Lakers/Thunder: Game 6 Preview & Chat

Darius Soriano —  April 30, 2010

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We’ve been talking adjustments all series, so why stop now?  In game 5, the Lakers implemented some subtle (and quite effective) changes on offense while also switching Kobe onto Russell Westbrook as a major defensive adjustment.  These refinements on both sides of the ball (plus some good ‘ol fashion hustle) erased the memory of what transpired in the game 4 debacle and revitalized the Lakers in what turned out to be a game 5 trouncing of the Thunder.  So, at this point, in a win or go fishin’ game, the Thunder must now try to crack the updated code of the Lakers to try and force that game 7.  So, what should the Lakers be prepared for?

Honestly, I don’t think the Lakers need to be concerned about any new wrinkles from the Thunder.  When this series started, we discussed how the Thunder run some of the more simple schemes in the league.  Their main goal is to get out in transition and take advantage of their athleticism and if that’s not possible to set up in the half court and feature the league’s leading scorer.  At this point, that strategy has won them 2 games and had them close to winning a third.  Scott Brooks doesn’t come off (at least to me) as the panicky type and I don’t expect a slew of crazy new innovations.  What I do expect is him refocussing his team on the task at hand and reminding them that they have a winning strategy.  All that’s needed is exectution.

This is especially true for Russel Westbrook.  Sure, in game 5, the Lakers did a tremendous job of limiting Westbrook’s success and effectively taking him out of his game.  But now that the Thunder have seen this strategy, I think they’ll just try to conteract this with more perseverance.  As Kurt metions over at PBT, Westbrook must get back to an attacking mentality in order to have an impact in this game.  He can’t settle for jumpers and he can’t let up just because the seams aren’t there for him.  He must be relentless.  And this is what I think we’ll see. 

But there has to be more, right?  I’ve read in a few different places that the Thunder may go to a lot of P&R action for Russ in order to free him from Kobe’s tractor beam defense.  And while that’s a possibility, I don’t see that being a primary strategy.  When reviewing the game tape of Russell’s offensive plays, I saw that the Thunder ran less than 5 actual P&R’s for Russ in the last game.  And while I do see that number increasing, I don’t expect a dramatic jump in that number.  The Thunder’s main goals on offense, especially in the half court, are still focussed on getting Durant the ball in position to score.  Will Brooks sacrifice possessions for KD in order to get Westbrook going?  That seems doubtful to me.  Not when Westbrook isn’t a threat to make the outside shot consistently (making the P&R easier to defend when he’s the ball handler).  Really, what I expect is for the Thunder to go back to what has worked all series – getting the ball into Westbrook’s hands early and trying to push the pace.  Sure, we may see attempts at more open court screens to free Westbrook, but in the end, I think it will be business as usual with Russ attacking and then the sets being ran for Durant if/when nothing develops in transition.

From the Lakers perspective, I think they also understand what needs to be done and don’t expect to see many changes from game 5.  They’ll continue to attack off the dribble and look for their bigs when help comes.  I think we’ll see the Lakers look for early offense and if it’s not there look for their posting bigs and then pass, cut, and screen with purpose.  Sure, I think OKC will show different forms of help on our bigs that they didn’t display in game 5, but I don’t think we’ll see anything too different than what we’ve seen earlier in the series – dig downs from guards with the defense collapsing from the perimeter rather than helping with big on big.

This may not sound sexy, but there aren’t any more secrets in this series.  I think the last major adjustments that we saw were the switch of Kobe onto Westbrook and Phil re-epmphasizing to Bynum and Gasol that getting back is imperitave (with the threat of playing time being reduced if this was not accomplished).  Sure, we may quicker hooks for ineffective players (Thabo, Green, Krstic) or longer runs for guys like Harden or Ibaka if they are making an impact on the game.  I mean, Scott Brooks knows that this is a must win and I think he’ll coach accordingly, but what else is there really? 

In the end, this game will come down to who plays harder and smarter; who can execute their plan better than the next guy.  As has been the case all series if the Lakers can slow the Thunder in transition, continue to limit Durant’s success, and establish a strong inside game it will go a long way towards a win and the ending of this series.  If OKC gets out in the open court, force LA into shooting jumpshots, crash the offensive boards, and get to the foul line, a game 7 is on the horizon.  And that’s basically it.  This is what you have after 5 hard fought games and both teams throwing the kitchen sink at eachother.   All that’s left is to sit back and see which team can do it better in a must win game for the Thunder.

Darius Soriano

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233 responses to Lakers/Thunder: Game 6 Preview & Chat

  1. This one’s for Warren!

  2. I think two quick early fouls could really change this game. I don’t mean just personnel wise, I’m saying the adjustments that we’d have to make or the adjustments they’d have to make would determine how this game will play out. As a power team we want some physicality to be allowed on dribble drive attacking the rim. On the other end, they’d like to see refs allow more tugging grabbing, and fighting for stationary position in the post. Certainly different philosophies in calling the fouls will go a long way to how aggressive the players are and how matchup advantages will be impactful or neutralized.

  3. There was an interesting comment in the last thread about Lebron. Actually, I have seen several members of the mainstream media talk about how the pounding he takes might shorten his prime. It’ll be interesting to watch. I suspect the only way Lebron can truly lengthen his career is to improve his footwork as he ages. He needs that post game, there’s no way around it. If he can develop it, with that body, he’ll be a beast for a very long time. No secrets there.

    This will be fun, to see how our guys play with the crowd tonight. If they start out hot, can they keep the crowd out of the game? It seems like once the Thunder build momentum at home, it’s hard to turn it off. Let’s hope our guys come out with that killer focus and throttle the Thunder attack from the beginning.

  4. Let’s go Lakers, let’s finish the series tonight! Maintain the level of play established in Game 5 in tonight’s game through June!

  5. All i have to say before the game has started is….I FREAKIN HATE THE REFS!

    There, i said it. Hopefully now it’ll just be a non-event when the Thunder players are queued up for the free throw line in a Ref funded free throw derby.

    On a game note, tonight we’ll see if this team is championship worthy or not. Quite frankly, last year the Lakers had the confidence to come out and win these type of games. Whether it was game 3 in Houston, game 3 in Denver, game 6 in Denver and game 5 in Orlando. When it was necessary, they won it on the road. And this one is necessary, although perhaps not to the extent as the aforementioned.

  6. I’m (obviously) hoping that the Lakers can close this one out tonight. I would also like to see Denver pull out a victory as well. That way while Utah and Denver plan for a game 7, the Lakers can get some rest. Even though, Bynum has been beasting for us lately, I do recall that he is tremendously slow in returning from injury, so this extra time to regather some lost agility could be beneficial. Also, Kobe’s broken everything could use the extra 2 or 3 days.

    Oh, I hear the FISHING in OKC is great, this time of year……again, I’m just saying.

  7. A 7 game series in the first round is pointless. Sure, it means more TV time, but at the end of the day all it means is more games where your star players can get hurt. The Lakers have to close this out tonight. There’s not need for a game 7. Kobe, Ron, Bynum all need their rest.

  8. As you stated Darius: “In the end, this game will come down to who plays harder and smarter.” What more needs to be said. It’s as simple as that.

    Take a look @ how the West is playing out so far: Spurs in 6 & Suns in 6. I fully expect the Jazz to finish off Denver 2nite & for us to wrap it up also. So in all likelihood, each series will end in 6 games. Crazy. We’ve already put the kids to bed. Now it’s time for us to turn out the lights. LETS GET IT.

  9. I’ll take a Utah win and a short turnaround to the start of the second round over the risk of Denver winning games 6 and 7 and coming into LA with all the swagger of a team that came back from the dead with 3 straight, anytime. Despite the brilliance of Boozer and Williams and the shaky play of the Nugs on both sides of the ball, I still think Denver is the one team I don’t want to face in the west.

    But mostly I just want us to win. Three hours!

  10. 9 Lil’ Pau, You said it bro. The short turn around for us over a streaking nuggets team any day of the week.

    Unfortunately, I’m going to work now, so it’s more like 9 hours away for me.
    Go Lakers!

  11. 10. Quit your job. It’s the playoffs.

  12. LA played well at the start of game three, but couldnt keep their focus the entire game and let the Thunder outplay them in the 4th quarter for the win. Tonights key will be controlling the mental aspects of the game. Keeping an even temperment when the crowd is going crazy or the refs are calling touch fouls is paramount. 48 minutes of focus, not 24 or 36, will allow LA to overcome whatever OKC or the refs will throw their way.

  13. Here’s to the Lakers ending this series!

    Rebound, defense, dunk, close out on shooters and contest OKC shots, if they get in the paint.

  14. It’s a must-win tonight for the Lakers and for my family. We’re taking my daughter to California Adventure on Sunday afternoon. I can DVR a Game 1 but I cannot miss a Game 7. Please pray for us all…

  15. Complacent has been used around the media. How when we don’t feel it is a must-win, we come out sloppy and loose. Maybe, maybe not. That being said, we all know that anything can happen in 1 game, especially when there is a KD-factor on the other team. He could pull a D-Wade and takeover a game. All this means is, I hope our guys come out and take this game and don’t risk something strange happening in a Game 7. There’s always people out there rooting for a once-in-a-lifetime performance and we don’t want to fall victim to that.

    Here’s to closing it out tonight, and crossing off another number on the mirror. Lake Show!

  16. I just wanted to show Lebron’s footwork compared to Kobe’s:

    Kobe (from Phillip post): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nxS2rQuW8xg&feature=player_embedded

    Lebron (last game vs. Chi):
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFwsuOy4cQs

    footwork =/= easy

  17. We could use both of our 7-footers to set double screens for Kobe as an offensive option for us. What I mean is to have Bynum at the top of the key and Pau nearby, with only enough space between them for Kobe to move through. This would make sure two things happen:

    1. Whoever is guarding Kobe will have trouble going through two 7 footer screens

    2. Take OKC bigs away from the basket as both Pau and Bynum (to a lesser extent) can hit a shot from outside and need to be accounted for at all times

    What do you guys think?

  18. Only one team in NBA history has had 10 streight 50 win seasons without winning once winning the title,

    Welcome to Mark Chokens Dalles Mavs.

    Lakers by 3 tonight.

  19. Great JeremyLA24, the honorary Warren 1st comment. Isn’t this just great, a game six with the current momentum in the Lakers hands now. I am really looking forward to see which Laker team shows up tonight, I want the one that just dismantled the Thunder last game to come in full force again.

    GO LAKERS…

  20. Kaveh, don’t romanticize last year’s team too much. The example you cited are largely inappropriate. The game 3’s against Houston and Denver were not at all like tonight’s game. In those games, the Lakers needed a win because they’d blown home court by losing one of the first two.

    The most similar games from last postseason are game 6 in Houston and game 6 in Denver. One was a disaster, and one was a classic. Let’s hope for the latter this time around.

  21. While I expect to see a parade of Thunder players going to the free throw line tonight the Lakers can still pull this thing out. They just have to keep their heads and stay focused.

    @18,

    Wow, I didn’t know that about Dallas! Ten 50+ win seasons and no banners? I bet Cuban wakes up in cold sweats hearing Dwanye Wade’s voice echoing through his hallways.

  22. We are all in this thing to win, but I think we should all remember the Dallas team before Cuban bought them. Not a pretty sight.

  23. Mike Penberthy April 30, 2010 at 5:33 pm

    I think he wakes up in cold sweat hearing ref’s whistles and seeing Wade carry every time he goes to the hoop to get those whistles.

  24. Hawks – Bucks is a confounding game so far. 38 to 36, with 5 minutes gone in the THIRD quarter… both teams shooting in the low 30% range… ugh…

  25. bucks atlanta is truly some awful basketball right now

  26. 7, unless you operate Staples Center and every home game you host earns you $1M.

  27. As Darius said, at this point in the series there are no more secrets.

    It is strictly about who forces their gameplan on the other team, and how the referees see the calls.

    Just as I predicted in Game 5, if Oklahoma City is +10 or more in Free Throw Attempts during the game, the Lakers will be heading back for Game 7 in Los Angeles.

    Go Lakers!

  28. Zephid that is 3 million plus in gross sales per playoff. Includes food, drink, hats, shirts plus tickets,

  29. Volleyball – all game long.

    Gotta stay with the bigs.

  30. Man. I haven’t cheered this hard for a Fisher 3 in a long time.

  31. Thunder look tight. Missing a lot of gimmes and shots they usually hit.

  32. Go Lakers, close out the Thunder tonight and get ready for the next round

  33. I haven’t cheered this hard for Fisher.

    EVER!

  34. I would say 70% of Kobe’s FT makes in the last 3 months or so go off the front of the rim and drop in. Anyone else noticing this? Is there more room for error trying to be a little on the front end rather than shooting long?

  35. really ken? .4? really?

  36. OK everyone. The big lineup we all want.

  37. THIS IS THE LINE-UP IVE LOOKED FOR ALL SEASON

    Kobe/Ron/LO/Pau/Drew

    Interesting Phil has been saving it?

  38. Gasol has 7 rebounds already?? did i hear that right???

  39. Taylor, agreed. This is my dream line-up, if only for fun rather than actual effectiveness.

    Kobe missing a few at the rim, hope he stays aggressive anyway.

  40. tHEY may be a good team but boy do that have the uglest fans in the NBA. Did you see that pan shoot of the crowd?

  41. This line up is great… if Kobe/Artest/Odom are hitting their jumpers.

    This line up is great… at rebounding.

    This line up is great… in half-court sets.

    This line up is great… if you have decided to impose your will in the paint.

    This line up is great… just maybe not against Oklahoma City.

  42. It’s good to see us getting to the FT line a bit.

    I disagree with Van Gundy and the other heads. We need to take away the mid-range jumper from Russ by staying in his face and having the bigs help behind when he drives. We can lay off of him behind the arc, but his mid-range game has killed us, and he has knocked those down consistently. The bigs need to stay at home to help on defense so Kobe knows he can stay up on the jumpers.

  43. 42, that’ll just get Gasol and Bynum in foul trouble, and the last thing we want to see in this series is more Josh Powell.

  44. kobe has to come through for us tonight in these tight situations. so far, his aggressiveness to the basket is fine with me, miss or make…he has to set the tone. our bigs will have to be in the flow sooner though.

  45. stop shooting kobe!
    interestingly, the first 3 possessions of the lakers sucked. Gasol rushed the 1st, bryant ball-hawked the 2nd, and fish ball-hawked the 3rd. PLEASE Pound the ball inside!

  46. Kobe is being really aggressive this game shooting 10 times already. I’d usually be complaining about that many shots, but he seems to be penetrating a lot more, and a lot of his shots are in or near the paint, so thats good.

    But I’m hoping they key on him defensively a bit more to open up some passing lanes so we can get our offense going a lot better.

  47. I think that Krstic was just fouled by his own team mate, and was sent to the line anyway…

    Not a terrible first quarter. Each team missed some bunnies, had some in and out heartbreaks.

    Krstic getting 9 points is unexpected. Maybe we could, um, what’s the word… DEFEND AGAINST HIM?

    Go Lakers!

  48. Kobe seems like he is forcing it aganist Durant. Hope ego dosen’t take over good sense.

  49. thru rather

  50. depressing watching kobe miss layups

  51. Laker offense way too slow to initiate…don’t like the walking it up….our advantage was early post offense last game………Lakers need to play up tempo halfcourt offense….Westbrook must be posted constantly, those are body blows to him that will wear/slow him down as the game progresses

  52. I’m not saying to play “matador” defense on him, but I think Kobe did a much better job contesting the mid-range game in Game 5. I’ve seen him stay on the ground twice already.

    EDIT: Energy-Odom would be a very good thing to see. Nice to see the effort getting the And-1.

  53. The officials seem to be letting both sides play tonight. So far I think things have been very evenly called, which is nice to see.

  54. Kobe has taken 11 shots made 3. At that rate he shoots 44 times?

  55. why did brown do that????

  56. ok brown i take that back

  57. Shanwow taking and making fool’s gold shots……hope we don’t pay later…..

  58. Anybody have any extra finger nails?

  59. im really starting to hate Ibaka, he must be good

  60. Kobe had a few roll just off the rim, and a full-court heave to end the quarter. He’s not taking bad shots, just getting bad bounces.

    Shannon on the other hand, took a couple bad shots and both went in.

    Bigs are working hard to counter the fronting; as long as the ball keeps moving around the perimeter before the post entry, they’ll get good looks.

    What happened to our team’s ft shooting? % seems way down lately.

  61. I dont care if Kobe shoots 100 times, if he attacks the rim like this on a consistent basis good things will happen

  62. This game may come down to the last shot. It is a great hard fought game from both sides, with fair officiating, good for us.

  63. Krstic’s start is troublesome. Hate to see a secondary player have a star night.

    Still, hard to complain too much about how we are playing so far.

    Heck, Phil is even subbing tactically in this game! Must be a big game…

  64. Kobe’s taking what the D is giving him. They’ve seen 2 straight Kobenash games, and they’re playing the passing lanes more and leaving him with better openings to the basket.

    The constant driving is also keeping the calls even. In the games we’ve lost the Lakers have been shooting outside while the Thunder go inside.

    Don’t let them be the sole aggressors. If he’s missing layups, I’m happy because that means Kobe is within 2 feet of the basket when he shoots.

    Speaking of his drives, half-time adjustment by the Thunder will probably include “take away his left”…though that just leaves his right…

  65. Additionally, if we lose this game and Nenad Kristic continues to be the high scorer for the Thunder, I’ll be OK with that.

    You WANT Kristic taking all of those shots.

  66. keep those 3s falling!

  67. Pau Gasol. Mr. Soft. With a monster dunk. oh, and 10 rebounds.

  68. yeah, TAKE THAT!

  69. One play Pau gives a pretty no-look pass, next time goes MAN-strong and throws it down.

    Yes, Van Gundy – ridiculously multi-faceted.

  70. Odom did a great job as the trailer and got the layup.

  71. van gundy on gasol: he’s ridiculously multi-faceted…

  72. these fouls are taking our momentum away…

  73. OK, how does a standing Fisher draw a blocking foul?

  74. Kobe attacking the rim is definitely a good thing. But I agree- it’s so depressing knowing that Kobe is not at 100% because of the injuries (NOT BECAUSE OF HIS AGE) and seeing that the people who think he’s declining are getting proved right, in a roundabout way. If Kobe was healthy right now and even 80% of himself from last season, this series would have been over long ago.

  75. The Thunder, finding creative ways to get Free Throws since 2010.

  76. The refs didn’t want this game to get away from OKC before the half. I don’t mind that… it will make the 2nd half more enjoyable. This is good for the Lakers… another chance to work through a game on the road where the other team gets free points. It will help them in the long run.

  77. Same ref, 3 calls in a row. Donaghy pt. 2

  78. getting a bit sick of free throw disparites at OKC

  79. If by creative you mean Fisher’s stubborn unwillingness to stop chest bumping the guy he’s guarding…thougth Van Gundy made a good point, Artest should have fought through and not forced Fisher to switch

  80. Wow. THAT is how you chase loose balls.

  81. This is a fun game. Good effort on both sides. POwell on the floor?? Has anyone ever seen that?

  82. foul foul foul wow

  83. Kobe jump passes are hurting us badly

  84. Two straight possessions Kobe left his feet and looked for a teammate in mid-air, both resulting in passes to OKC players.

    Six point lead at the half? I’ll take it.

  85. love it that kobe has the last say in the half

  86. westbrook and durant are untouchable in the paint, grr

  87. Man, Kobe and Pau are like feuding lovers.

    Kobe: How could you miss my pass?
    Pau: How could I know you were going to pass? I was going to the rim for the rebound!

  88. It’s all about team basketball on offense and defense- this team is unbeatable when they play together with purpose

  89. passerby, either the system hates your IP, or your name makes you sound like a spammer, because all your posts are getting caught by the spam filter regardless of content. Maybe try changing your name and see what happens.

    OKC are getting a lot of really questionable calls. I can understand Durant getting calls for his rake through move, but when he bumps Artest in the chest with his arms and gets a foul called because of that, that’s a little suspect.

    So long as the Lakers clean up the defensive glass, we should be fine. Second chance points are killing us. We’re doing good cutting off their transition points and walling off the paint, but we have to stop their bigs from cutting along the baseline.

  90. Solid 1st half ….. Playing excellent defensively ….. Need to get Big Drew more looks ….. Shannon steppin up …. Overall, good contribution from the bench …. They’ve made more free throws (17) than we’ve attempted (12) and we’re STILL UP SIX ….. Like I said b4, coming into the game, as a team, you already know that 9 times out of 10, the home team will get the benefit of the doubt when it comes to the calls. You just have to play through it ….. As of right now, we’re doing a good job of it

  91. By the way wasen’t it Denver who said they know how to beat the Lakers.

    How are they doing?

  92. Laker Free Throws (First Half): 8 for 12 Attempts.

    Oklahoma City Free Throws (First Half): 17 for 21 Attempts.

    Not looking good for us…

    Let’s hope that we start fouling with intention, and that we begin to attack the interior with aggression.

    Go Lakers!

  93. a spammer am certainly not…

    don’t know which among reasons you gave is causing it. will apply changes. let’s try this post…

    thanks for concern.

    passerby

  94. Kobe dosen’t look right out there/

  95. bynum’s obviously laboring out there

  96. Durant with another gift from the officials.

  97. Calls like that drive me crazy. You ARE allowed to defend, right?

    And then Bynum is ripped off. That should have been a shooting foul.

    And that was NOT three seconds…

    Grrrrrr…..

  98. Kobe looks okay to me, he’s scored our only 8 points to start the 2nd half.

    Anyone else notice a lot of Fisher’s passes to the bigs have been off-target lately?

  99. Bynum does not seem right out there, and he picked up a foul that was not a foul, he went straight up, what else is he supposed to do?

  100. Followed by a few gifts from the Lakers…

  101. Kobe’s willing it to happen- but is anybody else feeling like the Refs are suddenly trying to gift OKC? Bynum doesn’t get the shooting foul, then gets called on a 3-second violation?!?!?

  102. this is the kobe i wanted to see this stretch…he had to have this run after a lazy start to the 3rd by the lakers. now time to get the big men involved.

  103. Bynum never has gotten much love from the refs.

    Lakers need to step it up on the defensive end. OKC is getting the looks they want in the 2nd half.

  104. I would like to see Artest get more touches in the post, not only to get him going, but to mix it up on offense a little bit more. He needs to see the ball go in.

    EDIT: Mamba-mode?

  105. these fouls are ridiculous. hate the game be dictated this way…what’s wrong with bynum?

  106. How…how was that a foul on Kobe?

  107. kobe insulting the refs and okc…

    i can get my points without your help thank you…

  108. OK, THAT was a foul…and a stupid one…on Kobe.

  109. congrats to the refs for keeping okc in this

  110. The same ref making all the calls for them… unbelievable!!!

  111. The referees are blistering their lips keeping this game close…

    Lakers are shooting 47.5% overall and 50% from three point range. Only 18 of 59 shots from long range, so the free throw discrepancy is not from aggressiveness.

    Only up by 6, because of that charity stripe…

    Kobe is on fire. So nice to see.

    Go Lakers.

  112. anybody who thinks the refs are on OKC side is a fool. In a fair game the Lakers would be burying this team.

  113. The refs have made a lot of mistakes this game. Like the foul Artest hitting Westbrook which somehow sent Durant to the line, and Bynum not getting free throws on his dunk attempt.

  114. Return of the Black Mamba- but I hope he doesn’t burn himself out in the 3rd on this flurry of points. Other guys need to get it going.

  115. I am telling you… battling against the refs too is great for this team… we are keeping our composure.

  116. The first one on Kobe was not a foul, the 2nd one definitely was.

  117. TAKE HIM GASOL!!

  118. Some really stupid plays by Brown there. He should have taken that 3.

  119. While I love Kobe’s game today, he has been efficient scorer not overshooting.

    I think his aggressiveness takes away fromt he fluidity of the offense when he sits. They seem a little confused out there as a team since Kobe sat down. .

    FISHER!!!

  120. FISHER!!!!!

  121. Thank you Derek I was beginning to wonder if anyone other than Kobe could score points

  122. That missed 3 by Fisher should have been a repost to Pau after drawing away the double-team.

  123. if we lose here it feels like the refs owe us a 30-point blowout on game 7.

  124. wow no one in double figures except Kobe with 30…

  125. ESPNLandOLakers: RT @LakersReporter: Spero Dedes on 710 radio: Andrew Bynum hyper-extended right knee in the first half; he’s trying to play through it.

  126. Bynam knee problems. Man it never ends for this guy.

  127. right knee hyper-extended for bynum?

  128. Through the third quarter:

    Lakers: 9 of 14 Free Throw Attempts.

    Oklahoma City: 24 of 28 Free Throw Attempts.

    OKC: + 14 Attempts and +15 Points.

    I have been watching this game, and the Robber Barons have NOT been twice as aggressive. They simply haven’t been…

    I know that the Ford Center is very loud, and that the referees are going to show some bias towards the home team, but this is… It is a lot to swallow while watching as a fan, and also as a player.

  129. the 3s might be the difference

  130. After the air ball by Harden, i loved seeing 4 guys stand up and clap on the defense on the Lakers. Thats a good team. People pulling for one another. Led by Fish and artest. Pau stood up and of course Ammo. Kobe stayed sitting… hahaha

  131. Least favorite Laker player—>Farmar

  132. We’re getting forced into jumpers at the end of the shot clock. First Fish, then Brown, then Odom. Gotta get our bigs better position with the ball.

  133. Two airballs in a row on offense, yuck

    And Tremble, agree I cant stand the kid because he has the athletic ability and talent to be a great player yet I dont know if he mentally isnt tough enough to take that next step or if he isnt a hard enough worker. Sometimes it appears to me that he doesnt care.

  134. Did you see that ‘Beat LA’ sign, good to see we are hated out here in the basketball world.

  135. GET KOBE IN THERE

    NOW NOW

  136. The same ref again!!!

  137. walton hits a shot!

  138. What? You could see Bynum’s feet outside of the lane when the whistle went off…

    Again, that is NOT three seconds.

    Our bench is keeping us in this game. Very good to see them playing well.

  139. the other stephen April 30, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    i haven’t understood a lick of the rotations this game. why haven’t we seen more of pau and bynum together? what the heck was that pau/bynum/odom bit at the beginning? i thought it really knocked us out of whack.

  140. After these two free throw attempts durant will have shot more than the entire lakers team

  141. Has Odom ever managed to get by Ibaka one on one this series?

  142. Yep, there’s some jobbing going on here, but the Lakers are fighting through it this time. And we’ve seen some vintage Kobe. If Artest could only find some offense, that would be nice.

  143. llluuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuke

  144. walTON!

  145. WALTON!!!!!

  146. Ken, its fine. Relax.

  147. Luke and Fisher… wow… are u serious.

  148. To me if you dont bring Kobe in soon you risk wasting his hot hand and risk him coming back in and being cold

  149. Terrible offensive possession by the Lakers on that Odom 3 attempt. You have Walton against Westbrook, but Walton stayed too far out of the paint to help out and there needed to be a ball-reversal if he wasn’t going to move to the low post.

  150. Awful offense by LO. Luke was working his *** off in the post against Russ and LO ends up jacking up a 3?!

    Maybe Fish should always try to finish with his right hand? Better than his wrong one that never works.

  151. really like hoe our bench is playing with confidence and Phil is letting them go. How about Fish with the running off hand layup in traffic?

  152. The mamba has been resting an awfully long while.

    Our guys are fighting. Even Walton is getting in on the action! It’s winning time baby, let’s get it done!

  153. I do love that the usual suspects of complaint:

    The Bench (Walton especially) and Fisher (TW:PG ITL) are the very players that helped us keep the lead during that stretch in the late third and early fourth.

    This has been an entertaining game. The time spent:yelling at referees ratio has been very, VERY efficient.

  154. Taylor, LO, couldn’t get the pass in, Westbrook was working his ass off too.

    Ron Artest!! for 3!!!

  155. artest thinks he’s kobe

  156. what i dont get, is how does Pau get called for the same screen Collisson has been doing all series long? That annoys me.

  157. ball better return to kobe or this is another game 3

  158. Okay Lakers time to run the offense through Kobe

  159. Really? An ISO for Kobe? That’s our playcall?

  160. Deja vu…in a bad way

  161. Gasol getting whistled for that illegal screen was a huge momentum swing…

  162. How was that a foul on LO?? He was inside. didnt move. hands in the air??

  163. Phil let Kobe sit too long

  164. Let’s keep turning it over…

  165. Lakers8884, how do u make that argument? Kobe had 4 fouls and we kept the lead exactly where it was while he sat. He hasn’t been cold since he came back, its just that OKC started hitting more shots. How does that translate to Kobe sat out too long when the lead stayed the same during the time he sat?

  166. Gasol with 3 horrible plays down the stretch proving for the 1000th time that he is useless in crunch time. The guy is a goat when it matters.

  167. nice job phil bench a hot kobe and now look. still relax Ray

  168. This is not Phil’s fault- the Lakers held the lead while Kobe sat. This is the result of some incredibly stupid plays by the guys who are on the court right now, and totally poor defense on Westbrook.

  169. I don’t see how KobeIso against Durant in the corner is even going through their heads. That play has absolutely no chance of working out.

    The Lakers are choosing a bad time for some big time mental mistakes.

  170. I seriously do not understand Phil’s substitution patterns. I really don’t. Not to say that I have any coaching expertise. But why in the world would you let Kobe sit for so long? He had 4 fouls, and it was the end of the 3rd quarter, so taking him out was reasonable. But letting him sit for half of the 4th quarter just makes no sense. Makes the player completely cold.

  171. *deep breathes*

    Inner peace.

    Inner peace.

  172. Ray, I say that because MOST of the shots the Lakers hit were lucky and shots they havent hit all series kind of like fool’s Gold. AND the fact that Phil has done this a few times this season, Kobe would have a hot shooting 3 quarters and then let Kobe sit for too long and by the time he gets back into the game he’s out of the flow of the game.

    And if you disagree with me that’s fine but its common logic in basketball, he sat so long it will take him more time to get back into the flow than the game has left in it.

  173. artest is plain stupid

  174. Finally, a 50-50 call goes the Lakers way.

  175. I am going to have a heart attack before this game is over.

  176. Why did Artest take the shot. Why

  177. GASOL!

  178. YES!!!! GASOL GOING UP STRONG!!!!

  179. Lakers,

    how that fade away shot not showing you enough that he’s still hot. And it’s fools gold when other players make shots?

    cmon. I don’t buy that.

    Kobe had 4 fouls. It was smart to sit him as long as possible.

    And BH

    HOws that for clutch?? from Pau.

  180. OH MY GOODNESS!

  181. GASOOOLLLLLLLLL!!!!!

  182. LA Times headline tomorrow: PAU!

  183. GASOL!!!!!! OMG

  184. FOCUS – FOCUS – its not over

    FOCUS

  185. YES YES YES YES REFS CAN’T STOP THAT ONE

  186. I Love that having the best player in the world shooting, Collison thought it was going in so he ball watched in awe forgetting to box out Gasol.

    Ray, I dont see why your trying to argue with me. Kobe was 1 for 4 in the 4th quarter if you want guys like Luke Walton shooting 3s and Ron Artest taking one leg jumpers at the end of the shot clock then fine I’d rather have the best player in the world have the ball in his hands.

  187. Thank You Pau Gasol

  188. Clear! Someone bust out the paddles! My heart just about stopped! Way to follow, Pau.

  189. I am not relaxed yet, there is time for a catch and shoot by the Thunder.

  190. This is what a championship team does. Play through the contact and the calls, grit out the win. Come up huge when it counts. Big time plays by almost everyone down the stretch.

  191. Amazing season for the Thunder sad to see it come to an end.

  192. What a game!!!

    Pau clutch. Kobe scoring. Defense good.

    And what a crowd by OKC. If Lakers lost, this blog would be asking to get rid of everyone.

    Good crowd.

  193. the perfect batman-robin effect!

  194. the other stephen April 30, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    the thunder have a great fanbase. standing ovation when they lose. that’s called appreciation for your team.

  195. I am very happy that I was wrong about the Free Throw disparity equaling a loss…

    I am also stunned.

    Go Lakers.

    I am proud to be a fan of our team tonight.

    Great, GREAT GAME.

  196. Props to the thunder. They are a great team and played very well. Looking forward to see how they do next year.

  197. Great game, now here’s hoping Denver loses. Without Okur the Jazz cannot matchup with the Lakers inside and quite frankly the Lakers have their number.

  198. good night doctor. I think I disturbed people in a mile radius.

    12!

  199. It wasn’t beautiful but you did it, Congratulations! I have to say after attending games 3 and 4, that OKC is a fantastic small market basketball city with an outstanding future. Good luck next series (I’m hoping for the Jazz because I thouroughly dislike the Nuggets)!

  200. 201 – I’m hoping for the Nuggets for much the same reason you give. It’d be a nice, edgy, hate-filled series.

    Kobe likes those, too.

  201. Props to OKC fans and team alike.I thougth the most impressive thing about our win tonight was the mental strength dislayed by all of our players to fight through the calls being made against them and play hard ,smart and execute almost for the entire game.OKC despite their inexperience showed that they can handle the pressure and stay poised for 5 out of 6 games. Congats to both Lakers and Thunder for a very entertaining series.

  202. happy happy joy joy

  203. I want to dislike Oklahoma City for stealing the Sonics from Seattle, but what a fantastic fan-base.

    Kudos to them. Let’s hope we get Home Court again next season, cause they’ll be the #2 seed.

  204. I’m hoping Utah wins so that I can see one of the games when the Lakers play in SLC.

  205. Thanks to OKC players and fans for a first round nail biting series!

    Good luck, going forward! Durant, and Westbrook are fantastic youngsters! Love, the way they play and their demeanor on the floor!

    The West will continue to be strong next year with OKC and Portland!

    Way to go to the rim, Pau!

    Lakers, had a good first round defense of their championship!

  206. 202- You’re right about it being an entertaining series if you were to play the Nuggets. My Rockets have a great rivalry with the Jazz from our days in the Midwest together, but I have admired the way the organization plays and handles itself…I just dislike this current Nuggets team.

  207. I gotta bring it back to the three keys we listed at the beginning of the series:

    1.) Keep Durant at 1-1 points to shot attempts

    Ron Artest really bothered Durant into a horrendous 5-23 shooting night, with Durant only keeping himself afloat by going 14-15 from the free throw line.

    2.) Prevent Russell Westbrook from exploding

    Westbrook went 7-20 for 21 points and 9 assists. While the numbers are pretty decent, it did take him 20 shots to get those 21 points, but we kept him out of the paint and forced him to make jump shots.

    3.) Keep the games close and let the Thunder’s inexperience come into play.

    While everything seemed to be slipping away with the Thunder up 3 with 2 minutes to go, the Lakers kept their cool and came up with some huge plays down the stretch. Several that caught my eye were Odom’s huge rebounds in traffic against Ibaka, preventing any second chance opportunities. Kobe also came up with a huge rebound which led to the final play, with Gasol coming through with a huge put-back, even after he blew a hook shot to take the lead the last time down the floor.

    This is a game to be proud of our guys. They played through some fairly suspect officiating, and I can’t think of anyone who didn’t have a solid game. Fisher shot the ball well, Artest hounded Durant, Gasol went crazy on the boards, Odom pushed the ball and attacked the basket, and Luke Walton and Shannon Brown both hit some huge shots off the bench. Even Farmar had 4 assists.

    I think like we said before, the playoffs are like a second season; our guys need time to round into shape. Over the last two games our team has really hit a good rhythm, now let’s hope we can carry that over into the next series.

  208. I literally jumped out my chair when Pau made that put back. Its moments like this that make being a fan worth it through the long season and the rough patches.

  209. Immediate props to Lamar who was GIGANTIC down the stretch in this game.

    1.the runner off the catch at the free throw line

    2. the phenomenal block and rebound

    3. a huge boxout on Ibaka, whose failure to do so moments later ended OKC’s fantastic season.

    Loved the hockey-esque team handshakes and the immediate standing O for the Thunder after the game ended. Bright future for that group.

  210. Lakers8884,

    The reason I argue with you is the only reason that you say Kobe was resting was how we lost the lead after he came back in. Now, if we lost the lead when Kobe was sitting and it got worse, I’d agree with you. I like that Luke had the stones to put up those shots. I like that Fisher also put up a right handed layup. I also like that Artest took some shots that were difficult.

    I dont think it was a bad call for Phil to sit Kobe that long when we had the lead for very long. I don’t think having Kobe in any earlier would have deterred an OKC run after he came back in.

    But the best part Lakers8884, is that it is all moot since Pau was pounding the glass all game long! Loved it.

  211. nuggets totally imploding. Two technicals and turnovers in crunchtime.

  212. Durant shot more FTs than our entire team, we turned the ball over more and Kobe closed 1-4 in the fourth after a vintage Kobe 3rd and we still found a way. And props to our much maligned bench. Farmar, Brown, Odom, Walton and even Powell all chipped in with timely contributions tonight.

    The OKC crowd was great but let’s not forget that this is the only big pro ticket in town and this is year 3 there (?). Once the newness wears off and/or they struggle some it will be interesting to see if the fans are still as loud. And next year teams won’t be sleeping on OKC like they did this year. I expect them to be better next year, but not by leaps and bounds.

    Great finishing putback by Pau and just great stick-to-it-iveness tonight. What a great win and let’s get rested for round 2. Go Lakers!

  213. wow. deron williams got hurt on the last play of the game.

  214. Gr8 Scott,

    Salt Lake City still does pretty well! The Thunder will continue to be the only major franchise in OKC for years. This is not like LA with the NFL where they also had 2 NBA and 2 ML, plus hockey and soccer, or Seattle that also had an NFL and a MLB team. My parents, and much of my family live in Oklahoma and it is a statewide phenomena that they have a major sports franchise (Again, like Salt Lake City). The fan base there is less apt to go away because they don’t have continual success because there is not much else there.

  215. Wow, 51 foul shots for Utah and 40 for Denver! Talk about aggressive play.

  216. Looks like things are breaking well for us.

    Nevertheless, Sloan has his team clicking, so don’t expect the Jazz to just fall over.

  217. I had to settle for watching this game DVRed since I was forced to attend a work function for dinner and didn’t get home until a couple of hours after tip-off. On the plus side, I was able to fast forward through all the commercials. Sweet! :)

    Here are the things I remember:

    The first one is that Pau is indeed a 7 foot low post destroyer. I literally jumped off my couch and jumped up and down shouting “YES!!!!!” when he tipped in that shot from Kobe with half a second left in the fourth.

    The second is that while Kobe might be one of the sorest losers of any sport anywhere, ever, he is a very gracious winner. Especially against an opponent who put up a good fight and really competed every step of the way.

    Also, the Thunder earned every bit of the standing ovation their fans gave them after the game. They delivered, they played well. Gods almighty, they will be scary in a few years…

    Last of all, Jeff Van Gundy looks so much like a zombie who just wants to go home after the game, that maybe his face shouldn’t be on TV anymore…

  218. Huge props to Lamar,several great rebounds down the stretch,and one great block on Chewbaka,my fellow European Pau with play of the day,Kobe great with vintage shot from the corner when we were 3 points down,Artest was off again on offense but he scored when it counted,Fish spread the floor well,and for the bench just one word – finally boys! Go Lakers,it’s 7:30 in the morning in Croatia,and it’s a beautiful start of the day!Greetings all!

  219. First up, good job OKC.

    LOL at kneejerk comments

    166 “Gasol with 3 horrible plays down the stretch proving for the 1000th time that he is useless in crunch time. The guy is a goat when it matters.”

    …. moments later Gasol’s clutch putback is forever written into Laker playoff history.

    Gooooooooo Lakers!

  220. Wow…it just doesn’t get better…with Lakers winning…and nuggets losing.

    Next series, either Celtics or Cavs will lose while we should be able to handle Jazz…provided that DWill doesn’t (do very bad, edited things) to DFish.

    Stars are lining up just right…as long as we play hard and smart, the Lakers CAN and WILL REPEAT!

    Go Lakers!

  221. 1st and foremost, much respect to OKC. Young, gritty team who refused to back down. We definitely had to earn this one (series). The atmosphere in that building is unbelievable & I love the standing ovation that they gave their players after the final buzzer.

    DEFENSE. DEFENSE. DEFENSE. What more needs to be said. I salute you Ron-Ron. Our WILL to win was what got us over the top this game. Didn’t wilt like we did in game 3 when they made their run @ the end of the 3rd & maintained our composure in the 4th once they came back and took the lead. Signs of a True Championship Team. BENCH MOBB made a hell of a contribution. 3 pt shooting was in effect.

    As I stated on previous posts & earlier on this post: FREE THROW DISCREPANCY would not be the DETERMINING FACTOR on who wins this series. They shot more free throws than us in EVERY game this series except game 5, which was a blowout in our favor. Tonight: 31-14 in their favor. And we STILL WON. Enough with the WHINING & COMPLAINING. We’re not Mark Cuban or Tommy Heinsohn. We don’t make EXCUSES. You Execute, play Smart Basketball, Defend to the Max & give 100% Effort. That’s all that you can ask for.

    Standing Ovation 2nite: Kobe & The Bench Mobb

    Series MVP: Ron Artest (N.Y.C. Represent)

    As Jay Z said: “On To The Next 1.” (Utah)

    Laker 4 Life ….. Go Hard Or Go Home

  222. Well, I made a prediction before this series began that the Lakers would be one and done. I was wrong.

    I also predicted that whichever team won game 5 would win game 6. I was right.

    I will predict that if the Lakers win games 1 and 2 in the next series, they will win the series in 5.

    Utah is good, even without Kirilenko and Okur, because of Sloan’s coaching. He simply won’t let them quit. I remember when he played for the Bulls back in the 60’s and early 70’s. He played the game the same way he coaches, hard, tough, with no quarter given.

    Be that as it may, he will come up short against the Lakers. They don’t have the speed and quickness OKC had, and without Kirilenko and Okur, they cannot stop our two giants.

  223. I only have one worry … injuries.

    Hopefully, Darius can update us on the condition of Bynum. If this knee situation is enough to keep him out of games, or limit his effectiveness in the coming games, then the Lakers are going to have trouble.

    Artest is hurting, you can see it when he takes a shot. He still isn’t right. Neither is the Kobster, but he did look more Kobeish in certain situations.

    These nagging injuries may work themselves out, or the players can play through it. But, if they continue to get worse, and hamper their play, the Lakers will have a very tough time getting back to the Finals.

    I’m certainly not counting them out like I was before. This team really showed me something this last series. I really did not think they could come back after that game 4 debacle. But, they came back in a big way!

    The only thing that could possibly stop them now is these nagging injuries.

  224. Yes, congratulations to the Thunder for a great series and they will be a team to be delt with in the future, that is for sure, aren’t their fans just super fans.

    On to the Jazz now, we own them, don’t we? I actually hope Deron Williams is not injured, I want them as full stength as possible, AK47 will be back I believe. It just will not matter, we should take them out in 5 or so game like we usually do. I will start saving again for my back-to-back cap in June…

  225. Congrats to you, Lakers fans. Fantastic first step for a young team, and a new NBA city, and a hell of a lot of fun to watch (game 5 notwithstanding)

    Let’s do it again next year. Conference finals maybe?

  226. The Dude Abides April 30, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    This game was reminiscent of Game 4 of last season’s Finals, where our guys fought through some horrendous, one-sided officiating, kept their heads in the game, and pulled it out in the end.

    Also, I don’t see how we would have won this series, considering Kobe’s poor health, if we had kept Trevor instead of signing Ron-Ron. Durant just couldn’t shake him. Mentally or physically. Even when he broke free, he missed a lot of jumpers that he normally makes, probably because Ron-Ron was in his head.

    Edit-did everyone see that cheap shot by Birdman on D-Will in the final seconds of an eight-point game? I wonder if he’ll be suspended a game or two to open next season.

  227. Well it was a great series. Disappointed in the result, but at least the team didn’t quit. Kobe played spectacular after his poor first period. I think the Laker bench was the key, hitting big shots, and playing good defense. The Thunder struggled, but I guess it’s growing pains, esp. for the young core of Durant, Westbrook, and Green.

    Artest def got in Durant’s head. He missed some easy bunnies today, which led to one of his worse games I’ve ever seen. Westbrook had a nice game overall, but not the best shooting night. Hopefully we can acquire a post presence somehow to free up KD more and open up passing lanes.

    Anyways, it was fun. Good luck in the next round.

  228. http://www.polynorthamerica.com/WINS.jpg

    hope drew’s hurt knee isn’t serious. sunday!

  229. What is even better is that we get to play Utah. And as good as they played against Denver, I dont think they can beat us shorthanded. Utah defenitely dont have the height to guard our bigs well and Odom normally plays really well against Utah. We should be able to win this one in 6 games. Dont be surprised if Utah steals game 1 or 2, they are a better road team this year.

  230. @229) No wonder the OKC players are so classy, it has a very classy and gracious fan base.

    Thanks for joining us on FB&G!

    Good luck to your team next year!