Game 2 Preview and Chat: The Oklahoma City Thunder

Darius Soriano —  May 16, 2012

Photo credit: AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki

Game one was a disaster for the Lakers that us fans would just as soon forget. But for the players, there’s a fair amount to glean from that blowout loss. Because with every missed rotation, bad coverage, and offensive miscue the Lakers can take note and do better. To win tonight, they must.

In a vacuum, that shouldn’t be that difficult. Outside of the first 10 minutes of the game, the Lakers didn’t do much right. And while the Thunder deserve credit for capitalizing on those mistakes, the Lakers can turn tonight’s contest into a much closer affair should they simply avoid being so giving on both sides of the ball.

With that said, here are a handful of things to improve on tonight that can lead to the Lakers evening up the series…

*Play the pick and roll and all other screen actions better. In game one, the Lakers did just about everything wrong in covering the P&R. Guards got caught on screens, big men sagged too low against ball handlers turning the corner, and wings over helped trying to compensate. This led to the Thunder getting clean looks at the hoop and the Lakers hanging their heads as the points piled up. In other types of screen actions the Lakers took the same approach and were burned in the same manner. When Durant curled off picks, his man got clipped without recovering quickly enough while big men sagged below the action waiting to be attacked. If you recall Durant’s first quarter dunk over Bynum, that play was set up because Ron was a step slow in recovering and KD used two long strides to elevate while Bynum hung back.

Adjustments here are easy in principle, but will require effort and discipline in executing them. First and foremost, guards must get through screens quicker. Whether chasing over the top or darting underneath, the guard must recover and do so quickly. Second, the big men must play the screen higher. Whether they hedge hard or play it more flat doesn’t necessarily matter as long as they’re higher in the action and ready to defend when the ball comes at them. Hanging back and inviting pull up jumpers in rhythm can lead to the type of onslaught seen on Monday. Third, the defenders not directly involved in the play must be alert and ready to help the helper. When the bigs commit, teammates must have their backs. Wings must drop down to help defend the paint and everybody must gang rebound.

*Cut out the live ball turnovers. The Lakers first possession was a bad pass that was stolen and dunked going the other way. In the first half they’d commit 7 more turnovers that OKC turned into 16 total points. The Thunder posted the 2nd best offensive efficiency in the league during the regular season and hung a 133 rating on the Lakers on Monday. Giving a team with that level of potency extra possessions – especially ones that lead to the easiest types of baskets – is a recipe for disaster. The Lakers must be more careful, but also act with more purpose on offense. Too many Laker turnovers seemed to be the result of over thinking an action or trying too hard for the primary option instead of looking to counters that were more open. The Lakers need to play smart, but loose. If something isn’t there, go away from it and attack another way. The Thunder are a smart defensive team but the Lakers made them look even smarter by not swinging the ball, not attacking off the dribble, and not using a varied attack. That must change tonight.

*Get Kobe moving into attack positions more often, preferably below the foul line. Whether on or off the ball, Kobe was spending too much of his time working 18 feet and out. At that distance his game becomes overly dependent on making jumpers and as the old saying goes – you live by the jumper, you die by the jumper. Kobe must instead work closer to the rim to find his rhythm. I’d love to see some of the cross-screen actions out of their “horns” actions to get Kobe flashing into the post or curling into the paint. I’d love to see him work more stagger screens that bring him to the short corner or get him on the move where he can make his catch at the pinch post with a live dribble. I’d also like to see him operate in the P&R more, especially with Gasol. It’s been a while since the Lakers utilized their Kobe/Pau P&R on a cleared side that forces the rotations that ultimately lead to Bynum being free under the rim. Dusting that action off would be a sight for sore eyes.

*Push the ball more. The Lakers had 0 (yes, zero) fast break points in game one. Against a long team that has strong individual defenders in the half court, that’s something that needs to change tonight. I’m not asking for the Lakers to turn into the SSOL Suns, but they could do well to take a page from the Spurs handbook and push the ball into the front court and look to seize opportunities against a defense that isn’t set. Be it Sessions or Kobe or Ron, advance the ball and look for the cracks in the D. The Thunder are a middling transition D team that likes to crash the offensive boards. Their will be opportunities to run, the Lakers need to recognize them and pounce.

The Lakers can also look to throw the ball ahead to Barnes leaking out after he contests jumpers. Barnes is likely to see a lot of minutes against Harden and Durant who are both fond of taking long jumpers that he’ll be closing out on. When those shots miss, he can lead out. The same is true of Gasol when he contests Ibaka’s mid-range jumpers in pick and pop situations. Many of these actions end with Serge taking 16 foot jumpers from the elbow area, and if the Lakers are gang rebounding the way they’re supposed to be, Pau can afford to run out a few times a game.

Ultimately, Playing 90 possessions against a stout half-court defense will grind any offense down. The Lakers must do more to cash in on the open court chances that present themselves.

*More big to big passing/actions. After the game, Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol sat on the bench together discussing strategy. They surely understand that despite having Kobe Bryant on their team, their play will have the largest impact on the Lakers’ chances  this series. With that being the case, they must find more ways to work together in order to take advantage of the aggressive play of OKC’s big men. Both Perkins and Ibaka want to get up the floor on defensive coverages. Both also want to be steady helpers at the rim to block and contest shots. This approach makes both vulnerable to smart cuts, quick duck-ins, high-low passes, and offensive rebounding chances. Ball rotations from the Lakers wings will aid in these actions but both Bynum and Gasol must be ready to take advantage when these opportunities present themselves. They can’t be caught standing and watching, nor can they get down on themselves should things not go their way early. They must continue to work and pound away because these openings will materialize.

*Get some bench production. The Lakers don’t possess a natural scorer off their bench. The reserves aren’t called upon to provide instant offense, their job is to support the starters their mixed with and to run the offense in manner that maximizes those players’ games. However, that doesn’t mean L.A.’s subs can play long stretches without looking for their own shots and knocking down the open looks they’re going to get.

I’ve already mentioned the need for Barnes to run out more and try to get some easy baskets in early offense. He’ll also need to rediscover some of his regular season success as a slasher who finishes at the rim after ball reversals. Steve Blake needs to be assertive with his shot and hit some of the open jumpers he’ll be afforded. He can’t have a repeat of game one where he only took a single shot, looking mostly passive in the process. Jordan Hill must also find a way to get some baskets either as a garbage man on offensive rebounds or by taking advantage of the attention drawn by his post partner by sneaking into the paint and getting good looks off quick passes. No one expects these guys to match Harden point for point but being outscored by the 6MOY as a unit (as this trio did in game 1) certainly won’t get it done.

———————

Yesterday the Pacers stole a game from the Heat in Miami in their game 2 match up. Yes the Heat were missing a key player but the lesson remains the same. These games are winnable should you execute well and go hard the entire contest. The Lakers are underdogs; they’re facing a better team. But they have the pieces that can win should they work their plan well. Tonight gives them another chance to do just that.

Darius Soriano

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195 responses to Game 2 Preview and Chat: The Oklahoma City Thunder

  1. “These games are winnable should you execute well and go hard the entire contest”

    There couldn’t be a more true statement. The urgency has to be there. Control the tempo make the game a grind. Posting up Durant brought success posting up Bynum wasn’t fair. IF the ball isn’t in the post it should be in PnR if it’s not in PnR it should be in the post.

    Can’t wait to see new defensive schemes.

  2. Kobe Alert: KB finished 4th in the MVP vote this year. It is his 10th time in the top 5, which is a feat only accomplished by Kobe, Bill Russell, and Kareem. At tip off, Kobes will move by Shaq for 3rd on the all time playoff games list. Only Kareem and Horry have more. Lakers occupy the top 5 slots on that list. He needs 34 more FG’s to hit 2k for his playoff career (only MJ and KAJ have done it). He eclipsed 5500 playoff points last game (only behind KAJ and MJ). Wow – when you are moving in on guys like Shaq, Kareem, and MJ, you must be good.

  3. lakers will make a game out of it…they’ll probably only lose by 10 this time around.

  4. Dont let the guards make easy layups. If they manage to go inside at least make them feel this is the playoffs and give them a hard playoff foul. Not a dirty foul but jus a hard playoff foul that could send a message that every time you drive down this lane it wont be easy. We need this win whether an easy win, hard fought victory, an ugly win I dont care just give us the Win. Go Lakers!

  5. the bigs need to wake up and bring out the beast within them…barnes need to show up what he did (playing like a 6th man ala odom) during the regular season…let’s hope for the best and steal game 2 before going home…go lakers!!!

  6. Pump Fake!

    Serge is looking to block everything. Pau needs to duck behind him that’s a basket every time.

  7. When the guards drive to the baseline or the bucket, Pau needs to dive to the line from the weakside, because Ibaka is ignoring him and selling out to block the shot–if Pau would do that, he would get dunks–have to be more active….

  8. @Kevin—looks like great minds think alike–simultaneous thoughts

    Meanwhile–I used to think that the Pierce-led Celtics were the biggest whiners toward the refs, but this OKC crew hasn’t committed a foul or missed a shot without being fouled in this series yet–maybe a symptom of having Perkins on the team–Kobe would have been T-‘d up a couple of times for acting like Perk and Sefalosha have acted in the first five quarters.

  9. Has anybody seen Kobe? Is he still on the team?

  10. mindcrime: somebody has to tell them that. If we can see it I know coaches do.

  11. Hey Kevin: What do you think? Purple and gold in every other section at Staples next game? It could work. Well maybe in another universe : )

  12. @Kevin–Bynum just figured it out–easy lay in.

    @Ko–I’ve seen him playing a ton of good defense so far tonight.

    Key first quarter stat–OKC–4 TO’s–LA–zero TO’s

  13. Robert: It would be great for some participation from the crowd. More along the lines of treating Staples as if its an arena not the movies.

    PnR defense has been great. The adjustment was effective 1st qtr.

  14. this is a nice read. it also means we must be aggressive on all facets of the game. be it for starters and bench players. lets play our hearts out!

    on a side note.
    t’was a nice 1st qtr for us. hopefully we can continue this pace and defense.

  15. Definitely more engaged defensively. Gotta mark Harden from the outset of this 2nd quarter.

  16. Kevin: LOL
    mindcrime/Ko: Yes – KB with 3 steals. OKC 4 TO and we have 2. We must win the TO battle to have any chance. OKC gives the ball away regularly, so if you do not win the TO stat – you lose the game.

  17. Where is everybody? Lakers nation, rise up!

  18. OK – we held our own in the 1st – let’s see how the subs do

  19. Gasol doesn’t like blocking out anymore.

  20. After a fairly well-officiated first quarter, apparently this officiating crew just got the memo–three PF’s on one trip–what a crock. The whistles are getting out of control here in the second.

  21. Pau just gave up 2 offensive rebounds

  22. Out of fouls already.

  23. Is it just me or does Harden get a whistle every time someone breathes on him.

  24. 5 Team Fouls already in this 2nd quarter .. Not good @ all.

  25. Lil pau: FB&G is a late arriving crowd – just like Staples. See Kevin and my comments above : )

  26. Either Pau is tired or has reverted back to his old ways. If he’s not going to score or attack the paint he needs to play defense and rebound.

  27. Demoralization isn’t good for posting.

  28. Sessions / Blake is scary.

    Glad MB put Kobe back in the game.

  29. Nice MWP !

  30. Is there a bigger bitch than Harden in the league? Seriously.

  31. kehntangibles May 16, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    Nice flop there, Collison

  32. The officials got the memo about watching Harden and making sure he doesn’t bump players after made shots. Pretty funny.

  33. Lakers are imposing their will so far. Game is physical not OKC’s game.

  34. Unbelievably odd officiating in this quarter–both teams have to be confused at this point….

  35. Why can’t Blake drive on fish? A decent game from KB and we’d be up 10

  36. Kobe and Pau needs to carry our offense now, other guys are playing quite OK. continue move the ball and pressure them on D.

  37. lilpau: I see nothing wrong with how kobe is playing. Only player on the team team with assists. playing defense.

  38. Pau -7 sounds about right.

  39. Bynum and the Lakers need to be smarter than this. OKC is doubling Bynum after he makes his first move. Drew needs to pass out of these double teams. He probably is so excited the few times he gets the ball he wants to et off a shot. But this selfish play from Drew can’t stand. He has gotten four shots blocked via a weak side defender

  40. Gah! Whenever Bynum goes up with one of those awkward shots the Thunder run out and get a fastbreak. ;)

    Lakers are doing a very good job of slowing the game down and not allowing a lot of transition baskets. If Kobe can shoot better in the second half, we might be able to slip out of here with a win.

  41. Terrible close of the second quarter for the Lakeshow. Hope they can avoid the third-quarter swoon they’ve suffered against OKC this year.

  42. At least this game is watchable.

  43. The all important 3rd quarter coming up. As I’ve stated before, this is the quarter in which they’ve blitzed us in all 4 games we’ve played this season. Stating the obvious, but definitely can’t allow the same thing to occur tonight.

  44. Bynum needs to shoot quicker instead of waiting for the double-team.

    We need (not easy):
    1. Keep it close on the scoreboard in the mid-4th quarter.
    2. Hit our open shots/Kobe being Kobe.

    If those 2 things happens, we’re good.

    Of course…

  45. Since nobody else will say it: Where is Sessions? Scoring 2 pts with zero dimes in 15 minutes is not what you want from a pg. Add in Blake with zero pts + zero dimes in 12 minutes. To compare Fish has more pts and dimes than both of them combined + he has played 8 minutes.

  46. we must continue this pace, i bet the OKC guys are anxious they cant get away with big lead, and if we can continue more, i believe we can steal a win tonight. kobe and pau needs to will us in the 2nd half.

  47. Lakers hanging in this game, have a 12-4 advantage in second chance points. Where is Sessions? Has not done anything again. Kobe with 10, Bynum 12 and Gasol 8. Lakers have a chance to get this Game 2.

  48. harden or pau will win this game 2nd half.

  49. Trivia for Darius and all mods: Has there ever been a half where Kobe got all the Laker dimes? That is before tonight.

  50. Kenny Smith is incoherent, the “new” defensive scheme has worked a lot better than last game.

  51. Tagging along on Robert’s question—has there ever been a half when LA had only three dimes as a team?

  52. Barnes & Blake are mediocre.

  53. Lakers have more turnovers with 5 than dimes with 3 at the half.

  54. People talking about how great the Lakers played the first half and they are down 3. Something is wrong with that.

  55. atleast Sessions scored a bucket, barnes & blake are worse.

  56. Sessions stepped out of bounds. Kobe at PG?

  57. Let’s GO Lakers!! Let’s GO Lakers!! Let’s GO Lakers!!

  58. Nice start to the third quarter by the Lakers.

  59. Westbrook with the bad flop and then lays on the floor and pouts about not tricking the ref into the foul. OKC is talented, athletic….and immature.

  60. If Bynum is single covered he needs to shoot every time. Make OKC pay for not double covering him.

    I like this defensive effort by our guys tonight. Keep making Westbrook and Durant shoot jump shots. On our way guys!

  61. Very nice start to the third quarter. Love seeing Gasol and Bynum push people around instead of the reverse for once. I hate to say it, but the Lakers need to take a page from the Celtics’ playbook and just straight bully OKC. Lakers may not be as young and athletic, but they are bigger and stronger and they need to play like it.

  62. Really, Sessions?

  63. Losing the turnover battle now 9-7. That is not good.

  64. Kobe got the swag going on,,

  65. Lakers are on the bad end of LOTS of calls.

  66. That Durant up and under was ridiculous…

  67. We have to make an open 3. And Sessions, wow… when is he going to shake out of his funk?

  68. So we airball a wide open 3 while they drain one. That’s why we can never pull away from anyone.

  69. Why is Blake in the game other than to just spot up s when shoot? He makes the offense looks ugly when he tries to “create.” So not his game.

    lineup for the last 5 mins of 4th:

    Kobe…………….outside scoring
    Barnes……………extra hustle
    Metta………………shut down Durant
    Gasol……………….P&N Roll
    Bynum……………..secure the paint

  70. No one should be excited. The Thunder were playing bad and the Lakers could not build any kind of decent lead. As long as this game stays close it favors the Thunder. Lakers missed an opportunity to take control of this game more.

  71. kehntangibles May 16, 2012 at 8:30 pm

    Not even mad about that shot by Durant, that was just a great make. But, gotta keep our heads up and keep playing strong, OKC is gonna make a run.

  72. Just stay focused and hope that we can knock down an open 3…

  73. Kobe no longer believing that the Blakes of the world will hit the open 3…

  74. Lakers are playing their game. Gotta love the adjustments by Mike Brown.

  75. Now is the scary time – our second unit at the start of the 4th.

  76. So OKC basically shoots 0% in the the qtr, and yet we’re only up 3? Yeah, way to take advantage. We better hope they don’t get hot in the 4th. Otherwise, we have nobody to blame but ourselves for once again, not being able to extend a lead.

  77. Well Joe.. considering the Lakers hit what 1/11 from the 3 point linie… I think we are playing quite well.. Be pleased..

    Mamba owns the 4th quarter! I see 12 points by him in the last 5 minutes alone.. my bold prediction.

  78. @68 Agree with Bosslady. That should be closing lineup.

  79. Kevin Harlin: “And that will conclude the 3rd, which the Lakers surprisely win over OKC …”

    Exactly.

  80. Kobe on pace for heavy minutes. Someone else has to step up.

    Bynum having 4 FT’s is a joke.

  81. Hello

    3 airballs. Metta can not shoot!

    Hello

  82. Gasol never does crap with that second unit, its so sickening to watch, get the starters back in.

  83. How far Gasol has fallen… He can’t even be relied upon to be an offensive focal point to start a fourth quarter… Brown brings in Kobe and Bynum right away. No trust in Pau to deliver. I disagree with him. You need to let Pau know you still think he can create his own offense against Nick freaking Collison.

  84. Laker offense had no idea what they wanted to do. Why wasn’t Pau posting up???? Session had no idea what he wanted to do. There was no aggression in his game. Passive all the time. What a terrible player!!!!!

  85. Kobe is one bad m*tha f*cka! Damn!!

  86. in a positive light, we’re winning, and sessions and gasol have yet to play well,,,in quite some time. If we can get just a little bit from either of those guys, we can totally do this.

  87. looking good, looking sharp. need more stops to crush their will.

  88. No time for Brown to pacify grown men. If Pau can’t make it happen sit his arse down. If Bynum doesn’t play hard sit him down too!

    Yeah Metta can’t shoot but he can sure D up!

  89. sick kb sick

  90. Sessions doesn’t seem to have a handle lately, either. But anyway, huge 3 by Blake.

  91. Looks like we’re getting early regular season MWP tonight.

  92. Thunder bigs are crowding Lakers bigs not letting them post up. Need PnR

  93. This has to be a very humbling experience for Bynum. I mean just weeks ago he thought he was the MAN!

  94. so exciting

  95. @bosslady prescient comment, a minute after you wrote that Bynum made a shot and put his hands on his head. What was that? Relief?

  96. I said RW would shoot the Thunder out of 1 or 2 games this series. Well…this is one of them. We need one more if we win this game and the series is ours.

    I want to see Westbrook, Perkins, and Ibaka shooting 15-20 footers all series long. Very well done Lakeshow.

    Just when I said that….Kobe throws a bad turnover.

  97. We gotta close the deal and snatch the home-court away advantage from them. Close The Deal.

  98. Oh man. Here we go.

  99. Kobe with two giant turnovers in the last two min.

  100. Wow………

  101. One was on him Aaron. The other was a bad pass that was deflected.

  102. Bacl to back Kobe TO’s. Deadly

  103. This is why we needed to be up 15 like we should’ve been with OKC’s awful shooting. That’s why you have to take advantage of things like that. Damnit, Kobe!

  104. This was hard to watch. Played a damn near perfect game and then collapsed with 2 minutes to go.

  105. Lakers just gave the freaking game away

  106. Shaking my head. You’ve gotta be kidding.

  107. Kobe is single handedly losing this game for us. Period.

  108. I can’t believe what I am watching….

  109. 16 seconds left. Now I want to see it Mike Brown is earning his paycheck. Can he drawup a play that will either assure we go to the free throw line or score? Don’t just give to Kobe and everyone pray!

  110. That possession was supposed to be a Bynum post up, but he can’t get the position. Ugh. We lose this and I think the series may be done.

  111. Just shoot me now.

  112. Great Look…. Blake just isn’t Steve Kerr

  113. we got this, we let it go… wasted opportunity man.

  114. That’s what happens when you let teams hang around when they should’ve been blown out.

  115. Crushing Loss

  116. I just broke my new tv.

  117. Wow – that really sucked!!! i was thinking that i was wrong and that this team could maybe pull it off – but man. that was absolutely horrible horrible horrible. ughhh!!!!

  118. Huge collapse.

  119. Series over.

  120. Wow. That’s all I’ve got to say about that.

  121. I guess Blake is not clutch…

    …(argh..)…

    But it wasn’t a bad play, it’s just that…(read 1st line)…

  122. Lakers stopped playing.

  123. The end of Kobe? In the last two minutes he for abused by Harden and couldn’t make a shot. But I’m more concerned with his lack of defense.

  124. I really wish I would have downloaded doodle jump now.. Blake needs to go the CBA

  125. never would thought that Kobe would have such a terrible 2 mins… wow.

  126. They torture you, get your hopes up, then crush you.

  127. The Lakers cant play any better than that, this was there game and then, BAMMMMM… Just like that… turnover, turnover, ugly brick, ugly brick, LOSE.. The worst game of the year, the worst CHOKE job I have seen.. it’s over.

  128. *sigh* almost. now momentum is on their side. this game was really ours to take and we almost had it. well, bad things happen and it happened at the worst possible time.

  129. I wonder how much of those Kobe turnovers were fatigue. Hard to stay mentally focused when you’re that tired.

  130. Kobe was tired. Bad entry pass. Bad shot. Bad result.

  131. Good season all. We’re looking at a clean sweep.

  132. That was absolutely heartbreaking. I can’t remember the last time a loss hurt that much. Our guys gave it everything they had for the entire game … they fought so damn hard. Stuck to the gameplan. Contested everything. And to just give it away at the end like that with poor TOs, and to still have a completely wide-open 3 from the shortest point on the floor…

    I think I’m going to be sick.

  133. That was depressing. Can’t complain about the last play, as Blake got a good look. It’s the two minutes before that play which hurt.

  134. Kobe didn’t have the focus he normally does. It can’t all be fatigue, I just have no words…

  135. Bad bad bad – thought we had it – lost the TO battle (OKC almost never loses when this happens) and did it in the ugliest way possible, Could not hit a shot, turned the ball over, and let them drive to the hole all in the last 2 minutes.

  136. Damn am a Kobe lover but he lost this game for us. And on the coaching staff, if we still have that foul to givd why on earth did they not used it when we were still up by 7? Lakers just fell on a sleep when they went up by 7.

  137. They choked big time.

    We were leading by seven with 2min.

    Gave up a basket under 15 sec.
    Then a ridiculous turnover by Kobe and easy 2pt. That’s 4 in less than 30 sec.
    Then another TO.
    Then a desperation Kobe shot with the time running out.
    Then another desperation Kobe shot with the time running out.

    I guess we could still have won if Blake hit that open Three, but if you come to think about it:

    That’s 4 possessions to get the win and they did 2 TOs and 2 desperation shots.
    They did not run a single play.
    No Entry Pass (no post position either), no pick and roll, no nothing.

    It’s difficult to accept a loss when the team doesn’t event try to score…

  138. Game wasn’t lost on the last shot and not getting it to Kobe. The game was lost because that’s all we did in the last 1.30 minutes: force feed Kobe. and it resulted in 2 TO two missed long jumpers.

    Blake was open and took the shot. I’m glad he did. It shows he has the balls to be the guy to make that play.

    But that was annoying.

  139. Worst night to be a Laker fan since June 2008.

  140. We did very, very good…Against the refs, against the so called (by Stern) the best team on the West.

    But, as I stated before, we needed 2 milacres. 1) Being close at the 4th and 2) Hit the clutch.

    We failed on the second…

    Stern is a happy chap right now

    (I wonder how he’ll celebrate…)

  141. Three pointers was the difference which has been a season long weakness: Kobe 0-6 Blake 1-5

  142. I would of rather been blown out. This loss hurts way more.

  143. @138 you are totally right. Too much iso for Kobe down the strecth. Get into the paint!

    Blake’s shot was one he had to take and I am glad that Metta got him the ball. It just didn’t fall for him. However it should have never been a shot that we needed considering a 7 point lead with less then 2 min to go…

  144. No rr – that would be Games 1 and 3 against Dallas. Similar choke jobs near the end of both fourth quarters.

  145. Terrible decision when there was 18.6sec left in the game. Knowing the Thunder had a foul to give, Kobe should have attacked sooner. If fouled, still time left in the game. Even a miss shot, still had time left to foul when the Thunder had only a 1pt lead. Instead, took nearly 10 sec to make a move. Although, it could have worked out if Blake made that shot…but we all know how that turned out.

  146. You know this type of finish will fuel Kobe but this is a tough loss. Very tough

  147. This loss is more heartbreaking, than my first love breaking up with me. Wow.

  148. rr: You are obviously forgetting a particular day last December. It was the day the Lakers ..

    well u know

  149. Heartbreaking, just heartbreaking. Great defense for 46 minutes, stuck to the plan, and then turnover city.
    Much as Kobe wants the ball, you’ve got to go to Bynum, he can shoot free throws and was in a good state this game. Blake HAS to take that shot, wide open, nobody should question that. Should not have come down to that. Really devastating. Probably the end of the this core group as we know it. For what it’s worth, Metta played like a champ.

  150. That Kobe turnover at the 2:00 mark killed our momentum and gave them life. :(

  151. Well, what’s done is done. I’m over the loss now. I’m not so sure the Lakers will be though.

  152. Sometimes a team just isn’t good, this team is that team.

    They make losing decisions, Kobe included.

  153. Hurts. Just Hurts. LAkers had this game.

  154. My heart just broke in to pieces. This is a type of loss that will stick with me for a long long time.

  155. We just saw the reason the Lakers for the 2nd year in a row will not get out if the 2nd round

    Turnovers, air balls, bad shots. Kobe
    His ego has far surpassed his talent.

    Don’t tell me about the past. Now he has become a player who loses games for his team

    Sorry but this is the Lakers future a guy who
    HAS to be the hero. He lost this game by his self.

    Feel bad for the other players who played hard

    Very unhappy with his choke job.

  156. No rr – that would be Games 1 and 3 against Dallas

    Boston won big tonight; they have a shot at the Finals. Any shot the Lakers might have had is gone.

  157. How about that Andrew Bynum laughing after a heart crushing loss? Really Drew? I’d like to clock you silly right now and get that smirk of your face.

  158. @ko

    I couldn’t agree better.
    You nailed it!

  159. Kobe somehow lost his ability to hold the ball…and that’s not age. He gets stripped and loses the ball randomly at an alarming rate.

    Someone needs to investigate this, its like he has a dead hand or dead fingers on his hand

  160. This series is playing out exactly like last year’s Dallas series. Lakers get dusted, then give a game away. Up 7 with two minutes to go, the Lakers forfeited their lead, their season, and any hope for a series win in a thirty second span that woke up the Thunder. That, coupled with a cataclysmic system fail on offense in the final two minutes, all but ended any hopes of the Lakers seeing the second round. The Lakers now must play .800 ball, starting with two wins in 48 hours against a team playing with house money, better players, more depth, more athleticism….just more.

    The Lakers got everything they could have asked for in this game. They were aggressive and tenacious on D, they got the game played at their pace…and they still lost. That’s when you are checkmated.

    Much will be made of the decision to pass to Blake at the end. I don’t know what the hell they were trying to run with Kobe, but it appeared to be some sort of back door alley oop. Blake was open, got a measured look, and missed. The game was blown moments earlier, when the Laker offense did what had to be done to ensure a loss: they created instantaneous extra possessions with turnovers, without which OKC could not have won, and when they didn’t turn the ball over, they waited far too long to initiate their offense, giving it to a guy with 5 seconds or less to operate, leading to low percentage shots, misses, and, ultimately, the de facto end of their season.

    I’m sure tomorrow the cooler heads will sift through the ashes and find reasons for optimism, but I’ll be going to bed thinking one thing:

    Championship. Window. Closed.

  161. Someone needs to investigate this, its like he has a dead hand or dead fingers on his hand

    Is this sarcasm? Either it is or you started following the Lakers about six weeks ago.

  162. Ko: I have to disagree. Kobe played his heart out for 46 minutes. Those last 2 were the reason for the loss, but he’s still the guy who can close games for Lakers. This type of loss for him personally will only be fuel for him.

    Sessions is doing nothing to help this team. 1-3 fg 2 pts 3 ast.

    Nobody on the team actually played well. It was a total team effort on offense and defense and were in a position to win. And Kobe turned into some guy I never seen before. No excuses..

  163. To me this is the most crushing loss since the 08 Finals. When your team is getting blown out, you disengage. When your team is losing because of a lack of focus and effort, you become frustrated and disgusted and that takes away a little bit of the pain. When your team fights so hard the entire game – despite being overmatched, just fighting hard, uglying the game up, instigating the physicality – you become invested in every play. You start believing, you start living and dying with each play. When you’re up by 7 with the game almost over, you start to feel hope – which many of us didn’t think possible after Game 1. And when you give that up after 46 grueling, agonizing minutes – it’s heartbreaking.

  164. Game 3 – either a win or a blow-out loss, no in between.

    Disappointed but it isn’t over yet.

  165. Yes. Six weeks ago…that’s it

  166. Sessions deserves to be on a new team. He is the guy Lakers gave up a first round pick for which could’ve been used for a superstar. Instead Lakers were stuck will a total scrub.

  167. rr: I have had several posts about the Celtics recently and nobody else has mentioned it until you. This season could get alot worse. The 4 leaf clovers are out in force and I am expecting Wade + James to catch the flu any day now.

  168. Hey, I’m still not over game 7 of the 1970 finals (the willis reed game), this doesn’t compare.

  169. Those were the worst 2 minutes I’ve ever seen Kobe play since 04 finals. It’s been a while. He’ll be better next game for sure.

  170. Disappointing loss for the Lakers, not happy with how they closed out this game. Any chance the Lakers had in this series is virtually gone. Harden outscored the Lakers bench again 13-11.

  171. “i don’t usually choke, but when i do, its when i’m needed most”

    the least interesting man in the world.

  172. Really, feel bad for the other players that played hard? If those same players had played hard in Denver they would’ve had a little rest. Did anyone feel bad for Kobe when he played after throwing up from both ends in the Denver game? In that game Kobe was the only one that played hard.

    Funny.

    It isn’t over until someone loses on their court!

  173. I too am crushed by this loss, only a series win will make me right again.

  174. Robert,

    Well, I am skeptical about Boston, but with Bosh out the Simmons fantasy can become reality.

    Marques,

    You a Haterboy? Don’t really need those here. But we all have different ways of coping, I suppose.

  175. Somewhere, Derek Fisher is laughing.

    Who thinks he would’ve hit that shot?

    The good news is the Lakers controlled the pace and was dominant on defense with World Peace, Bynum & Gasol.

    The bad news is that Kobe tried hero ball at the worst possible time.

  176. well we now re-enter the 90’s era of laker basketball. Talent but not title contenders. Kobe can now just go after scoring more points than jordan then retire. But it’s a wrap. lets just hope it doesn’t take 10 years to rebuild again.

    It’s too much to ask the lakers to beat their opponent and to not beat themselves. Kobe isn’t even a decent closer anymore. He’s an inefficient volume scorer.

    the lakers have decisions to make.

  177. I can only echo what has been repeatedly said before me. This is a tough loss. We’ve fought and battled and were actually winning before letting the victory slip through our fingers.

    Let’s see what we’re made of. Let’s get those wins in games 3 and 4 and go back to OKC and see if they have what it takes.

  178. No way OKC loses four of the next five. I’d love to be optimistic right now. But reality is staring us in the face. It is really hard watching them lose games like this. But you know what is harder? Watching a player like Kobe truly decline right before my eyes. That hurts. I never ever wanted to see “can’t close the deal anymore” Kobe. Unfortunately, he has become that guy.

  179. go kings!

  180. When Lakers get a legit PG who can actually create for teammates all this KObe decline and not the same guy anymore stuff will go away. He lost the game tonight no question about it. But he’s the only guy on the perimeter producing. It was Kobe vs Miller, Lawson, Afflalo. Now it’s kobe vs Harden, Sefolosha, Westbrook. No one on the perimeter is bringing anything.

    Sessions won’t shoot a open shot and is 2 -10 in two games this series. He had 0 assists tonight. you know how hard it is for a PG to get 0 assists.

  181. Funky Chicken May 16, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    Well, we almost beat the best team in the league on their court playing 4 on 5 the whole game. Worst PG play in Laker playoff history. Sessions looks literally scared of the moment, and Blake has got to be the worst passing PG in the history of the game.

    11 bench points isn’t going to win many playoff games.

    Will somebody please tell the Lakers that James Harden goes left every time? You’d think that after seeing LO in practice all those years they would know how to defend a guy with no right hand.

  182. When Lakers get a legit PG who can actually create for teammates all this KObe decline and not the same guy anymore stuff will go away

    I agree to a large extent. As I said, this is the series that reall makes me think “Chris Paul.”

  183. #161 is right on the money.

    It’s a crushing loss, but looking back, how many of you actually thought the Lakers had a chance in this series? For 46 minutes I was pleasantly surprised!

    Then in the final 2 minutes I was reminded of all the reasons I didn’t have faith in this team, it was a microcosm of what has been re-occurring all season long.

  184. Kevin,

    Kobe has been a ball dominant guard for most of his career. The Triangle has allowed him to get used to playing without a true point guard. The kind of PG you are talking about would permanently move Kobe off the ball. I just have a hard time seeing him gracefully turn into Ray Allen, a spot up shooter who takes direction from a younger and not as accomplished floor leader. That is not to knock Kobe. But after 16 years the man is pretty set in his ways.

    The biggest obstacle to getting the most out of a true point guard is Kobe’s stature and playing style.

  185. The way Sessions was playing somehow made me feel that I miss the “Fisher Intangibles”

  186. The Lakers wouldn’t have been in this position if ANYBODY besides Kobe, Bynum and once in awhile (though certainly not monday or tonight), Gasol, could be counted on to generate offense. This is the defensive scheme the Lakers should be employing this entire series- it will continue to work, but if somebody doesn’t get hot for L.A., they simply won’t be able to generate enough offense to prevent situations like this. The Lakers had multiple opportunities to extend the lead and they blew every single one of them and kept allowing OKC back into the game. They played with fire and they got burned. That stretch with the 2nd unit in the 4th quarter was unbearably AWFUL.

  187. Excellent game by Kobe til the last few minutes. A terrible turnover, but it happens. Mostly a good game by the whole Laker team, but they stood around too much at the end hoping Kobe would make tough shots, and they let up defensively as well. OKC turned it up, jumped passing lanes, took it hard to the hoop, and took a win away from the Lakers.

    The effort was there, and tough for a team still trying to figure things out. Not that some Laker fans deserve anything, but come back home and try to slow the Thunder again.

  188. Lakerlord, you hit it right on the head. It was really almost too good to be true. Even if the Lakers did win that game, it took a perfect game, Thunder were still the better team and was probably going to take the series. Now it just won’t take as long.

  189. Makes me sad to think that we have reached the end of a era. Watching Kobe dribble the ball those last 10 seconds instead of passing or penetrating because he had to take the shot in his mind is our future.

    Is sad and the end of our expecting Kobe.to save the day is over.

    Very sad day for me.

  190. Blow this slow awful ego driven team apart please get guys that try

  191. Jordan Hill should have been on the floor in the waning minutes of this game. His activity appears to throw OKC off kilter.

    The Lakers owned this game they’re just offensively challenged. Not anything we haven’t known this entire season.

    Blake played a good game too bad he missed that jumper. He is who he is.

  192. Game 7 against Denver, i saw Kobe a little bit different already. The scary thing Lakers have to pay Kobe more money next two years and we are not sure Lakers will win second round in the playoffs again. About Session, he came to LA from bad Cleveland team, i understand why he didn’t play well, he doesn’t have experience to play in the big games yet .
    Lakers should give the the ball to Bynum, don’t need to shoot the ball from outside every times with 2 min left. Kobe with 5 championship experience are all gone.

  193. TRogers: Just seeing your post. I would rather compare his role with what Pierce is to Boston. He would still get his touches (Iso’s, POst ups). He would be free to do more like rebound and I think the PG’s passing would be infectious the way it became with Pierce. Being off ball and not being involved in every play will keep him fresher and take pressure off him to produce every night. I think a reason Kobe messes up sometimes is because he thinks he needs to overly overcompensate for the perimeter shortcomings. Just my opinion. It would have to be a established PG not a up and comer or one already on the roster. That’s why the paul situation was a stroke of genius.