more hustle I will be surprised if they don’t win this game handily.

  41. Ron shaved his hair, if they win, I called it.

  42. Let’s see how Kobe plays Westbrook.

    So I see why Kevin Ollie is still in the league. His job is to pretend-brush the dirt off the OKC starters.

    HERE WE GO.

    – Two TO in the first minute and half.

    – LOL. Fisher stumbles to 2 points.

  43. F O C U S E D .

  44. Other than the two turnovers, really good things from the Lakers so far. We’re breaking the Thunder down by reversing the ball to the weakside, then getting the Thunder into scramble mode. On the other side, Kobe is turning Westbrook into a jump shooter, but the Thunder have also just missed some shots and had some close fouls not called for them.

  45. live stream anyone?

  46. So far the defense looks great.

  47. Even the turnovers are on attempts to go inside to Bynum. A bit sloppy on the entry by Fisher, and by Kobe, but the spirit is willing!

    Go Lakers!

    Great pass by Gasol.

    Great foul by Bynum!

    OH YEAH!

  48. Couple silly turnovers early, but otherwise, Lakers looking serious. If they’d just maintain this level of play in all quarters- they’d be up 3- 1 in this series right now. No disrespect to OKC, but when this squad is clicking, I’ve no doubts they can defeat anyone handily…it’s just they don’t click very often.

  49. 42, haha I saw that too. Like Josh Powell’s job is to whisper stuff into Kobe’s ear before each game.

  50. I like what I am seeing so far, Lakers playing with energy and are focused

  51. Wow amazing pass by Gasol to Bynum!

  52. Euug try atdhe.net

  53. @Great Wall
    Ask again after the game ;)

    I find myself nervous tonight. We have no one who can stop Durant.

    Whoa!!! Good things happen when we give Pau the ball! Give Pau the ball!!!

  54. Bynum is h.u.n.g.r.y.

  55. Interior, Passing, Is, Beautiful.

  56. Bynum is in all-beast mode tonight, and rubbing off on Gasol. I like this. :)

  57. #48, “… Josh Powell’s job is to whisper stuff into Kobe’s ear before each game.”

    That’s priceless.

    – I really hate the inconsistency of officiating between games. How many shot attempts would’ve resulted in free throws in OKC already? Four? Five?

    – I like how the old lady behind the OKC bench is yelling at Brooks to “sit down!”

    – Another nice pass by Gasol to Bynum.

    – Lakers offense is clicking. We’ve seen them do that in the 1st quarter. Let’s see if it will carry over.

  58. The Thunder are getting no calls at all.

  59. @Zephid
    It’s about time it evens out, no…? ;)

  60. Anyone have a link?

  61. Anonymous- atdhe.net

  62. made the mistake of watching this with my nonlaker fan friends. Had to rewatch that travelling call on kobe 4 times.

    On the plus side, consensus is it was the wrong call and it was deflected off the defender’s foot and kobe was jobbed. Downside is I just missed the next 90 seconds of play to prove I wasn’t being a homer.

    I love Kobe on Westbrook. Should have made this adjustment in game 2 so he’d stop embarrassing our pg’s. Thank you phil and kobe.

  63. Mimsy,

    Personally, I’d prefer the refs to not be biased either way, but I guess that’s probably asking too much…

    Westbrook runs into Artest, Westbrook bounces.

    I repeat: Interior Passing is Beautiful. I think that should be a new mantra for the team. If we keep up this level of effort/execution, this game is ours easily.

  64. Bill wrote earlier that Bynum could/should come out early and then back in for Pau towards the end of the 1st so he can get playing time against Collison and Ibaka. Well, Bynum went out early, but Collison and Ibaka are already in the game. Interesting.

  65. We saw in the first few games that the Thunder bigs were helping off their men and coming across and getting weak-side blocks. Now our guys are seeing this and making some seriously sweet interior passes.

  66. @Zephid
    See, that’s my problem. I am far too cynical to expect the refs to be unbiased, so all I’m praying for is that they’ll be biased in our favor…

    GO LAKERS!! Time to let the DVR catch up to the feed.

  67. Darius or others….status on DJ being inactive?

  68. @Taylor
    Update pre-game was that Mbenga will not play in Game 5, due to his eye.

  69. That was some of the most beautiful passing I’ve ever seen!

  70. Very nice to see Artest make a 3.

    1 of my two asked for 30+ point quarters. I like. 70% shooting? I love.

    Thanks Mimsy; was busy today, didn’t get to do the normal research. ; )

  71. Kobe really had to throw that 78 footer, huh?

    So much for ‘efficient shooting’ ;)

    I can live with this attempt tho.

  72. Now THAT is what we have all be talking about, shouting for, and by all that is holy in basketball, that was SO GOOD TO SEE!

    Keep the pedal down!

    Winning time!

  73. Well it s first day all playoffs long that i’m not regretting being awake at 5:00 A.M (Europe time)..lol
    Go Lakers go¡¡¡

  74. Don’t take the foot of the pedal. Blow these guys out of LA. Phil. No stupid subs.

  75. Wow. Just wow.

  76. Lets go bench mob

  77. Very good 1st quarter, Lakers moved to ball and everyone was active. Keep it up and don’t let them back into the game

  78. Good to see luke playing, that was a nasty fall in game 4

  79. Philllllll get that subs off the court sorry but I dislike everything about Farmers game.

  80. Good, Lakers are playing like they actually want to win this thing, bout time.

  81. 76, Our team is old as shit; they can’t go all 48.

  82. You gotta believe the Thunder won’t shoot 26% forever, but the Lakers defensive energy is impressive. I’m screaming loud, hoping others are too!! Sounds loud to me!!

  83. 81. great explanation

  84. During the quarter break, the international telecast didn’t cut the sound, and the announcer said something like “there’s too much shit here, get this shit outta here.” We’re also hearing them rehearse some facts that they’re going to use after the timeout.

  85. thisisweaksauce April 27, 2010 at 8:32 pm

    Zephid (76),

    Well, we’re not quite Celtics old. That’s ancient.

  86. Beautiful ball movement has led to 11 assists on 14 field goals. The interior passing has been wonderful and the kick outs have been timely. What’s also helped are the Lakers bigs getting down the floor quickly to establish the post early. That’s led to a collapsing D and angles for these passes.

  87. Kobe putting the moves on Durant!!

  88. Beautiful move!

    WOW!

    Oh, Derek. You make me cringe on fast breaks.

  89. That move by Kobe: what he practiced with Olojawon.

  90. Bynum BEASTING.

  91. BYNUM!

    Such a great job so far. So good. So good!

    Bring Gasol in to finish out this quarter. Keep Bynum fresh for the end of the third/beginning of the fourth.

    So good!

    Just trade possessions for a while, keep to the inside. Play defense.

    I mean this with great respect, but these Robber Barons do not give up. They play hard no matter what the score is.

  92. Are these “official timeouts” for commercials? I’ve seen so many during the playoffs.

  93. #92, Looks like it. Why would Scott Brooks call a timeout before Durant shoots free throws?

    These commercial timeouts for nationally televised games are annoying. Sure, it gives players some extra rest, but it also disrupts the rhythm of the game.

    —————

    Holy crap! Ron Artest can dunk!

  94. ARTEST WITH THE DUNK

  95. Ron Artest is… explosive?

  96. The best thing about that Artest dunk is that he just barely got it over the rim.

  97. Can someone please explain how that sweep move by Durant into Artest’s arms is a foul on Artest? If Artest’s arms are in a space, be that up in Durant’s face or down in front of him, and they don’t move, then his arms have a right to that space. Durant’s dragging his arms into Artest’s arms (assuming they don’t move) is an offensive foul every single time, right?

  98. #95, kareem, goddamn it. Are you a mind reader? You stole the words straight from my head!

    *Puts on tin foil hat*

  99. You see it was ugly hair that was holding Ron down.

    The barber for mvp

  100. My god, I am enjoying this game so much

  101. zephid,

    Artest barely got over the rim, which was kinda funny, but it went over so we are all happy.

  102. why does thunder still shoot more ft than lakers?
    durant clearly grabbed artest on that drive…no call…artest didn’t do anything and got called foul on durant.

  103. telecast confuses me.

    Odom grabs rebound with 0.9 secs to go and he has an layup attempt at the buzzer?

    did he teleport?

  104. Man, I love it when Ron Artest gets interviewed. He makes no sense at all and it’s hilarious.

  105. now thats how our guys play when they turn it on… :). even artest manages to dunk… something i thought i´d never see again.

    how sad is it, that the bulls couldnt pull the upset and extend the series? that would´ve been something…

  106. We held them to 16 in the first, 18 in the second.

    Oh my!

    OKC: 16 Free Throw Attempts.
    LA: 9 Free Throw Attempts.

    Keep it up keep it up keep it up!

    Go Lakers.

  107. 103 it was a full court 3 telecast doesn’t know nothing. When did Drew get so agressive I haven’t seen him dunking so much since ever it’s not like last year hes a new and improved Bynum I was also happy to see Artest slam it down I’m watching on a low resolution and I thought that was Kobe when I saw that dunk. Great defense and great offense lets win this one lakers.

  108. For some reason I feel like artest is going to thug out the interviewer lol.

  109. Now that is what i am talking about. just like the nba video game I played last night aganist my 5 year old son.

    Like i said last night my Lakers beat his Blunder by 17 and sadly i made him cry.

    Its ok I buy him a Laker Jersey.

  110. Kobe is giving W-Brook the Rondo treatment!

    Give Artest some credit – it was his off hand…you know he would have been at least an inch-1.5 higher with his left!

  111. Zephid: yeah haha. was i scoring more today? i don’t know. maybe i was. i like to dunk.

  112. Just looking at the box score, Ibaka is the only Thunder player shooting 50%, and the others aren’t even close.

    At work now… sigh. Enjoy the game fellas.

  113. Whenever Artest dunks I laugh, I can’t help it- that “Herman Munster feet” comment that somebody made awhile back pops back into my head.

  114. I got my old laptop backup and running! Me for computer MVP! :)

    This game looks good. Kobe is shooting well again, Andrew is dunking, Ron made shots, Pau made super-fantastic sexy passes, and even Fisher made shots.

    We can do this. We can absolutely do this. Bring it one, kiddies. :)

  115. Herman Munster!!!!!

    Now that’s off the charts/

  116. “I used to steal a lot of Little Debbie cakes from the store. I got real good at it and used to steal about four a day. You have to move slow in the store, otherwise they know you’re stealing. It prepared me for the league.” – Ron Artest

  117. Don’t we just love tnt. They devote the entire halftime segment on lebron, his elbow and the next series except for a 30 second commentary on the game being played.

  118. Yea, I doubt Lebron is hurt seriously, now the media will over hype the crap out of nothing just because he is Lebron…

  119. not to rain on the parade, but we are shooting absurdly high %, and OKC is shooting really abysmal, with 16% shooting from downtown.

    We are also not quite out of our FT funk, with Kobe shooting 3/5, which tells me that Kobe will probably suffer a low percentage bump sometime in the second half.

    It’s still better than any other outing we had thus far, but even then, the thunder could make this a close game. let’s hope our guys remember that at the beginning of the half and put this one away so Kobe can ice his knees a bit earlier.

  120. Lebron hurt his arm patting himself on the back.

  121. Aw, poor Bron-Bron, did your elbow get a boo-boo?

    I might be spoiled from watching Kobe all season long, but I have this weird notion that when you’re the super-star of your team, and you’re in the play-offs, you shut up and man up, and you play through little bruises. Maybe its just me?

  122. Wow, we’re focused.

  123. When we got Gasol hitting fadaway jump shots you know things are going well

  124. 44,000+ playoff minutes for Kobe. Wow.

    LOL. They don’t call a foul on Kristic for grabbing Pau’s wrist, but do call on the touch foul.

    #121, don’t forget that while Kobe plays through broken fingers, LeBron has sat out games for a sprained finger (not even joking).

    Lakers clicking on all cylinders – offensively and defensively. Good to see.

  125. and when Artest actually hits a 3, you know things are going super well!

  126. A little late to the party. Looks like the World Champion Los Angeles Lakers (I like the way that sounds, don’t you?) are blowing out, dismantling, tearing limb by limb the Thunder. Artest just nails a trey, and Bynum with the dunk and one, great stuff indeed.

  127. Artest on FIRE!

    Steal 3 Steal Assist… wow.

    That was like a 9 point swing there;

    And both of Art’s steals right after Kobe and Fisher’s TOs. NICE. no momentum, just call Time Out! Yeah!

  128. i know I am dreaming now. Ron on a fastbreak//////////////

    Don’t wake me up

  129. Bynum is getting great looks at the bakset tonight, dunks

  130. 108. I believe the right word is hoodalize

  131. Chick: “SSLLLLLAAAAAAAAMMMMMMM DUNK Andrew Bynum! Oh, what a play!”

    “Time Out Oklahoma City … Listen to that crowd!”

  132. Now if Artest actually continues to keep making those open 3s, then we are gonna be much tougher to beat.

  133. Stu Lantz: “Now that will get it done.”

  134. This is why we get so mad at the Lakers when they put up stinkers. Sure, OKC are missing shots-but the real story behind the Lakers’ high FG% is the way they’re playing inside and moving quickly. It’s effort more than anything else.

  135. You know you’re gonna get destroyed this game when Artest ZOOMS BY one of the quickets small forwards (Durant) for a dunk, and when he RACES (or jogs?) UP COURT for a fastbreak Bynum dunk.

  136. LAAAKEEERS!!!

    Did I mention I love watching our team play like this? Love it.

  137. When was the last time we’ve seen Kobe score 13 points and yet completely dominate the game?

  138. thisisweaksauce April 27, 2010 at 9:32 pm

    Josh (134),

    I think the effort is there. It’s the execution.

  139. THIS MAKES UP FOR XMAS AND EASTER.

    HAPPY HOLIDAY!

  140. This is why I sometimes hate the Lakers.They could play like this every game, but they don’t. Why? Why??? WHY?????

  141. Mimsy, I do too…

  142. gasols defense on durant is very impressive. amazing what pau can do

  143. Westbrook and Fisher must have a pact to boost each other’s steal count.

    I really like the shot distribution so far, and I love the %.

    Thunder seem to slowly up their FG% now, but as long as durant is shooting 33%, we’ll be fine…

  144. this is beautiful basketball. Any negative comments tonight = auto-ban

  145. @ around 2:50 left in the third,when the anouncer on TNT said, “The Lakers came out tonight with a real sense of purpose that we have not seen in two and a half games,” I swear I thought he was going to say months. That’s what I heard in my head anyway.

  146. Might as well bust out the taco chant now…

    or at least Daco chants… hope he gets well soon…

  147. Think the Thunder will win game six at home?

    Me neither.

  148. 147, I wouldn’t be surprised if we get blown out. Remember Houston last year? We blew them out in Game 5 only to get blown out in Game 6 to force Game 7.

  149. Bitter Sonics ex-Fan April 27, 2010 at 9:47 pm

    MS: same here on the “two and a half months”.

  150. This ball game is in the refrigerator … the door is closed … the eggs are jiggling … the milk is chillin’ … and the butter’s gettin’ hard …

  151. I am really enjoying this game, and hope we push the lead to 40 to really put it to this young team. If they werent afraid of us before, they should be now, cause they dont got a shot if we play like this.

  152. With it being nearly midnight my time, I am going to go to sleep knowing that i at least saw the Laker team that i expected to see when the series began. Congratulations!

  153. 144. This is as negative as it can get tonight…Derek Fisher played almost a perfect game…he didn’t take a bad shot (here comes the negative part) he actually passed up a shot he should’ve took that led to a turnover.

    I would like to see the bench play with purpose, despite being up 28 points, and try to get a rhythm and momentum going into game 6.

  154. Per my earlier statement…

    We got the 2 30+ point quarters. Check

    Out rebound on glass – check

    Didn’t get the higher totals on the O glass, but made up for it with better floor balance on defense.

    Overall grade = A

  155. Zephid: Doug Collins just copied your point:D

  156. i really think this team figured out what it takes to win. Defense and play hard.

    I have called every game so far.

    Lakers win friday by 2.

  157. Did OKC just throw the towel?

    I’m getting guys with no profile pictures on my telecast…

  158. Boy do I miss Chick in games like this.

    These kind of games always brought out the best in him. This is when he would get silly… “Lakers haven’t played this well since Hector was a pup!” etc.

  159. They have etan Thomas? Why not use him against our size?

  160. Yes, our obligatory WOW play is here too, so I guess this is over.

  161. Zephid @ 148 – The Thunder are a nice little team, I feel like patting them on the head and getting them some milk and cookies.

    It’s way past their bed time, know what I mean?

  162. Joel. Not to be a nag but Fish does have 4 to’s and the least amount of assists, 2 on the starters.

    Just want to keep ya streight.

    His beard look really good though.

  163. AMMO!

  164. Bynum got his 20-10, so let’s take him out…

  165. Even though it’s garbage time, I would still like to see our bench players to be disciplined enough to run the offense correctly.

    The ‘Stache just fouled the Beard.

  166. Why is Andrew Bynum still in this game?

    If he gets hurt I will personally come through this computer monitor and strangle P.J.

  167. Best part of all of this for me is that our starters (sans Bynum) are all resting on the bench!

  168. 155 – Did Collins mention that he coached Michael Jordan?

    It’s his main claim to fame, after all. The guy who coached Jordan and didn’t win a Title with him …

  169. Kobe Defensive Analysis:

    Doug Collins stole my point made earlier; Kobe definitely played Rondo-defense on Westbrook. Sure Russ made a few threes (2 I think), but I am more than happy to give him those all game long. Kobe played the angles perfectly and took away the first step to the basket that Russ had so easily earlier in the series. I think Russ is probably the most important player to get going on OKC; his game opens up for Durant to play better. The fact Kobe dared Russ to be a jump shooter and completely took him away from the lane made an incredible difference in the Thunder’s flow on offense.

    I think if Kobe takes the match-up again in OKC and the Thunder doesn’t make some real adjustments, they won’t be able to get the offense going. This ends Friday.

    13 left boys and girls! About time I get to cross off another number on my mirror.

  170. Collins is by far the best of all the talking heads. lets just pray we don’t get Doris Burke Friday.

  171. Good to see Bynum getting crunch time minutes in a playoff game.

  172. Bynum had a very impressive night:
    8-10 FGs, 5-7 FTs, 21 PTs, 11 Reb, 1 Asst, 2 Blocks and only 1 Turnover.

    Very very nice.

    By the way, shouldn’t it be BURRITOS in the Playoffs?

  173. Butler 35 for Dalles. Didn’t Mitch trade him for Stonehenge.

  174. Adam morrison lol. Thomas was just patting him

  175. Don’t anger The ‘Stache.

    Mbenga would have been handy in this game. Sasha still injured?

    #174, yes, but we traded Stonehenge for The Caveman. The Caveman gave us 25 and 11 tonight.

  176. the other stephen April 27, 2010 at 10:08 pm

    what’s interesting to me right now is that the bench guard play still leaves much to be desired, but the lead remains where it is. there’s a line from 300 that roughly describes them: “more like brawlers than warriors, but they play their part.” but this can very easily go away, and as we’re seeing the lead is slowly being chipped away. i think they really make the game tougher on our bigs than it should be. it’s like they refuse to have the runner and pick and roller taken out of them.

  177. taco unit? awwwww yeaaaah!

  178. ken wrote on April 27, 2010 at 10:04 pm
    Collins is by far the best of all the talking heads. lets just pray we don’t get Doris Burke Friday.

    Yeah, I’d prefer Doris Day.

    Doris Day, by the way, is a huge Laker fan. When they played in the old Sports Arena, she had season tickets right on the floor.

    I guess you would say she was “Jack,” before Jack.

  179. Ken

    We got gasol for stonehenge so at least something good came out of that

  180. These have to be the best tasting tacos of the year. NOM NOM NOM!

  181. Yes we did. Thank you for that.

  182. Ken

    Yea, Caron Butler was traded for Kwame. But Kwame was traded for Pau. Pau>>>Butler

    So are you saying you would rather have Caron instead of Pau?

  183. Fish didn’t get a lot of assists, but it seemed like he was helping to keep the ball moving, getting the “hockey assist”: the pass that leads to the assist.

    Nice showing Lakers. This game was a thing of beauty!

  184. Look at that free throw disparity- it’s only +5 for the Lakers in attempts. Pretty nice to see L.A. dominate without the need of a huge free-throw disparity.

  185. Do you think PJ knew all along we could win this way and just wanted to see if the other way worked so he wouldn’t have to show his hand? When I’m upset at him, its almost like he doesn’t know what he’s doing…then you see a strategy and execution in this manner and you think maybe he had it in him all along. Adjustments or the team just playing great basketball, the way we should? Both?

    12 to 7 fastbreak points for LA. Isn’t 12 more than we’ve had in 1-4 combined?

    Edit: 17 fastbreak points in 1-4.

  186. +/- for our guys tonight is really absurd.

    Anyway, good win. I don’t know how long it’s been since we had a win that didn’t involve heart attacks and high blood pressure.

    This was like a Royal Cruise.

  187. Great game Lakers, bring that same intensity to OKC for game 6. It won’t be easy. Time to close out the Thunder

  188. Man… That was fun to watch.

    Let us hope we get to OKC and close it out with the same ruthlessness we just showed.

    That was FUN to watch.

  189. Taylor, I thought of that earlier today too, especially with his reputation of letting players learn.

    Also, Kobe’s comments sort of hinted that he was on board as well, but I think Kobe wanted the first round to see how he’d do with his banged up finger, and he got the answer.

    I just hope that this was not a fluke thing where players just heed the coach once, but something where everyone realizes that this is the best way to win and save Kobe for the finals.

  190. http://polynorthamerica.com/WINS.jpg

    curious to hear what kinda adjustments okc will look to make.

  191. Here is the stat of the game:

    Assists

    Lakers 28

    Bryant with 7
    Artest had 6
    Odom had 4

    Thunder 17

    Distributing the ball, and getting guys the ball in places where they can do something. Nice!

  192. Of course not. I worked out great. But that was not the intent at the time. We actually traded for Brown because Mitch thought he could play.

    We got more then we could have hoped for it just took 3 years to happen.

    Thank god, or the Logo!

  193. and now i can say…YES!

    agreed with mimsy from some posts back: we ought to play like this game in and out. a game similar to this on friday and we’re marching on to crush fingers-crossed utah…

    and the dal-sas series as i said is not over.
    i’d not be so happy if i were pho as well.

    my, my, my i agree with doug collins, don’t count out the Cs in a matchup vs. the Cavs. They got bigs as well and enough firepower. the road to the finals gets exciting.

    game 6…next… GO LAKERS!

  194. Another stat just jumped out at me …

    Westbrook had 8 turnovers!

    Whoever was guarding him (I didn’t see the game, we don’t have cable) must have given him fits.

  195. Nice win, this game was more than I expected when I wanted just a good game, this was a great game in fact.

  196. #195 Dick Barnett, the Black Mamba was guarding him.

  197. J M wrote on April 27, 2010 at 10:44 pm
    #195 Dick Barnett, the Black Mamba was guarding him.

    Thanks

    So, that was an adjustment P.J. made, because I believe Fisher has been guarding him up to today, correct?

    If so, that is huge. It was like K.C. Jones switching Dennis Johnson off Byron Scott to have him guard Magic. It changed the entire series for the Celtics in 1984.

  198. This game was extremely satisfying, especially because my GF is a Thunder fan. LAKERS!!!

  199. #198 Dick Barnett, yeah, Fisher was “guarding” *snicker* Westbrook in the first three games.

    I believe the Lakers made other adjustments, as well. Better execution, smarter defense, faster tempo on offense.

    Unsurprisingly, three of the four Eastern Conference match ups are finished, while the Western teams are all still competing.

  200. What a difference a court makes…. And the difference is in the details.

    #1 Kobe VS Westbrook
    As I mentioned yesterday I believe… the only OKC player that has been effective on offense was Russell Westbrook… and as I said before the series started… with no offensive weapon at SG the Lakers can and should easily move Kobe over to defend Westbrook and Fisher can guard offensive midget Thabo. With Russell taken out of the game and Durant continuing to be slapped around by Artest the Thunder just have nowhere to generate offense.

    #2 Artest VS Ariza
    The Lakers weren’t supposed to be just getting a one on one defensive upgrade and outside shooting upgrade. Artest was known for being a playmaker, shotmaker, and pass maker. Most of the season he has been relegated to being a spot up shooter (something he isn’t accustomed to). Maybe it was just one game… but maybe he is getting comfortable on this team and in the offense. And maybe he is no longer afraid to be aggressive on this star studded team and might be starting to get comfortable being aggressive, penetrating and making plays. We shall see.

    #3 The Refs
    Probably the biggest effect on this game were the refs not gifting the Thunder FT’s when attacking the basket. The Thunder attacked early and often and got stone walled at the rim thanks in large part to Gasol and Andrew Bynum. After rightfully not getting any calls OKC abandoned forcing the ball to the basket and the route continued.

    #4 Bynum has Arrived
    After missing the playoffs due to injury two seasons ago and being limited with a sever knee injury last year, “The Beast” is making his presence felt on both ends of the floor and nobody is benefiting more than “PF” Pau Gasol. For the first time in his playoff career (including in Memphis) Pau can play most of his playoff minutes at his natural position of PF… and has Gasol ever looked as dominant in the playoffs as in this series? How many NBA players playing PF can defend Gasol? I can only think of Anderson Varejoa. Welcome to the playoffs Andrew… we have been accepting you.

  201. That ruled.

    Out.

  202. i must say, i’ll sit back and enjoy insightful to resentful remarks by both cavs and celtics fans for some hours. aaahhh, the beauty of a day-off.

  203. What a great way to end/ruin a long post. That was supposed to read…

    “Welcome to the playoffs Andrew… we have been expecting you.”

  204. Okay here are my great thoughts, wow the Lakers fans have so much to cheer and be happy about, they whipped a team that has been playing together what a year? WOW thats something to brag about. Isnt that kinda like taking candy from a baby? In Oklahoma time the game played until midnight which is past 90% of the teams bedtime, wow Lakers great job there. Seriously what do you guys have to be so proud of? You stomped a young team but dont forget they stomped you guys too. Even if the Thunder dont win another game it doesnt matter. No one thought they would get this far but they did and lets not forget they won two games against the champs.

  205. #150 Dick Barnett:

    If you’re going to quote Chick and put the game “in the refrigerator”, please quote him correctly…

  206. How about LBJ and his injured elbow? A mysterious injury which is being hyped up as LBJ playing through pain.

  207. Seeing Kobe with a bad knee shore up our perimeter defense really makes me wonder how good we could be if we didn’t have Derek Fisher often being a glorified traffic cone on defense and a bricklayer on offense at his age.

    Ugh, if only we could transplant Fish’s heart and brain into Farmar or Shannon and we’d be golden.

  208. This is what he meant of course, and it seemed this way most of the game:

    “The game’s in the refrigerator. The door’s closed, the light’s out, the eggs are cooling, the butter’s getting hard, and the Jell-O’s jiggling.” – Chick Hearn

  209. This is where i love the Lakers…

    No matter how much we lose… the lakers need only a win in those many games to give us the excitement and to strike fear into the enemy.

  210. That was satisfying…

  211. this blog is so much more fun to read when the lakers win by 20 points. its amazing how much difference a game makes. 2 days ago we weren’t going to win another game. today, we’re the kings of the world…. thats why perspective is so important.

    im not the biggest kobe fan because of over shooting, but when he plays like this, man, i become such a huge fan. someone said it earlier, he dominated and scored less than 20.

    amazing.

    13

  212. Alisha…sorry your team lost but why come here and try to rain on the parade?

    There are no moral victories in the playoffs- you win or you go home. Kudos to Brooks, Durant and co. for a hugely successful turnaround and for the success they will undoubtedly have in the future—-but if the Lakers had taken this series as seriously as they did tonight from the get-go, it would be over by now.

  213. #208

    I know what he meant, but what I meant was that if he was going to quote Chick he should get the quote right.

  214. Joey Jo-Jo Shabadoo April 28, 2010 at 12:27 am

    I LOVED that feigned block Kobe did on Westbrook that gave Russell the spooks and turned the ball over.

  215. Seid From Ethiopia April 28, 2010 at 12:57 am

    This place is one happy place today!!! I’m happy!!!!