Preview & Chat: The Oklahoma City Thunder

Darius Soriano —  March 29, 2012

Records: Lakers 31-19 (3rd in West), Thunder 38-12 (1st in West)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 105.0 (15th in NBA), Thunder 110.4 (1st in NBA)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 102.2 (10th in NBA), Thunder 103.4 (12th in NBA)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Ramon Sessions, Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum
Thunder: Russell Westbrook, Thabo Sefolosha, Kevin Durant, Serge Ibaka, Kendrick Perkins
Injuries: Lakers: Jordan Hill (doubtful); Thunder: Daequan Cook (out), Eric Maynor (out)

The Lakers Coming in: The news cycle is still stuck on Andrew Bynum’s three pointer and subsequent benching, but there are actually bigger, team-wide issues to delve into with the Lakers. For instance, their decline in defense since the trade deadline. Per ESPN Stats and Information, since the trade deadline the Lakers have been the 20th best team in terms of defensive efficiency. They’ve given up about 6 points more per 100 possessions after the trade deadline than before it and this fact needs to be rectified sooner rather than later. Recently they’ve given up too many open jumpers and their inability to slow dribble penetration has been a primary reason. Guards and wings are getting into the lane too easily and it’s forcing big men to help and the defense to collapse, with rotations back to shooters not happening quickly enough. And when the bigs don’t help in time, the Lakers are giving up too many layups and even too many put-back attempts – which is counterintuitive since the bigs who aren’t helping should be in position to secure defensive rebounds.

The news isn’t all bad since the trade deadline, however. Over at NBA.com, John Schuhmann has crunched some numbers on the Lakers since acquiring Sessions and there are a lot of positives. You should read the entire thing, but this note on how big an impact he’s had while on the floor is quite telling:

The Lakers have outscored their opponents by 12.0 points per 100 possessions and by 56 points total with Sessions on the floor over the last seven games. With him on the bench, they’ve been outscored by 11.6 points per 100 possessions and by 38 points total. That discrepancy is about equal to the difference between the Bulls (+9.5) and the Bobcats (-14.3). So while his team hasn’t shot up the standings upon his arrival, Sessions has clearly been doing his part.

Again, go read the entire thing but numbers like these should be encouraging – especially if the Lakers can regain some of their focus on defense.

The Thunder Coming in: OKC has won four in a row (including a drubbing of the Heat on national TV this past Sunday) and seven of their last ten. They’re playing like a well-oiled machine, stopping teams defensively and putting the gears to them on offense with a multi-pronged attack that’s extremely difficult to slow down, much less stop. Against the Heat, they went away from some of their isolation sets and preyed on Miami’s over-aggressive defense by busting out a nice action built off on-ball screens that left their big men uncovered for easy finishes. Needless to say, it’s plays like that one and their growing maturity and confidence that make them one of the league’s best teams and true contender to win the championship.

Of course, this team also made a move recently by acquiring Derek Fisher after he was bought out by the Rockets. I’ve said a lot about Derek since he was traded at the deadline to the Rockets, but with him coming back to Staples as a visitor tonight, allow me a few more words….

Tonight will be strange for fans and Lakers players alike. Fisher’s play had diminished in the past few seasons but his leadership and presence had immense value to the Lakers. Having him return as a foe – and a member of a top flight team – is…strange. I would have preferred Fisher retire a Laker, but for all intents and purposes, he’ll be a Laker for life for many of us. When he comes into the game tonight, I’ll be clapping for him from my living room just as fans will be cheering for him from the stands. That said, once the ball goes live he’s a member of the other team. As Kobe said last week, it’d be disrespectful of Fisher – as a competitor – to take it easy on him and not try to “destroy” him. So while Fish will always have a place in my heart for all he’s done as a player that’s given me such joy, tonight I want him to leave a loser at the hands of the Lakers.

Thunder Blogs: Daily Thunder is a great site that does an excellent job covering that team. Check out their work.

Keys to game: Because there’s so much ground to cover in this section, I’m going to bullet points for this section:

  • Durant vs. Ron will play a major role in how this game’s determined. In the last match up between these teams, Durant went off for 33 points. He made 12 of his 22 FGs, but an even crazier 10 of his 14 two-point shots. He was able to create off the dribble and get into the paint to finish, or use the threat of his quickness to get up jumpers just out of reach of a good challenge from his man. In the past, Ron’s physical defense and ball denials bothered KD, but in the last game he shrugged off those tactics and still got his points fairly easily. If the Lakers are to win tonight, Ron will need to be better as will Barnes. The Laker bigs will also need to be more aware in how they help on KD off the ball, as they must help Ron and Matt navigate screens and serve as deterrents to the easy passes that KD can catch on the move to set up easy (for him) looks. Of course they can’t over-help as they may fall victim to the play OKC put on Miami, but they’ll need to be smart and disciplined when defending off the ball.
  • Who will guard Westbrook? In the past, Kobe’s guarded Russ and given him a modified version of the Rondo treatment by laying off him and inviting the jumpshot. However, a lot of that match up was dictated off the Lakers not having a PG with enough quickness to stay with Russ in either the open or half court. With Sessions on board, it will be interesting to see who this match up falls to, because if Kobe is on Russ he’ll be expending a lot of energy chasing one of best athletes and offensive weapons in the entire league at any position. I’d much rather prefer to see if Sessions is up to the task and turn to Kobe in crucial possessions if needed, rather than have Kobe chase him around whenever they share the court.
  • The Laker bigs must play big tonight. Ibaka and Perkins are known for their defense, but both Pau and Bynum can have success against them with disciplined offensive attacks. Ibaka is a great shot blocker, but he can be susceptible to shot fakes and quick, assertive moves. Pau can take what the D gives him (which will be his jumper) but he will need to also go to the post for optimal success, and that means dealing with Ibaka’s shot blocking prowess. Quick hooks and power drives when turning and facing will serve Pau well tonight. As for Bynum, he has an advantage over Perkins and has had one nearly every time they’ve faced off when both were completely healthy. He can use his power game and counters to get good shots in close whenever he’s isolated on the block. However, he must also do his work early in possessions by fighting for position before he has the ball. The defense will likely dig down on him to make him a passer, but he should use those opportunities to make a quick pass back to the perimeter and then re-post quickly to get even better position. I know that Bynum’s been the subject of criticism lately, but his play tonight can be a major factor in making that all yesterday’s news. He must simply embrace it and go hard.
  • Kobe will face off against an old foe in Thabo tonight. They’ve gone head to head many times over the years (dating back to when Sefolosha was in Chicago), and in the past year or so I’ve noticed that Kobe’s gotten a much better feel for how he likes to attack the rangy defense offered. In the last game, Thabo didn’t play and Kobe had to deal a lot more with Durant and the underrated Harden on D. With Thabo back in the fold, expect Kobe to have a better plan of attack than he showed the last game. He’ll need it too, because without an efficient night from Bean the Lakers will be hard pressed to win this game.
  • Speaking of Harden, the Lakers must slow him down tonight. He got going in the last game and blew the game open with his shot making and creativity off the bounce. The Lakers didn’t have anyone to really guard him, but I’m hoping with Brown tweaking his substitutions we’ll get to see Barnes on the Beard more often tonight, with Ron still in the game to guard Durant. Harden’s a crafty penetrator and is an excellent P&R ball handler who’s proven to have great chemistry with Nick Collison when both are in the game. Whoever is on him will need to make him shoot jumpers off the dribble, with the back line of the defense ready to step up early and contest shots without fouling. Harden is a master of drawing contact so that last point is very important. Sending him to the FT line for easy points can really get him going and must be avoided.
  • Lastly, I’d like to see Sessions more involved on offense tonight than he was on Tuesday against the Warriors. In that game he was a bit tentative and the Lakers seemed to purposefully go to more big man and wing screen actions to get Kobe, Pau, and Andrew going. Tonight, though, Sessions’ speed and ability to get into the lane and finish or draw fouls once there will be a needed ingredient to a win. Despite his reputation as a strong defensive guard, Westbrook can be taken advantage of on that side of the ball and it will be up to Sessions to do so. Smart drives and cuts, change of pace plays, and open court chances will all be available tonight should he look for them. Here’s hoping he does.

If there were ever a measuring stick game, this is it. The Thunder lead the West and are the favorites to represent the conference in the Finals come June. The Lakers used to be the team that was thought of that way, but last year’s sweep and up and down play this year makes that no longer be the case. The other day, Kobe said that he doesn’t understand why people don’t consider the Lakers a title contender and that people seem to discount them too often. That can start to change with a win tonight.

Where you can watch: 7:30PM start time on TNT. Also listen at ESPN Radio 710AM.

Darius Soriano

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157 responses to Preview & Chat: The Oklahoma City Thunder

  1. if this game is a measuring stick, then the last few games indicate the lakers have a long way to go before they can bang with okc in a 7 game series. I hope the lakers can keep it close and the coaching staff learns from this game. There are a lot of good games in the next month (including okc april 22). If the lakers are gonna be a threat, they need to pick it up in the next month. I think they can do it, but it will take a lot of work, more than what they have shown so far.

  2. Durant is in a league of his own. He’s pretty close to unstoppable and no matter how good defenses have played him, he seems to always get his.

    I have no problem with him getting 30 points tonight, so long as it takes him 30 shots to do it. And we need to shut down everyone else.

    But there is no better game than now for the Lakers to focus defensively and go back to their top 10 defense-efficiency ways.

    Oh, and can’t wait for Fisher’s standing Ovation.

  3. Biggest game of the season for Blake. If he doesn’t show up tonight he never will.

  4. Thabo is regarded as a good defender, but I wouldn’t say Harden is much worse. Harden, however, is light years better than Thabo on the offensive end, so any minute Thabo is on the floor rather than Harden is definitely beneficial to us. The same can be said for any minutes Fisher plays that Harden would have played otherwise.

    I’m anxiously awaiting the game tonight for three major reasons: to see how we stack up with Sessions in the mix, what Bynum’s effort/mindset will be and finally how long of an ovation Fish will receive.

    Wanna hear something wild? I got two sets of tickets for Laker home games as a Christmas present this past year. The first game was against the Mavericks, Lamars return to Staples, the game in which Fish nailed that clutch 3. The second game I got tickets for? Tonight. That’s right, somehow the two games I got tickets for turn out to be Odoms first return and Fishers first return. I don’t know what the odds are for that, but they’ve got to be slim. Luckily enough I will proudly be able to say that I was a member of both standing ovations.

  5. Yes, standing ‘O’ for Fisher. Then send him back to Ok. with an ‘L’.

    Hope to see Goudelock get some playing time tonight, he’s the player the defense hasn’t prepared to play against.

    When Ramon drives to the rim, it’d be nice to see the bigs follow him for an offensive rebound, just in case he misses. This is to you Bynum, Gasol, McHops and Murphy. It’s not like you’re busting your butt back down the floor to play defense. If Ramon drives you’re standing in the lane hoping someone else gets the rebound and passes it to you for an easy score. McHops is the only player that can beat the opposing teams bigs down the floor consistently.

    Credit to McHops for playing to his ability the past few games.

  6. Chearn: Have to agree with you Goudelock has been exceptional from 3 and he has a nice runner. He deserves PT.

    I watched Mike Brown practice vid from lakers.com He says he has no problem sitting players to help the team and he’d sit unproductive players. Why is Blake still playing then?

  7. Pau has got to have his head in the game and his hands ready. Ibaka is perhaps the best help defender in the game, and he will leave Pau every single time Sessions drives the paint. As long as Ramon is looking for Pau, and Pau is ready to catch (and finish), there should be a steady stream of assists and easy buckets.

  8. Looking forward to seeing the Sessions-Bynum pick-and-pop from deep.

  9. Well, I take some solace in knowing how ready the Lakers were for Miami at Staples a couple of weeks back, and their strong play against both the Mavs and Boston, in their closest opportunities for “statement games.”

    That stated, OKC is in a real groove, and unlike those games where the competition was missing a key piece (Bosh, Marion come to mind), the Thunder are at full strength.

    Such a big game tonight. One suspects the Lakers will be ready, and Bynum especially will want to prove himself on both ends of the floor. That, the fact that Pau seems to be back mentally locked in, and knowing that Ron-Ron rises for these games, makes me optimistic.

    Kobe definitely has a bit better read on Thabo than he did in the past, so hopeful he sees more of that than Harden.

    Big, big, BIG win for the Lakers tonight, I hope. Fingers crossed.

  10. McRoberts, Barnes, and Blake will play an important role tonight. There’s just enough athleticism in that trio to contain screen-roll and keep playmakers in front of them, even if OKC succeeds in forcing a switch.

    If the bench can piece together stops on one end and quality looks on the other, the Lakers will win this game easily.

    “If you feed the big dog, he will guard the yard. If you don’t feed him, he’s just going to walk around and get bored, and he ain’t going to do shit. So if I’m getting the ball, I’m going to work. Every time.”–Shaquille O’Neal

  11. more than anything I want to see us return to our previous elite level defense, that means more effort rotating and closing out

  12. @7 – “When Ramon drives to the rim, it’d be nice to see the bigs follow him for an offensive rebound, just in case he misses. This is to you Bynum, Gasol, McHops and Murphy.”

    That is so true. If Drew really wants to “get his,” he should know that he’ll have plenty of alley-oop opportunities when Ramon drives as well, not just offensive rebound chances.

    @10 – Stop it, you’re killing me!

    @12 – McRoberts and Barnes will play an important role tonight. There’s just enough athleticism in that duo to contain screen-roll and keep playmakers in front of them, even if OKC succeeds in forcing a switch. [fixed that for you :D]

  13. Kevin,
    Exactly… Darius hit the nail on the head. Ramon is an average starting PG (that means he is pretty darn good) and the team has a giant drop off with Blake at PG (because he isn’t a PG, played SG a lot of his career). We need to play GLock or Morris at back up PG for the 13 to 15 minutes a game Sessions is on the bench. We need a PG on the floor in this offense at all times. Someone who is a threat in the PnR.

    Tonight’s game comes down to how well Artest can still defend Durant (Ron is a little worse/Durant is a little better) and how well Ramon can play with Westbrook through three quarters. I would think Kobe would switch onto him in the fourth as only wing defenders are long and athletic enough to guard good PGs. I don’t except Perkins to be able to defend Bynum one on one as Bynum destroyed Gasol to the tune of 34 ppg on 67 percent shooting in three games against Marc Gasol whol is at least as good of a one on one defender as Perkins after Kendrick busted his knee.

    I think our defense will return to form as Bynum will be in the paint because Perkins can’t spread the floor enough to draw him out. But we will see.

  14. Definitely a measuring stick game. Especially taking into account that we’re at home. If we can’t beat, or be relatively competitive against this Thunder team n our house, there’s no way n which we can assume that we’d have any chance against them n a 7 game series. IMO.

    I know that the highlight match-up will be between MWP n Durant, but the square off that I’ll have my eye on is between Drew n Perkins. In the 1st meeting, Perk did an excellent job of not allowing Drew to establish deep position on the block. This, n essence, neutralized Drew because by receiving the ball higher out on the floor and out of his sweet spot, it allowed their secondary defenders to swarm him much easier when decided upon. Therefore, it’s imperative that he maintains position once he has it established and for the perimeter players to recognize this and give solid entry passes. If the doubles don’t come, he must attack the rim with aggression. None of that weak shit. Can’t afford to be bullied n the paint tonight. Including Pau, when given the opportunity.

    A victory tonight can go a long way towards regaining our confidence and establishing some type of team unity. Which we all know that this Lakers Team can use right about now.

    Lets Get It

  15. Great write up Darius!

    The one thing I noticed differently than you, in their last meeting, is Durant had most of his points while Barnes was on him, Ron actually did an ok job. Durant can’t be stopped be if we slow him and Westbrook down we should win this game! Let’s go Lakers!

  16. #17. When both KD and Ron were on the court together in the last game (29 minutes total), Durant shot 9-18 (including 2-7 from three point range) and hit all 3 of his FT’s for a total of 23 points. When Ron was off the floor he went 3-4, made all 3 of his FT’s and scored 10 points. So, while he was very effective against Barnes, he was also very good against Ron.

  17. #18

    Thanks. Where do you look up specific stats like that? I just remember Durant being able to score very easily on Barnes. Either way, I can’t wait for tonight!

  18. Those stats don’t show what happened when Ron was actually guarding Durant. If I remember correctly Durant had like three or four of those baskets against Ron on fastbreaks so it wasn’t really against Ron

  19. #19. Those stats come from NBA.com’s stats database. I should add, though, that a more nuanced take is that those stats state when Artest and Durant shared the court. That doesn’t mean Ron guarded him for every possession and as Aaron noted KD did get shots in transition. I should note that something like 4 or 5 of KD’s baskets came “in the restricted area” during that time which would include shots at the rim in transition. I should also note that Durant took 7 threes while Ron shared the court with him, so there’s certainly a argument to be made that KD took and missed some long jumpers while being defended by Ron.

    All that said, KD had a great game the last time out. No one defended him particularly well and that will need to change tonight. As was implied above, the point total matters but his efficiency in getting his points matters more. Over 50% shooting with a high point total is a recipe for disaster.

  20. John Schuhmann must’ve read my comment after Sessions’ second game with the Lakers as I hoped that someone would make a quantitative analysis on how Ramon’s effects on the team and on the individual players.

    It just confirms most of our observations that he is a big plus on the team, though I never thought the numbers were so bad when he’s not on the floor. Also, that Barnes has benefited the most with the new PG.

    Hopefully Brown and his staff see this too, and unless we can play Sessions 40+mins per game, they have to find ways to give him more minutes with the second unit, especially with Barnes either taking him out earlier in the first quarter so he can come back at the start of the second quarter and let blake play the last 2-3mins of the half, or bring Barnes earlier and take Drew or Pau out earlier.

    Another more radical move is to replace Blake with Goudelock and have Kobe or Ramon with him so they take care of facilitating the offense while g-lock becomes more of a scoring/shooting threat. Blake is not a weapon off the dribble, no confidence in his shot, and an even worse liability on defense. I’d rather have a one way player, than a player who barely contributes on both sides of the floor

  21. It feels really good to watch Lamar play well tonight. I wish him the very best, as long as it doesn’t come at our expense! :)

  22. I expect Lakers to play hard don’t know if they’ll win or not but the effort should be there. I really hope Bynum has moved past these episodes and is focused tonight. Need a least 20 from the bench.

  23. Kobe Alert: KB needs 10 FTA’s to move beyond Jerry West for 7th all time + #1 on the Laker list. Closing in on Dave Bing on the dimes list; + Magic on the steals list.
    He has Durant by 25 points with 16 to go. It will be very tough for KB to get the scoring title, because trust me, Durant will go for it with everything he has.

  24. I agree completely that since ASG, Lakers became complacent on defense while their offense has greatly improved. Basically, because of the lethargic performance of the 3 bigs, Kobe’s is not seriously guarding his assigned player while Drew and Pau are bystanders in the post.

    Will this game represent a nostalgic reunion with D.Fisher? or A glimpse of the new Laker PG that will neutralize Westbrook? Whatever it will be, Lakers should win in their home court.

  25. Bynum Smash, that is where you should shoot from.

  26. Hey Robert-
    You’re right about the scoring title, but Durant has to worry about a score first PG on his team. I think that Kobe can hold him off possibly. I like our energy so far tonight and I like Bynum’s effort so far!

  27. The refs do not call fouls for Bynum. What has to happen to the guy for a foul!?

  28. You stay classy, Perkins

  29. Here is the video the Lakers played in honor of Fisher’s return.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-bFT74FeqY&feature=youtu.be

  30. The whole Lakers starting lineup looks to be ‘engaged’ on both sides of the floor. That’s all you can ask for as a fan and as a coach (MB). Hopefully the second unit will be as intense and engaged as well especially on defense. Now let’s just sit back and enjoy this game!

    MB, pls bring back Sessions as soon as Westbrook goes out so you can have some matchup advantage and get Ramon going on offense

  31. Dunno if this makes sense but… McRoberts may not contribute much, but I enjoy what he does contribute

  32. Durant 1-9

    Kobe 4-9

  33. I can’t tell you how happy I was to see Bynum yelling at MWP for not getting him the ball on the post. I like the way we came out for this game.

    -Kobe not forcing too much.
    -Bynum is fully engaged. Did you see the contest
    against Durant!
    -Sessions is pushing the pace when possible.
    -MWP is pestering KD.
    -Gasol has his head completely on straight right now.

    This is the team that can contend.

  34. MB!!! Now is the time to put back Sessions in! let him work with Barnes and Gasol. have speed advantage over Fisher!

  35. On O, too many passive Lakers out there now. Except Ron and that’s a hornet’s nest of possibilities

  36. Hi! not able to watch the game due to life.
    Was there a standing O when fisher was subbed in?

  37. Fisher doing this was my nightmare! :P

  38. i like this change in the substitution pattern. gasol is a better playmaker than bynum, and a playmaker is something the 2nd unit sorely needs.

    by sharing more time on the floor with sessions, bynum’s touches and looks are going to increase.

  39. fish is destroying blake and the lakers. can you say karma lakers? haha

  40. Holy crud. Blake us so BAD he makes Fisher look good. Please wake up Brown and get Blake off the floor.

    Man of man Blake is tbe worst guard in the league by far.

    Nice job Mike.

  41. Steve Blake getting thoroughly outplayed by someone in a old folk home.

  42. St_pid Brown, can’t he see that this is a great time to stretch the lead, get an offensive spark out there?! Blake can’t set up Barnes, Mc Roberts, Gasol out there. they need someone who can break down the defense by penetration then get the athletic group easy baskets via dive cuts, drop passes, kickouts! now they even close the gap and the OKC starters are sitting

  43. It doesnt matter who plays with this second unit, they stink.

  44. Wonder if Brown ever thought of taking advantage by playing RS against Fisher.

    Guess you would have to ve a good coach to think if that.

    Since Blake was on court he us a minus 8.

  45. Blake drove past Westbrook for a layup. yup that happened.

  46. Bynum, Sessions, and Kobe need the ball the most on our team, so naturally we would make sure their minutes match the most to minimize the number of touches they get and fail to bolster our weak second unit. Great.

  47. Fisher plays much better not being a starter.

    and why cant sessions get some PT with barnes?

  48. Sessions has given Westbrook at least 5 OPEN shots tonight.

    Great drive by Sessions as I was typing that.

  49. That’s one way to get Murphy out of the game.

  50. I’d much rather have Westbrook shooting shots than distributing. Let him force things.

  51. guess the moratoriom (sp) on not calling the coach dumb or an idiot is over huh? that was a nice one day

  52. Ken, Don, LBc, we share the same thoughts on why Sessions can’t have some burn with Barnes and the rest of the second unit. I understand taking him out 3mins left in the 1st, but he should have been back by the 10min mark in the second.

    Seriously?! 10 mins for Blake in the first half?

  53. Kobe to Pau to Bynum for 2 , love it.

  54. Blake in for Sessions for DEFENSIVE purposes in the last possession?!? I would understand Barnes in if Kobe wants Westbrook… I just don’t understand this substitution patterns

  55. Thunder 13 off. rebounds is why Lakers only lead by 5

  56. The foul on Sefolosha got Kobe really fired up… He started talking to ALL OKC players. That’s really good for our team. A fired up Kobe, an engaged Bynum and Gasol on O, and Bynum Gasol MWP on D. Gotta like our chances going into the second half

    But please… just 2mins of Blake in the second half. Need Sessions to take charge of the second unit. He’s not there to matchup with Westrbook. Give him time when Fisher is on the floor and Ibaka is out. Please for the love of God!

  57. MWPs defense has been pretty damn good in the first half. KD is only 5 for 16. Metta’s offense, however, has been pretty awful. We’ve gotta lock up the rebounds for the next two quarters.

  58. Haven’t read the game thread yet so I haven’t seen what everyone’s saying, but it looks like Coach Brown’s solution to our team’s poorer play of late is MOAR STEVE BLAKE :D

  59. We lucked up alot n that 1st half. Can’t expect Durant to continue to miss those wide open jumpers n the 2nd .. Loving what I’m seeing from AB on both ends of the court. We need to defend the high screen much better n the 2nd half.

  60. Lakers NEED to beat OKC to 100 points

  61. Lakers lost the lead and havent scored in the 3rd with Sessions in.

    How will people blame MB and Blake?

  62. Nice start to the 3rd qtr. Geez. Didn’t we have a 12-pt. lead at one point? Oh yeah, we hate prosperity.

  63. I’m with Dude where the heck are the PnRs?

  64. Yea, I didnt buy that first half by the Lakers. Thunder played horrible and were only down 4. Thunder are simply the better team.

  65. Not a good start to the second half for the Lakers, 8-0 run for the Thunder in 3:19 and Gasol in foul trouble

  66. @70 – Well, two bad calls on Pau (offensive foul and the foul on Westbrook) plus another bad call (traveling on Bynum) really hurt us there.

  67. Dude, yah i know. but people love blaming MB and Blake for everything wrong with the Lakers, just wanted to see how they’d spin it.

  68. OKC 16 offensive rebounds

    Think it’s fair to say Sessions is getting worked by Westbrook.

  69. this is where Lakers could use a spark off the bench for instant offense…

  70. Westbrook works over all point guards …

  71. NBA 2k12 make-up logic?

  72. Steve Blake just done off a lot of ill will with that steal+bucket+shot.. HE’S ALIVE!!!!!

  73. Yes! MOAR STEVE BLAKE! Great plays :D

  74. So that’s 7 freakin bricks in a row by Kobe now. I swear, has there been a game this season where he hasn’t gone thru a stretch during the game and missed 7, 8, 9, 10 shots in a row?? Seriously, how is that even physically possible?? Unbelievable.

  75. Not a good way to end the quarter. ugh

  76. Oh Zirk… he’s not jacking bad shots, but he has been ice cold. If it makes you feel any better, KD had missed quite a few shots in a row.

  77. Kobe has sucked through 3 quarters. Still time to change that Bean.

  78. durant having a bad game and we’re still losing. looks like we’re looking at the future champs.

  79. 19 second chance points for the Thunder on 17 offensive rebounds through 3 quarters.

  80. KenOak, I never said they were bad shots. I could care less if they’re bad shots or good shots. Just f-ing make them!!

    And how many games are we gonna say “he’s just ice cold” this season before we realize that when you’re shooting less than 43% on the season, you’re pretty much always ice cold. The reason why this frustrates me is because the team still goes as Kobe goes, so he can’t continue with these piss poor shooting games, especially against good teams.

  81. How many games is Kobe going to continue to shoot in the low 30%. The past two weeks he has become a 34% shooter most from long range.

    Nice to see how well the NEW Laker offense is working to free up Kobe.

    It is painfully clear with this bench and this coach there is little or no chance of the Lakers getting out of the west. Brown has no ability to make adjustments. Also Metta is just a joke on offense.

  82. A few of us we’re clear on this point….Perhaps a few more can make friends with reality after tonight.

    Ramon Sessions is a backup point guard who can’t play a lick of defense and can’t stay in front of a quality point guard anymore than Derek Fisher could or Steve Blake can. That’s the downside to the guy as was reported by many analysts before the trade deadline.

    Not saying he was a bad pickup. He’s a quality guy at the offensive end but against a high quality point guard like Westbrook? He’s going to get exposed over and over again just as he is tonight.

  83. Lakers can’t get a defensive rebound to save their lives.

    24pt turnaround. OKC up by 12 now.

  84. If your not going to use Sessions the way he is most effective with the starters.

    Then he NEEDS to run it with the 2nd unit. It’s clear he’s only effective with the ball in his hands.

    Blake 16 mins.. Sessions 19 mins

  85. Ken, why not just copy paste your original comment to save time since you say the same thing every time?

  86. We’re dying on the defensive glass. This would have been the perfect game to give Jordan Hill some run. Brown went from Murphy to McRoberts and back to Murphy, trying to get anything out of them. Hill couldn’t have been any worse.

  87. until that dunk by westbrook, id argue Blake was doing a better job on Westbrook than Sessions had.

    the first quarter energy v. rest of game baffles me.

  88. Blake showing his wonderful defensive game, giving Westbrook the backdoor for a wide open jam. To his credit, Blake was in great position for a defensive rebound if Russel missed the shot.

  89. Ken,

    Keep the comments coming, because I’m not blind and I actually see the same things you see.

  90. Old and slow versus young and fast.

  91. This Laker team has officially NO chance coming out of the west. Please stop calling this team a contender or a could be contender.

  92. this game seems like the passing of the torch folks. a new era has now come and the lakers will no longer be contenders.

  93. Joe: this team still has a chance. with great coaching.

    Basketball is a game of matchups. Brown needs to recognize that

  94. Kevin, this Laker team has not nearly enough depth and speed to compete with this Thunder team, no way they beat them in a series no matter who coaches the team.

  95. So it’s apparently now official. Andrew Goudelock has joined Devin Ebanks as a guy Mike Brown will not play under any circumstances.

  96. I disagree that this team cannot contend. We just need Kobe to hit his open shots. We need MWP to not go 1-11. We can’t be outrebounded by 9. We can’t give up as many second chance points as we have.

    We can run with this team.

  97. Thank You Funky @ 96. You Summed It Up.

  98. Ok keh

    I will make it simple for you.

    Lakers are not a top team.

    Lakers are no longer a good defensive team.

    Lakers are a confused offensive team..

    That’s the best I can do as a former college player and 40 year Laker fan. It’s called frustration.

    Sometimes it would be easier to have a passing knowledge if the game.

  99. Joe: Brooks wouldn’t dare put Fisher on Sessions to start the 2nd. Barnes, Sessions, McRoberts will run teams off the floor.

  100. so, i guess the bad defense against point guards like Westbrook was all Fisher’s fault. too bad the defense was better with Fisher. we lost the game on the definsive end.

    what a lot of work still to do.

  101. For those who continue to maintain that Pau is not soft, note that he is currently being guarded by a skinny small forward and is being pushed around.

  102. dribble, dribble, dribble. dribble, dribble, dribble.

  103. Seriously..why can’t Goudelock get any kind of burn at all?

  104. “We just need Kobe to hit his open shots.”

    Kobe doesnt get open jump shots under the Mike Brown offensive system, or no system should I say.

    “We need MWP to not go 1-11.”

    That has been an average night for MWP all year, can’t expect him to do much more.

    “We can’t be outrebounded by 9. We can’t give up as many second chance points as we have.”

    Ok one thing the Lakers usually do better with.

    “We can run with this team.”

    No we can’t.

  105. This summer. Blow this thing up faster than a cocaine heartbeat.

    Get rid of the high priced Spaniard, Ron / Ron, Blake and Busty McBob for starters.

    Here’s a novel concept for the Lakers. Try acquiring a point guard this time, who can actually defend a point guard.

  106. funkychicken: Pau is playing timid because of foul trouble.

  107. Zirk

    The problem with being a long time fan and having played the game is seeing the truth.

    Wish I was less of a fan and could just enjoy without seeing the problems

    Oh well. I ams what I ams.

  108. Anyone else wish Sessions would take a steeper angle off his PnR’s? He’s so fast, when he comes off those picks intending to go hard to the rim, only the helping big has a chance of stopping him. He comes off most of his picks with a wide, slow angle, looking to patiently set up the offense. But when we’re struggling to score I wish he’d just say F it and go hard himself, because he’s talented enough to carry this team for a while.

    It’s a crime not to go into Bynum every possession. He’s taking Perkins apart.

    Good God I just want someone to take a swing at Perkins. Words cannot express my hatred for him. Where’s Charles Oakley when you need him?

  109. 1/2 – agree. that was the turning point. losing Pau for that stretch ruined the flow that we had in the first half.

  110. Sessions set your game up. You just got locked down 2 nights in a row. Whether it was Mike Brown, Conley or Westbrook who cares you need to produce.

  111. Joe
    Kobe did get some open shots and some pretty easy shots that he missed. If Ron is going 1-11, then we need to sub him out.

    We played this team pretty damn well in the first half, but then the misses started piling up from Kobe, Ron, and Pau.

    Then the Thunder heated up and started hitting everything.

  112. Game was lost on the boards.

    When a team relies on McRoberts and Murphy to play, your asking yourself to lose leads or get blown out.

  113. Unfortunate that Pau was called for dubious fouls in that 3rd quarter, but that still doesn’t justify his poor performance down the stretch. And I don’t know what kind of play we were running coming out of the time out around the 2 minute mark that ended up with Pau trying to dribble between his legs which resulted in a shot clock violation, but we gotta come up with better plays than that.

  114. Can’t be mad tonight. It was just a superior team dominating once they got it working. Lakers can’t beat this team 4 times in 7 games. Them and Memphis are the only teams out west I fear. Just hope we can avoid both till the conference finals…

  115. I must admit that I am pretty worried about Kobe’s shooting numbers. He has been ice-cold for a while now. Not sure if it’s injuries, or fatigue, or just old age, but it is worrisome. We can’t win if our best player is shooting less than 40%.

  116. Sometimes you can have TOO MUCH talent in a starting 5. I’m sure that’s why PJ left Odom on the bench when he could’ve started at SF.

  117. We are witnessing the changing of the guards folks. This Laker team is old and slow just like the Utah teams at the end of the Stockton/Malone era. They used to kick our butt year in and year out just like we destroyed this OKC team in the past. Now, OKC are starting to look like the lakers of the early 2000s and we’re like that old Utah team. Sad day to be a laker fan.

  118. the lakers had the opportunity to bury the thunder in the 2nd quarter.

    why the hell is blake playing 18 minutes?

  119. Ken Oak

    Another 7 for 25 game for Kobe. I think this is 6 of the last 9 games he has shot under 35%.

    He is now shooting 42% on the year which is the lowest of any of the top 15 in tbe NBA.

    Wonder if that is still the guy you want to run your team around when you have 2 bigs shooting over 60%.

    But then what do I know about basketball?

  120. I guess the most infuriating thing I can say about watching Mike Brown’s Laker offense…

    Is that he plays two centers all the time and frequently they wind up 20 some odd feet from the basket trying to generate something on offense.

    The very sight of it is ridiculous. It looks goofy. If I was the opposition I’d be thrilled every time my defense was facing a Pau Gasol jump shot from twenty feet. I’d consider it a win even if he occasionally makes one.

    No wonder Bynum has taken to shooting three pointers. Why not? In this wonderful two center offense he’s twenty five feet from the basket at least as often as he’s in the low post.

  121. MB is such a bad in game coach that it really matters little how “well prepared” he supposedly is. You can’t watch your team go from up 12 to down 18 and keep substituting in the same horrible players. GLock has to play, Ebanks has to play. Murphy should never play again. Go small. Do SOMETHING. And when you are down 17 with 6 minutes left, PULL YOUR STARTERS. It is apparent he simply has no ideas whatsoever.

  122. Ken

    The reason why I enjoy your comments is because I know you don’t make them because you aren’t a fan. It’s the opposite, and I know you want the team to win titles just like the rest of us.

    So another 7-25 shooting night from Kobe, which is actually becoming the norm game by game. I know there are plenty of reasons why we lost this game, as is usually the case when we lose, but I’m sorry, IMO the biggest reason why we struggle is Kobe’s piss poor shooting. And it’s pretty much been that way for a big chunk of the season. We are simply not good enough to overcome these awful shooting games from our best player. As I said before, this team still goes as Kobe goes.

    As one of his biggest fans, it just frustrates me to no end, and I have no idea what the problem is. I seriously can’t fathom how one of the best players to ever lace them up can’t freakin make shots at a decent percentage game after game after game. It needs to turn around if we’re going to have any success in the playoffs, though I really doubt even that will help us…

  123. Blake, Kobe, Ron, Pau, Drew need to start the game

    Sessions, Goudelock, Barnes, McRoberts, Bynum need to start the 2nd same for 4th

    Zirk: After a while Jordan got old too. Happens to everyone.

  124. Kevin,

    If it’s age, then hey, there’s nothing anyone can do about that. He’s given us plenty to cheer and be amazed at for 16 years. Like I’ve said before, nothing he does from this point on while change my opinion of Kobe as a player and his legacy.

    But if it’s not age or fatigue, and we all know how well he keeps himself in shape, then we have to hope that he finds his shot again like in the beginning of the season. Because sometimes this team will give you just enough hope that they’ll be able to seriously compete in the playoffs, which we’ll only be able to do if we have an efficient Kobe. But then at other times, they give us clunkers like this. Frustrating is all I can say…

  125. It’s another bad night for the Lakers, the pattern continue to exist where they lose energy and momentum in the 2nd half. Well, the 3 bigs are good in first half and when the bench play, there is no replenishment of such energy and talents. McRob is like a jumping jack that lacked talents while Troy has his good shooting on long vacation. They don’t have speed and inertia to beat their foes.

    The good thing it happens in the season and not in the playoffs. OK Thunders are just a quality team, if this is the best rotation MBrown can offer, the pattern of disappearing in the 2nd half will always be with the Lakers. There is no adjustments, rotations are weak and defense is anemic. Uncontrollable TO’s are becoming the symbol of Mike Brown’s play of the game. He needs help from FO to fill the 15th slot from D’League or players being cut off in the next few weeks. He owe to play G-lock whose productive contributions has been dormant on the bench. He needs Hill as a fresh look of savior player who could hustle for rebounds. Lastly, I want Sessions to be selfish and shoot more than just thinking of the assists.

  126. The Thunder are in a different league than the Lakers right now. They’re playing two different games. One’s the rotating, flowing, 5-man game and the other is, well, I have no idea what game we’re playing. The stuff of pick-up game iso ego trips.

    I still believe we can win it all if we get our heads in the right places and start playing the right way. We have a long way to go though.

    The sad thing I got out of this game is that right now Bynum is a better player than Kobe. Offensively, defensively. He draws more attention and scores over double teams while Kobe cannot consistently beat single coverage. Bynum alters so many shots and rebounds when focused, while Kobe checks out mentally, not to mention the physical inability to stay with anyone. Gone are the days of “if I’m single teamed I go to work” – if Kobe holds on to that mentality we have no shot. It behooves opposing teams to do what the Thunder did – guys like Harden, Ginobili, Terry should keep attacking Kobe and hope his pride makes him take over the offense on the other end like tonight to get back at them. Kobe needs to stay away from this mentality. I have very little faith that he will, because that’s who he is and he’s not going to change. While I respect him for that, it’s simply not a winning formula anymore. I hope his heroic antics prove me wrong.

    I can see now why Bynum’s gotten so frustrated. He’s scoring so easily over people. Pretty much gets whatever he wants. For someone like that he should be the primary option and have the offense run through him yet MB insists on running an offense that produces nothing, keep the ball on the perimeter, while leaving Bynum a low shot clock to work with; Kobe insists on holding on to the ball and stalling the offense and MWP does the same. It would be frustrating to have your offensive effectiveness be that much more than the other options and be left by yourself to stand around and hope the ball bounces toward your vicinity on a rebound.

  127. Zirk: A efficient Kobe is always better but I go into every game thinking he’s going to explode. Kobe will come thru when it matters I truly believe that.

    OKC 19 offensive rebounds

    MWP 3-13 FG

    Pau 4-11 FG

    Sessions 3-6 FG. No doubt Sessions will get more than 6 shots running the 2nd unit.

  128. I don’t care how the offense is right now. We’re still pretty good. But what happened with the Defense. We need to find our defense… and that starts with Bynum. If he starts locking down on Defense, he’ll make a name for himself as a team player and the leader of the team.

    It’s not all about points.

  129. @92 – Disagree pretty strongly. Sessions did a decent job on Westbrook in the first half, forcing him into a number of jumpers off the hard dribble instead of letting him get to the rim more than once or twice. He started out the game 5-16. Westbrook just happened to really get going in the third quarter. It looked to me like he had a much easier time when he was being defended by Blake or Kobe.

  130. Edwin: It’s the start of the 2nd quarter. NO energy when Blake starts the 2nd.

  131. The Steve Blake we saw tonight is more than capable of playing with the starters the first five or six minutes of the 1st and 3rd quarters. Sub him back in for a minute or two midway through the 2nd and 4th quarters, letting Sessions run the 2nd unit. Let Sessions play the last five or six minutes of the 2nd and 4th quarters with the other four starters. He would also get a few minutes midway through the 1st and 3rd quarters with the starters.

  132. @137, Edwin – It’s not just having him shoot more. I want him to make more plays whereby he takes a shot or sets up a mate for an assist, especially using the P&R.

  133. Well, we cannot entirely blame the loss to Kobe. Perhaps, it was a bad shooting night for him at 7-25, if that is the case his teammates should pick up the slack. He cannot be the Laker savior in every game. He was OK the other night when his shots were falling in but tonight he was again off and could not get out from the double teamed. Thabo did a good job for Kobe.

    Are we going to abandon our best player because we lost another game against Thunder? Not yet ready for that, where will the Lakers be this season if they don’t have Kobe? He’s mortal who is aging so the Coach should be aware of that nature, he overplayed him this season in order to win more games.

  134. @Raydiaz

    We’re actually pretty good as a set defense. We get in trouble when our offense stalls, becomes unbalanced, or quickshoot – then the transition game kills us. So yes, it’s not all about scoring points, but it is about running the offense the right way so it’s not so easy to run the ball back at us.

    Also we’ve been playing our big 3 so many minutes it’d be surprising if fatigue didn’t contribute to the defensive dropoff, esp with our bigs.

  135. Laker fans can thank the basketball gods that Kobe Bryant didn’t play in the same generation as Kareem Abdul Jabbar because Kareem wouldn’t have gotten to touch the ball on offense except maybe 8 or 10 times a game.

  136. Pau looks tired out there. Listened to 710 postgame interview after Warriors win he sounded pretty beat. Kobe and Pau are getting blown by at will now.

  137. I am not rushing to this judgement. I have since the second half of last year. I saw the postseason too. I saw pre season and ninety percent of this year as well. This needs to be Kobe’s team… But it has to be Andrew Bynum’s offense.

  138. 142,

    Kevin, Blake was decent when he came in for Sessions. Sad to say, Sessions could not also stop Westbrook. Let us put it this way, Thunders are not only talented but also lucky to pick up those loose balls, getting shots at last second and getting rebounds and points on 2nd chances. It is not the fault of Blake but this is a team loss, Thunders are just more sound greyhounds and the better team tonight. Therefore, Lakers should prepare more being the underdog, hone their shooting skills more than the alloted time, communicate and organize more on defensive assignment if they want to win against thunders i.e. if they will meet them during the playoffs. If they persevere then they have a chance to beat their demons.

  139. Dave 146
    That’s such a hilarious statement…(Especially considering Bynum had at least 20 touches tonight.) Kareem was already the greatest big man ever before he joined the Lakers. Kobe would have deferred to someone like Kareem. Hell, Kobe deferred to Shaq, flawed as he was, for 6 years even though it had become clear that Kobe was well beyond Shaq as a player.

    Bynum is good. Really good, but he is nowhere near Kareem’s level. Let me go out on a limb and say that he will never approach Kareem as a scorer, defender, or leader.

  140. #141:

    I guess we were watching different games then.

    I didn’t see Sessions able to stay in front of Westbrook at all, couldn’t stop the ball and he couldn’t get over the screens either.

    I didn’t expect much different defensively from him but I had hoped that at least Ramon might put some pressure back on by performing well offensively in his own right but instead he just disappeared.

  141. Aaron 148-
    You’ve been saying that for forever and you were wrong last year, but now I will agree that the offense needs to run through Bynum/Gasol and then Kobe. I would like to see them each get 15/20 shots per game.

    Kobe is just too inefficient right now. By the way, the reason that I think you were wrong last year is that Bynum was not ready at that time.

  142. Ken:

    I don’t believe in my post I ever mentioned either Bynum or Shaq.

    But I’d have gone out on a limb myself and guaranteed you that Kareem never would have had anything close to the career he had if he was paired with Kobe.

    Hell, he would’ve retired in frustration as he was about to do at the time Magic arrived.

  143. Effeciency per 48 min we have the second best 1/2 starters (SAS #1) and second best 4/5 starters (Utah #1). We have the least productive 3. Bench is exactly opposite (Barnes best 3 off the bench eff/48 and 1,2,4,5 bottom feeders). Our 4′s have plenty of open shots but only take them nervously and as after-thoughts. We need Hill healthy and Lock and Ebanks to get some burn with Sessions and McBob Paul Westhead style.

  144. Sessions on the bench avg. 12 pts 3 reb 6 ast
    BENCH POINTS AVG. 32 pts. EFFECTIVE
    For it to be such a dramatic upswing with Sessions on the bench is greatly undervalued. He made players better there.

    Sessions as a starter avg. 13 pts 4 reb 6 ast
    BENCH POINTS AVG. 16

    Can someone name a backup PG better than Sessions?

  145. Dave

    As much as I like Sessions I have to agree. Westbrook abused him. Actually think Blake played him tougher. That was tbe knock on Sessions coming from Cleveland.

    He also seems to have caught Blake disease. Scared to shoot. Is that coaching or is that fear of Kobe. Shoot the ball Sessions or you will disappear like other PG that tried to play here.

  146. @Kevin…

    That #37 from OKC did pretty good tonight. I mean, he took it to the Lakers for 7 driving points and kept OKC in it when KD and R. Westbrook weren’t.

    Too soon?

  147. Good things:

    Bynum, you were awesome! Should have had more touches.

    Ramon, you didn’t look overwhelmed, that’s a good thing. This is your first game playing in an important game, I think you’ll be a ready for prime-time player. This is growing pains.

    McHops, I hope they keep playing you instead of Murphy. You play within your game. If you work on your offense this summer, you’ll be a nice player off the bench.

    MWP, good defense on Durant. Coach Brown let Durant get hot in the 3rd quarter before he put you back in the game. Also, Coach Brown played you when Durant wasn’t on the floor…that’s a no-no. Had you made at least one of those three three pointers earlier it might have meant something.

    Bad Things:

    Kobe, why’d you start talking trash at the end of the 1st half? You’re no longer capable of backing that up. Remember the old saying, “Don’t let your mouth write a check that your @@@ can’t cash?” Well you wrote one. You played lackluster defense (no defense), not passing the ball, and you let the Thunder get in your head once again. You need to feed Bynum more, some games you do and some games you don’t.

    Pau, the Lakers needed the guy that’s been playing tough the past 4-5 games. And, that play in the corner where you decided to put the ball between your legs and lost it, that was not savvy. I admit Coach Brown should have taken you out at the start of the third when you got back-to-back fouls, any other coach would have.

    Barnes, you didn’t bring it tonight.

    Goudelock, what are you doing or not doing that you can’t get in the game anymore.

    Ebanks, you were starting what happened?

    Horrid Things:

    Coach Brown, you continue to play Kobe the whole 3rd quarter and sit him at some point in the 4th. How has that been working for you? He is playing too many minutes for a guy that’s in his 16th year. I know Kobe tells you he’s fine, that’s because Kobe’s mind is telling him yes…but, his body is telling him no. You coach like you’ve written a script before the game and can’t ad lib. You need to play Ramon until his legs fall off, he’s a young player and should be able to take it. At least, then you’ll know what you have. Until, you know what type of team you’re coaching the players won’t know what kind of team they are.

    I’m not discouraged by this game, in fact, I’m quite optimistic. Coach Brown needs to free up that bench and play Goudelock, Ebanks and to a lesser extent Morris. Play these guys as a change of pace team. Much like the way PJ used LO, Farmar and Sasha in the 2nd unit.

    The league is hoping that the Lakers don’t figure it out by playoffs. Here’s to hoping that they do.

  148. Too many post players on this team we need more shot creators and defense/rebounding minded big men with foot speed.

    Also need a guys who can hit a 3 when there open geez is this a nba team?

    Sessions needs to shoot more and create open looks for others, Also he needs to learn to ignore kobes hand wave for the ball.

    Okc is the best team in the leauge and they have the best big 3 in basketball with durant westbrook and harden, Yes I would choose them over our big 3 and Miami’s, Fisher is no dummy.

  149. raydiaz1238: I’d take my chances with Sessions vs ANY backup PG in the league. His style of play fits Barnes/McROberts/Goudelock better than the big 3. That was proven his 1st four games.

    There still time to move him to the bench. Irving missed 4 games with a concussion Sessions started then went back to the bench when he returned. I’m sure Sessions wouldn’t mind coming off the bench anyway.

  150. Great first quarter..cutting, slashing, making the extra pass.

    I’ll stand by what I said a few months ago. If the Lakers get anything from Metta (8-10 points), and Kobe shoots near 50 percent, they can beat anybody in a seven game series. 7-25 won’t cut it.

    Bynum don’t hold the ball so long, fake right, jump hook to the left over the shorter (and annoying) Perkins..all night long.

  151. Yeesh. Lakers have to keep playing hard – and every contender is one key injury away from having their fortunes change – but right now, OKC is superior in every way.

    You know who I feel bad for? Long-time Seattle Supersonic fans. That should be their team.

  152. Kevin:

    It was a joke dude. I’m one of the few that didn’t think it was necessary to move Sessions to the starting lineup. However, not much we can do about it now. I don’t think he’s moving back to the bench. Until we hear something from the coaching staff about that possibility, why harp on it you know? It’ll just make you so much more frustrated.

    Really, this is about defensive intensity. I feel that our defense starts with Bynum. If he’s the defensive beast that we’ve seen him be before, he’ll warrant more offensive touches. At this point however, I don’t see the defensive intensity. The first quarter seemed to have a hustling Laker team that was jumping for every rebound and contesting the younger legs of the Thunder. If Bynum can commit to that, the Lakers would be tough to beat. We do have amazing perimeter defenders, MWP being the best one.

    It starts with the defense, and unless the they start playing team defense, then I will start giving MB some criticism. But since it’s only been 8 games since the trade deadline, I’ll give the team a little rope.

  153. Edwin: Lakers were up 30-18 to start 2nd when Kobe came back in it was 32-27. That’s been the case for a while now. My concern is the 2nd quarters.

  154. 7-25! THE BRICK MAMBA strikes again… I hate to say this because Bryant is one of my all-time favorites, but he just doesn’t have it ANYMORE… Repeatedly what I see from him is a total loss of quickness & a loss in the ability he once had to create good shots, instead now you see BALL-STOPPING and FORCING BAD SHOTS. His shooting percentages say it all. Without the Alpha-dog Kobe taking over games like he once did, this team seems directionless. So I would say that at this point the Lakers are lost… Mike Brown doesn’t have any answers, he is mediocre in his substitution patterns and he brings forth stale playcalling. Lakers have zero chance in the playoffs, they have become a very mediocre team.

  155. raydiaz1238: agree. defense and rebounding

  156. Dave,
    I’m gonna have to go with the dude on this one. Ramon kept Westrbook in check to start the game but he got into a crazy rhythm against Blake and in transision. he stayed in front of him and forced him into tough outside jumpshots that were contested. Westrbook was just on fire.