Game 4 Preview and Chat: The Oklahoma City Thunder

Darius Soriano —  May 19, 2012

AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

Last night the Lakers won a game at the FT line and that seems to have sparked some controversy about the nature of the calls, the refereeing, and what that meant about the game. So, before I get into anything about game 4, let me say this…

When it comes to the refereeing, I’ve always taken the same stance: players can’t control how the game is called, they must adjust to it and go from there. When I’m frustrated with the refs it’s normally because they make it difficult for the players to adjust by not calling fouls consistently on both sides of the floor or from possession to possession; that a foul on one end, isn’t a foul on the other. Last night, I didn’t think that was the case. However, what I did think was that much more contact was allowed in the paint than on the perimeter. Thus, any contact around the rim was met with a shrug while guys on the wing earned whistles for slight grabs and holds – especially when they were receiving passes or making their initial move to the rim.

For the players, I’m sure that’s frustrating but they must adjust to that and play on. Ultimately, in a 3 point game, the contest was there for either team to win. Plenty of plays could have been made by either side to claim the victory. The FT’s obviously mattered a lot. Saying otherwise would be disingenuous. But many other plays mattered too. Ignoring those would also be disingenuous. Whether the officiating evens out in the end is rarely my concern because that can’t be controlled. Complaining about it may make you feel better but it doesn’t change anything. I say this when the Lakers win or when they lose.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming…

The quick turnaround between games means that there’s really no time to dwell on last night’s events. In a way, that favors the Thunder with their frustration fueling them and their younger legs able to carry them. They’ll surely be ready to play tonight; with their youth, they’d probably have been ready to play a double-header last night. This isn’t to say they won’t have any fatigue, but I anticipate it being more mental than physical. These close, hard fought playoff games blunt the brain and that takes time to recover -time neither team will have.

From the Lakers side, they’ll have both mental and physical fatigue to battle. They too have been through the ringer mentally. Only  a few days ago they literally gave away a game and last night pulled out a similar contest. The roller coaster ride of those events would be taxing on any team, even a veteran one like the Lakers. Physically, they’ll have to deal with heavy legs. They’re trying to play a power game that requires the battling for position on every possession. That war for real estate is one of attrition that grinds players down. Being the aged team doesn’t aid them here and bouncing back to provide the same effort tonight will prove difficult.

It’s necessary, however. For the Lakers to win, they must continue to ugly up the game. The Thunder continue to be the favorite as the deeper, younger team. But if the series remains a slugfest, the gap lessens between both squads. A back alley brawl favors the bigger, more physical team. And as Mike Brown has said, he wants his group to carry that label. If the Lakers can force this type of action on the Thunder, they can get the them to play on their turf both figuratively and literally tonight.

That said, expect more adjustments from the Thunder tonight to counter L.A.’s gameplan. The Lakers are daring the Thunder big men to beat them, gambling more and more as these games (and possessions) progress. Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol are leaving their men with reckless abandon to help on screen actions. Off the ball they’re stepping out – sometimes as far as the three point line – to help with ball denials to obstruct passing angles. Sooner or later the Thunder are going to recognize this and simply pass the ball to their big men who are setting screens and test the Lakers rotations underneath. I mean, if Kevin Durant is going to draw his man and the man guarding the screener, that screen man is the one that’s open. If the Lakers weak side  rotations (especially the backside big) isn’t quick to rotate, this action will start to produce layups. They must be ready to help the helper and thwart these counters.

The Thunder also showed a nice offensive wrinkle where they ran Durant off a pin-down screen and then used him as a screener on the ball in the P&R for Westbrook. Durant darting to the top of the circle got Ron trailing and in poor position to help on the ball handler as he turned the corner off KD’s screen. This action freed Westbrook on at least two occasions and set him up with clean mid-range jumpers at the foul line. This is a creative play and the Lakers must be ready for it, and other actions that involve a man coming off a screen only to set another. These types of actions can work with any of OKC’s three main perimeter threats handling the ball or setting the screen so the Lakers must be ready to help – especially the back line bigs who become primary rotators when the perimeter D breaks down.

Offensively, the Lakers must simply do what they’ve done the past two games. Last night Andrew Bynum didn’t shoot well but he got the exact looks the team wants him to get. When he battled for position he was able to work 10 feet and in, where a power dribble set him up for any one of his hooks or counters. He was visibly frustrated that some of these shots weren’t falling but his perseverance led to him earning FT’s while also contributing to the overall gameplan of bully ball through power post ups. This is the approach that he needs to take again tonight, with the hope that some of those bunnies he missed start to fall.

Kobe too must build on his approach from last night. As I mentioned in the preview and Jeff Van Gundy mentioned during the telecast, Kobe’s economy of dribbles and quick strike attack are what will work best against this team. One dribble pull up jumpers, two dribble attacks to the rim, and movement off the ball that gets him paint touches are how he can score best. Sefolosha is one of the better defenders around but even he can have trouble dealing with a decisive Kobe who isn’t looking to fake his way into baskets.

Ultimately, though, the two players who really need to bring their ‘A’ offensive games are Ramon Sessions and Pau Gasol. Sessions’ first half was a sight for sore eyes, as he worked well on and off the ball attacking the seams of the defense to either score or set up teammates. Tonight he’ll likely need to take and make a couple of jumpers to keep the defense honest but it’s his overall mindset needs to carry over from last night. He must be assertive and inject himself into the action, the Lakers are a much better offensive team when this happens.

As for Pau, he must move from supporting actor to lead role tonight. Last night’s game gave him the opportunity to mostly facilitate and work the glass but he’ll need to be more aggressive looking for his own shots in game 4. He can shoot his jumper over Ibaka when given space but, like Kobe, can make quick drives to the rim when he’s crowded on the perimeter. Last night he tried to create off the dribble but settled for pull up jumpers but tonight he must try to get all the way to the rim to get baskets and/or earn trips to the foul line. Also, he must find a way to beat the fronting defense he faces when matched up with Nick Collison. He must continue to try and root Collison up the the lane line, something his teammates must recognize and then throw the ball over the top off ball reversals and high-low actions.

The difference between a 2-2 series and 3-1 series is huge. If tonight ends with the latter, the Lakers may be able to fight off OKC (much like Denver did the Lakers last round) for a game or two more but the inevitability of ultimate defeat will loom large. However if it’s the former, the Lakers are right back in the series with both teams needing to take 2 of 3 to advance. Even as an underdog, that’s where the Lakers would like to be. Tonight will require all their fortitude, discipline, and guile. But the plan is in place for them to follow. They just have to go get it.

Darius Soriano

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218 responses to Game 4 Preview and Chat: The Oklahoma City Thunder

  1. Laker FANatic 4 Life May 19, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    The Lakers near perfect performance at the line shows that veteran poise that the thunder lack. Leave no points on the table, this is OUR main advantage LakerNAtion…Heard the new Laker Anthem for 2012 called “we are not done yet” by The Ides with Felli Fel and its a straight heatrock>> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mid6UpN-GpQ

  2. It’s my understanding the league reviews scrums and flagrant fouls after the fact to impose fines and suspensions and upgrade or downgrade calls.

    If that is the case, why is there absolute radio silence from the league office about the clear closed-fist punch Westbrook struck to the back of MWP’s knee last night, with clear intent to hit MWP where he hit him, and it had the intended effect–when you hit someone there they buckle–which is exactly what MWP did, landing on Westbrook, hence the allegation that MWP “kneed” Westbrook, when in fact, MWP only landed on Westbrook because Westbrook tried to hurt him. Is there any doubt that if MWP throws that punch he’s looking at a multi-game suspension?

  3. Looked at the video again–I’m going to say might be elbow moreso than the fist—but that shouldn’t

  4. Clearly Pops is throwing this game to rest up for tomorrow. No way any NBA team can play this bad if they are trying.

    Not smart to prop up a big ego driven team. Could come back to bite them.

  5. In a lot of ways this reminds of playing against Phoenix in 2006. We’re overmatched, but we’re evening the playing field by slowing the pace down and pounding the ball inside and playing with excruciating discipline. We’re playing against a team that can light it up and go on runs very quickly; if you mess up and take some long J’s and don’t get back in transition, they can burn you very fast.

    The difference is back then, we were pounding it inside to Kwame, Lamar, and Luke Walton. But a lot of the principles are the same.

  6. Ball Movement is key tonight. Can’t ride Kobe back to back and expect him to produce late in the game when Lakers will need him. Put the ball in Sessions hands early. Brown should tell him to get Lakers 10 assists. Sessions and Pau PnR should be the first, second and third options tonight.

  7. Kobe pau and Bynum cannot be compared to 2006. Phoenix also never played defense, with a coach who still foolishly thinks offense wins championships. Okc can play d and is much deeper than the suns. Nash is a hof pg. Westbrook is far from that. We need a career night from Bynum, because they have no answer for him. He is so strong, but he still does not know how to use his body enough to take over games on a consistent basis. The finesse game goes so far in the playoffs, especially when there is so much contact. Hes got to sacrifice more of his body and punish guys coming to the rim. If he can earn the trust of the refs with his play, he will spend all day at the line. I just think his conditioning is still a little off. I don’t understand how a guy so strong gets blocked at the end of the game going for a dunk. Go lakers!

  8. It’s imperative that Coach Mike Brown figures out a way to get Kobe, Pau and Drew some additional rest tonight. Maybe different substitution patterns in which players take a break at a time that was not previously alloted to them. Also, might be a good opportunity to give Ebanks and possibly even Josh Mac some burn for the sole purpose of alleviating some of the wear n tear on the aformentioned three.

  9. @4

    Clearly “you” …

    LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. To my eye the Lakers have no reliable perimeter game so stacking everything up to stop an inside game will almost certainly pay off for OKC over the course of the series.

    Kobe is the only threat from range and he isn’t what he once was in terms of being a consistently reliable threat as a ranged shooter anymore.

    Sessions needs to continue to press with his offense as he did last night because except for that, he has no other purpose for being on the floor.

    Except for game one Mike Brown’s defense has done a good job. Unless we can consistently make shots which we haven’t done all year, by all appearances we can’t hold these guys off I’m afraid.

  11. #8 Rest? Are you kidding? Rest? if we lose tonight, rest or no rest, the series is over.

    Coach Brown has to throw everything including the kitchen sink at winning this game and hopefully tying the series so that no matter what, it will return to Los Angeles after Game 5.

    If by some miracle the team could manage to win by a superior margin such that the regulars could rest, a convenience they haven’t had all season long then yes, rest them.

    Otherwise do everything possible to win Game 4 even if it means regulars have to play 40 mins plus to get the job done.

  12. Kings won, Lakers won, Sparks won, Clippers lost. Sounds about right. Chris paul had to take over that game and couldn’t. Thankful Lakers have Kobe.

  13. Dave,
    You’re eyes are right :) But eventually the Lakers will be able to shoot better than 10 percent from the outside. We are due for a fluke shooting game or at least and average shooting performance right? I hope we save that streak shooting performance for game 5 in OKC ;)

    Btw… I know Mike Brown said Bynum was the player of the game… But I think it was obvious it was Ron Artest. I’ve never seem a SF change the game defmesivley like he does with his power, intensity, and IQ. I love watching him play basketball. That’s why he has been my favorite Laker since he has arrived. I just love that guy. He stands for everything I like in winning basketball players. He isle,s to always make the right play on both sides of the ball.

    Also… I think the back to back always favors the home team. I think the Lakers got lucky here. The home crowd will give the Lakers more energy than the Thunders young legs.

  14. Another reason I think the back to back favors the Lakers is very obvious… SIZE and more SIZE. If everyone is a quarter step slower who does that effect more? The two skilled seven footers the Lakers throw out on the Harwood every night or the fast/athletic PG, SG, and SF the Thunder trot out relying on finesse and energy. I’m telling you… People are not looking into this back to back enough. Second night of a back to back on the road for a finesse perimter oriented team against a bigger interior oriented team is an obvious disadvantage no matter of age for the jump shooting squad. It’s obvious but people just don’t see it. Having said that… If Kobe is dead tired we all know he won’t concede the game to his bigs and might shoot the Lakers out of it. We will see.

  15. @12. :-)

    it’s always a relief! Kobe…

  16. Hopefully Sessions can build on the signs of life he showed last game. I’d also anticipate a heavy dose of Drew early on.

  17. Aaron at #13
    Really? You can’t envision our heavier bigs being tired from a game the night before? You can’t envision Bynum being a little slower getting back on defense? You can’t envision Bynum being a little slower getting downcourt on offense- slower getting into low-post position? Making it difficult to have early post up opportunities?

    I claim that this short turnaround favors the younger team. The Lakers backs are against the wall, however, and that may make all the difference.

    I love how you already prep the excuse for a Laker loss as Kobe not getting the bigs the ball. I hope that Bynum has a big game. I hope that he can shoot a little better than 2/13. I hope that he’s not so tired that he is slow on his PnR contests or that he is slow on his help rotations. We shall see.

  18. This is Lakers 5th game in 8 days. From March 29 – April 4 was a 5 games in 7 days stretch. Lakers finished it off with a tough late win vs Nets. Then a gritty win vs a hot Clippers team the next night. They did it before they can do it again.

    0 days rest

    Kobe 31 pts 44%

    Pau 19/10/3/1 52%

    Bynum 15/12 51%

  19. @6 kevin.

    Yes. Ball movement is the key. Lakers winning strategy requires balance between slowing game down and quality FGA’s. Lakers “stand around” when Kobe gets the ball with 10 or less seconds. Kobe in turn FGA’s sometimes making amazing shots and sometimes leading to OKC run out baskets.

    Darius nailed it. Winning style is ugly but Lakers have executed the strategy for the last 2 games.

    Can they do it again on tired legs in game 3?

  20. Here we go…Very interested to see the adjustments brooks makes to thwart the constant pounding of the ball inside, the lane will be crowded to say the least. OKC will look to push the ball at all times gauging the laker’s effort to get back in transition in the back-to-back. The PnR’s looked REAL good last night with Kobe/Pau and Sesh/Pau – seems to be effective in forcing OKC to make some decisions and was key in getting all those FT attempts and should definitely be repeated. Really hoping we can get another solid outing from the PG’s- when playing with confidence and flow the outside shooting of blake mixed with the penetration and PnR of sessions can be huge in this series. But honestly this will all come down to physicality, the mental game of it all, and flat out who wants it more ie. 50/50 balls, boards, and transition D. Kobe needs to continue to attack, get pts in the paint and get to the line. Can’t wait. LETS GO LAKERS.

  21. Kobe Alert: An extremely busy night for the Kobes, He hit his 1300th playoff FT last night (only MJ has more). He moved by Kareem into 2nd place in all time FGA’s (only MJ has more). He moved past Nate Thurmond for 34th on the all time playoff rebounds list. Next up in 33rd – you guessed it – MJ. He now has 86 playoff games of 30 pts or more (only MJ has more). I guess Kobe really does want to be like Mike. He needs 13 more dimes to catch Pippen for 6th (already has MJ in that stat). Wow 36-7-6-2 in his 16th year – incredible.

  22. The game tonight is huge. For the press, the fans, + yes – this board: If we win, we are back to being legitimate contenders. If we lose, the season is over, the haters will come out, etc..
    My perspective: We are what we are. Probably 50/50 tonight. While it totally changes the season, it does not change us. Do what you like, but keep that in perspective tonight. KB will be the same age win/lose, AB will be who he is, etc..
    Enjoy the game all !

  23. GO LAKERS!

    (What, you expected analysis when I’m too jacked up even to find my keys?)

    GO LAKERS!

  24. Warren Wee Lim May 19, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    Darius, do you have an “ignore” button here?

    And despite everyone calling this back-to-back to OKC’s advantage, momentum is ours. We’ve played 2 games that we grounded the high-scoring Thunder and here we are, 21 hours fresh from showing them how its done.

  25. This game I hope to see the following:

    Sessions get a double/double…and penalize fisher for guarding him, like other teams did.

    Blake hits at least 3 from 3 line to spread the defense and open up lanes

    Barnes: gets involved with some great D

    Hill gets at least 20 mins on floor.

    Bynum shows Ibaka who is Block Master

    Pau: gives us a double double

    Kobe scores/attacks 30 or more,,

    Metta: shut Durant down!

    LAKERS ALLL THE WAY

  26. Bynum actually beat someone down the court and got the slam dunk, Sessions with the dime.

  27. all Thunder shots seem to come easy.

  28. Sessions looking more comfortable every game.

  29. Laker fans on pins and needles, lol..

    remember it’s just a game..LOL,,

    chill,,,,,,,,,,enjoy,, this is what we want COMPETITION, to be the UNDERDOG, TO EARN THE TITLE OF CHAMPIONS!

  30. Everything’s coming easy to them out of the PnR. Don’t like the pace of this game.

  31. Pau’s getting roughed up early. Something to keep an eye on.

  32. Kobe and Pau pick and roll is unstoppable. I wonder why we don’t use it more.

  33. Barnes Mojo is garbage right now. He really needs a confidence lifter.

  34. great 1st qtr

  35. i really hope that Ebanks has a chance to do a little more than Zilch Zero Barnes

  36. Bosslady: Barnes has clearly lost his mojo. Brown has to get his weak stuff outa there. “Ariza lite” needs a look.

  37. Question: If said player gives us 0 points, 0 rebounds, 0 assists, 0 key plays…and the man their guarding scores in double digits… WHAT IS SO
    USEFUL TO KEEP PLAYING SAID PLAYER?

    PLEASE TEACH ME

  38. Good start for the Lakers. Kobe and Bynum with 10 points each. Lakers getting some early points in transition.

  39. OKC messed up and gave Lakers confidence. Bynum is dominating.

  40. happy for Bynum to Rock the Hicks!

  41. GREAT adjustment by MB sitting ron early so he can defend harden at the start of q2! I was one of his biggest critics, but hes stepped up the last couple games

  42. That a boy, Drew! It all starts with D! Nice block by Pau too. He’s hustling tonight and keeping plays alive.

  43. Bynum running down the court and getting rewarded with the ball for the slam dunk. He is very active tonight. More of this Drew.

  44. Sessions being more comfortable is game changing.

  45. Beautiful. Thunder go small, no shot-blocking, and Sessions taking advantage.

    Edit: As I say that, MB takes Sessions, our best penetrator, out. MB, just when I start to like you…wow…

  46. Kobe, please just take care of the ball. That’s all I ask.

  47. Excellent timeout: We were tired and to slow the pace – this close of Q2 is big

  48. why can Perk get away with pushing people on the floor?!

    Bynum: Take him OUTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT

  49. Brooks – what a collection of platitudes!

  50. Kobe in attack mode, gets the and 1.

  51. with the way the Lakers playing tonight, they can afford to miss freethrows…

  52. KB8 just made an appearance! That looked like Kobe with the Fro’ right there. 16 years of watching him and he still amazes me.

  53. @ 25 I stated for us to get this win

    Kobe needs 30 or more: He has 16 already,

    Blake needs at least 3 from 3point line: he has one already.

    Hill needs at least 20 mins: he has only 7 so far.

    Metta needs to shut down Durant: that’s not happening!

    Bynum must be Block Master: He has 2 blocks and has changed at least 10 or more shots!

  54. Hope Westbrook is okay. Do not want to see anyone injured.

  55. Funky Chicken May 19, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    I am quick to blast Bynum for his lax effort from time to time, so I’m happy to praise I’m when he plays like this. Great, great half for the big guy.

  56. @51

    great flash back!

  57. It was frustrating watching Perkins the entire first half. 90% of his screens involve him shoving his forearm and/or body into the defender.

    I didn’t believe all the complaints until I just watched him for a few possessions. Garnett has taught him well.

  58. Lakers are playing very well. Sessions has brought another dimension and finally some impact from the pg position.

  59. Excellent 1st half .. Playing with a great deal of energy that, hopefully, we can sustain in the 2nd half .. Kobe not settling for jumpers, RS7 finally getting adjusted to ‘Playoff Basketball’ and Drew dominating in the paint .. Gotta win the 50/50 battle, keep the turnovers down and continue to have them shoot contested jumpers .. Come on Lakers, lets even this series up.

  60. Funky Chicken May 19, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    Critical third quarter. Need to maintain the lead without playing starters all 12 min. Gotta have something in reserve for a frenetic 4th.

  61. Chris Paul’s sweat during the game earlier on cause westbrook to slipped.

  62. Funky Chicken May 19, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    When was Pau’s last made jump shot?

  63. Thunder are denying Drew the ball. Lakers have to find a way to get it to him.

  64. Funky Chicken May 19, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    Perkins and Ibaka with 3 fouls each. Pound it inside!

    We absolutely need to get Bynum and Kobe some rest before the 4th without losing too much of this lead.

  65. Man I’m on edge. If just 2 of those threes fall at the beginning of the 3rd, and if Pau was generally attacking the rim or hitting J’s, we’d have a much more comfortable lead. I feel like we should be up by more right now with the way we’ve played.

  66. I agree, Kevin. We gotta get Drew the ball inside somehow. I don’t want these Kobe isos to bite us in the ass at the end. The Thunder are just hanging around. Why do I feel that we should have extended this lead in the 3rd so far?

  67. Pau doesn’t have it tonight. He just have to keep hustling and things will turn out good.

  68. bench pau now!

  69. That’s what kills me. Durant’s hit 2 garbage-play 3′s now. And just like that, they’re within striking distance. We have to go back through Bynum. Overdribbling from our perimeter players right now.

  70. Have to figure out a way to get the ball to Drew. The Thunder are doing a great job of denying him.

  71. Funky Chicken May 19, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    Not only is over dribbling leading to bad shots, but it is exhausting Kobe. The Thunder have to feel good about where they are. Totally outplayed, yet within a couple possessions and likely fresher going into crunch time.

  72. If I’m Brown, I put Sessions in as soon as the Thunder go small. He’s most effective when they have no shot-blocking in there.

    Kobe’s going all-out right now. He’s fighting for position, fighting through defenders, really clawing to get to the rim on every possession. Really impressive stuff.

  73. Kobe is eating Harden alive.

  74. Lovin’ the way Kobe is not settling. Continuing to attack off of the drive .. Bynum & Kobe have left some free throws short. Hopefully it’s not due to fatigue.

  75. Kobe time!

  76. Just another Henry Abbott Dagger!

  77. Pau is getting pushed around on offense. OKC bigs are doing a good job in the low post.

  78. They’re taking Bynum out of the game by fronting him. He does look a little low in energy, he’s not fighting it off well.

    LET THERE BE WORLD PEACE!

  79. Funky Chicken May 19, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    Why can’t Pau dominate Durant in the post?

  80. Metta playing so solid.

  81. We need to hit these FT’s

  82. ALL 5 starters in double figures. (Reminds me of an 80s showtime game.) Solid to have all pistons operating at some reasonable level.

  83. Shame on you if you if ever wanted Artest amnestied. The dude is the enforcer on this team.

  84. Like the rotation from MB. Plays Bynum (even though tired) while Kobe rests, now when Kobe comes back in, he’s giving Drew a breather.

    They’ve completely taken Bynum out of the game by fronting him. He’s got to do a better job of not letting the defender around him – on that last play, he had good position, but Ibaka got around him easily. And when we swing the ball there’s congestion on the weak side, not letting Bynum get the entry pass from that angle either.

  85. BIgs have to get open. Still lots of game left.

  86. Gotta be super efficient now.

  87. I might be a little in love with Jordan Hill!

    Those to misses by Kobe are looming large atm though!

  88. Bynum isn’t fighting for position. Hes winded Pau has to step up here.

  89. love KOBE and METTA

    leaders!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Fishhhhhhhhh .04 who?????????????????????????

  90. its crazy to think that we STILL haven’t played our best. We need to continue this effort and find a way to get something positive from pau and barnes (and still more from sessions as well) If we do, we can be unstoppable. It seems also like OKC realizes this…they don’t look as confident as they once did.

    and one more thing…World Peace has come alive in these past few games. It’s almost unbelievable. I absolutely love it.

  91. Can’t the clock click any faster?

  92. Pau needs to step up.

  93. KOBE WOW

  94. Funky Chicken May 19, 2012 at 9:50 pm

    Maybe it would be preferable for Pau to foul out. He’s being crazy passive again.

    The last 5 minutes have been atrocious offense. Settle the team down, and set some back screens for Bynum. We will not win this game with all this perimeter B.S.

  95. Laker bigs aren’t even trying to post up. Laker guards aren’t looking for them either. Where is Pau?

  96. Really should have gotten Bynum more rest. He isn’t fighting for position and the refs are allowing his defenders to ‘uproot’ him. This is going to be a tough finish for our guys.

  97. We are running absolutely nothing on offense. It’s give the ball to Kobe and stand around. And it’s killing us.

  98. Why aren’t we going into Bynum????????????

  99. awful possessions in crunch time…on repeat. GET THE BALL INSIDE !!

  100. awful possessions in crunch time…on repeat. GET THE BALL INSIDE !! Andrew needs to get position. We’re going to throw this all away if our offense is ‘run the clock down and jack up a three’ like it has been in the last 3 minutes of games. AWFUL. keep your cool, get the ball inside !!

  101. Perkins holds Pau and they get 3 point play, no call on Kobe …

  102. Kobe gets hammered, no call. Five seconds later, someone breathes on Durant, immediate whistle. Story of the series.

  103. Sessions on the bench

  104. OKC is scoring almost every trip down the court, not good.

  105. Wow! Durant blowing 2 from the charity stripe.

  106. Again, this is what happens when you let teams hang around.

  107. win or lose, all those jumpers in the last 5 minutes are gonna haunt me…

  108. I surprised there was no replay of perkins holding pau on westbrook 3 point play drive to hoop

  109. kehntangibles May 19, 2012 at 10:00 pm

    I swear, any Thunder fan I see complaining about officiating this game is gonna get facepunched

  110. Funky Chicken May 19, 2012 at 10:00 pm

    First shot in the paint in minutes. Simply giving this game away with long jumpers late in the clock.

    This collapse took place over a longer time period, but is still devastating. This game was totally under control and then we became 100% perimeter oriented.

  111. Metta will have 2 brilliant defensive plays

  112. How do the Lakers continue to put themselves in this position?

    Kerr or Miller was right. The Lakers had been up ~10 all game but it never felt “put away.”

    Need two stops RIGHT NOW.

  113. Watch Westbrook

  114. no more uncontested layups!

  115. Funky Chicken May 19, 2012 at 10:02 pm

    Nice knowing you Pau.

  116. @#*(#&$”*^%?

  117. screeeeeeeew

    this Citizen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  118. I wont be surprise if Pau get a death threat after this game

  119. Kobe gives up the ball to Pau who makes a terrible pass that is intercepted by Durant who hits a three.

  120. Gameover. Season over.

  121. Gasol is an idiot!!!!! I hope we get rid of you

  122. Oh Pau… that one will burn itself into my memory of you! How is that not at good enough shot Pau? a toddler step outside the bucket… damn…

  123. Good game.

    When the Lakers are eliminated (and they will, down 3-1), they can look back at the two games they gave away. Annoying habits throughout the season carried into the playoffs. When we give up games during regular season, it’s “Oh, it only counts in May.”

    Yeah.

  124. not a blowout like i said yesterday, but i was right…an okc win

  125. Kobe passed to a wide open Pau Gasol and he didn’t shoot. People on this board wonder why Kobe doesn’t trust… That is Pau Gasol right there. If you only saw one play that could sum up a guy, that would be it. And don’t get me wrong, I actually like the guy, but he shrinks.

    Bynum couldn’t establish position here late game and even when Kobe was on the bench they couldn’t get the ball inside to him.

  126. Get rid of pau he has been absolutely horrible minus two games in the playoffs, he just cost us the damn series with a cross court lob pass. First thing u learn in basketball never lob it across court,

  127. WHAT WAS PAU DOING??

  128. That missed box-out by Bynum also looms large over the crunch. Damn this series was there for the taking.

  129. I hope that was the last time Pau turns the ball over as a Laker.

  130. give it to the bigs!!!!!!!!!!

    screeeeeeeeeeew them forever. 2 lazy punks!!!!!!!!!

  131. kehntangibles May 19, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    Can’t blame Bynum too much about that. Ball took a bad bounce and… oh wait, he was SHOVED IN THE BACK WITH NO CALL

  132. Funky Chicken May 19, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    Passing of the guard. Best closer in the game wears #35, and the Laker team that takes the floor Monday night will look nothing like next year’s version.

    We gave away two of three games because we have only one dependable player, and down the stretch he is no longer dependable….

  133. Series over, courtesy of Pau Gasol. If he isn’t traded this off season, I’m no longer a fan

  134. Tonight I see it as Durant taking the torch from Kobe, the guy has the killer instinct, the skill set and motor to become the next great one.

  135. Another freakin choke job. Enjoy Cancun. Maybe next year, the team will realize that when the opportunity is there to blow a team out, they should perhaps seize it? I don’t know, just a freakin thought…

  136. Bynum should have gotten in a better stance, he had Perk high in the bucket, but let him push him down under the rim. He was hoping to outjump him at the rim, should have done his work before the ball hit the rim.

  137. @132

    SAME LAZY APPROACH!

  138. Pau Gasol the last 2 years has been Karl Malone in crunch time. He just takes up space – however, he does seem to feel his duty in life is to pass, regardless the situation or defense.

    This is why he will be the person in the ‘big three’ who will not be here next year.

  139. KenOak: exactly. What was Pau doing?

  140. I had a sick feeling throughout this entire game. The lead was never comfortable. This team can put up points so fast, and I never felt like we were making them truly uncomfortable like in Games 2 and 3.

    We have no one to blame but ourselves.

    Bynum: phenomenal first half, but he gave it all and then was gassed. He couldn’t fight off the fronting, repeatedly letting his man get around him even after he had established initial position.

    The team as a whole found no counters to the fronting of Bynum. No effective adjustments.

    Kobe: Such a pretty, efficient game for the first 3 quarters. His 3rd quarter was phenomenal, but again I feel like he gave it all and lost energy in the 4th. He was successful by getting to the line, and in the 4th he resorted entirely to fadeaways and long jumpers. Wore down.

    MWP: if we win, he’s the hero of this game. I have no problem with his game. But the defense on the last Durant iso … I understand the mindset, since Durant blows by him so well on isos. But you to make him a little uncomfortable. Durant walked into a practice shot.

    For those who said fatigue wouldn’t be a factor, I think you were wrong. You saw Bynum and Kobe fade down the stretch, and it wasn’t just missed shots, it was a lack of energy and fighting for the same shots they were getting in the 1st half.

  141. Pretty good effort. OKC is damned good. Maybe we’ll get ‘em next year.

    Pau Gasol played his last game as a Laker.

  142. Great game by the Lakers. They just didn’t have enough fire power or rest to win. Unfortunately, the playoff schedule was not in the Lakers favor, much like everything that has transpired this season.

    Proud of the team playing 4 NBA playoff games in 6 nights. As an older team with limited offense they just can’t play with a short rotation. MB was even more skittish than usual playing Bynum far too minutes. Playing Kobe and Pau too many minutes and even playing Blake too many minutes. When he could have easily gone back to Ramon and let him use his speed against the fatigued Thunder.

    Just hope the Lakers come back and extend the series for as long as possible. The problem with the Lakers playing a near perfect game twice and losing is that it gives OKC all the confidence in the world.

    Proud of the Lakers fighting as long as possible.

  143. Gasol was horrible in the 4th quarter. Too much Kobe in 4th killed the team. This game was won but the Lakers CHOKED!!!! STORY OF THE SEASON! Spurs will crush this stupid OKC team

  144. Missed the game live and only able to follow gamecast… but I’m actually kind of glad I did. From what you’re all describing, I’d rather my last memories of Pau as a Laker aren’t a gut-wrenching turnover/loss.

  145. Kobe was not selfish look at the clock on those shots. Pau really let us down tonight.

    Pau was NOT fighting for position. Pau was nonexsistent. KObe and Bynum held it down for 3 quarters. Then look at the 4th OKC bigs were pushing Lakers bigs around (i posted it like 5 times) and they weren’t fighting for position.

  146. This one is on Pau…..game changed when we were up 9 and Pau failed to go get the rebound and allowed Westbrook to get it and score. That started the momentum and then the last turnover was horrible. There was a reason for too much Kobe and that’s b/c the Thunder completely changed how they were playing Bynum. He was gassed and couldn’t figure out how to get position against them fronting him. Gasol nice knowing ya…..

  147. @149

    that is the history of the season!

  148. Let’s face it… Thunder didn’t start playing ’til late in the fourth. This is a better team than the Lakers. We had said this before, that the lakers would have to do all the right things to beat OKC, and in the fourth they didn’t do that, they let the Thunder take the win like it was theirs all along.

  149. Sessions should’ve been in the game too. He was playing great

  150. If you have TiVo go back and watch the 4th. kobe was trying to get the ball in the post. But Lakers bigs couldn’t get free for position. TOUGH LOSS

  151. I’m ready for Pau Gasol to go. I’ve seen enough. And I can’t stand hearing Charles Barkley time and time again talk about how they stopped going to Andrew Bynum. Did you see where Perkins was pushing out to?

  152. I hope people don’t harp on Kobe like Charles Barkley is right now, anyone who watched that game can see that Bynum and Pau couldn’t establish post position to even catch the ball. Nobody wanted to shoot the ball other than Kobe . . . He was forced to go 1 on 5 out there because his entire team put him on an island.

  153. This is a very tough game to swallow in defeat. The Lakers let a second game slip through their fingers. Give credit to the Thunder for making the plays to win this game, OKC was 10-15 66.7% in the fourth quarter.

    How many times did Kobe get the ball late in the shot clock and had to take a difficult attempt? The Thunder did a good job fronting Bynum making it hard for the Lakers to try and get him the ball. Lakers needed to do a better job a trying to get Drew the ball.
    4th quarter ended up being watch Kobe try and win the game and a lot of standing around. Kobe will take most of the blame for this loss but win as a team and lose as a team. This is a very disappointing loss.

  154. I sent an email to a buddy this AM saying I thought they would run out of gas in the 4th. It’s like when you stay up all night and you are OK until about 2 or 3 in the afternoon the next day.

    Pau made a bad play, but the Lakers lost for many reasons. OKC is a just a little more talented/younger than the Lakers.

  155. the Real History of pau Gasol

    2008 finals
    2010 – Mavs
    and thisssssssss?????????????????????????

  156. Burenvanmartin May 19, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    I think i am the only person who has the balls to say this but this was all Kobe. He took so many shots he had no business taking in the fourth. Jeez. And Westbrook is a killer.

  157. Hope the Lakers have enough heart to show up on Game 5 or else this will be a repeat of the Dallas game 4 last year.

  158. Gotta give it up to the Thunder. They earned it. Westbrook kept them in the game & Durant (after missing 2 free throws late) closed it with that dagger three. They never panicked, remained within striking distance and then put a nail in our coffin.

  159. Is it me, or does this entire series feel like one prolonged kick in the nuts?

    Bye Pau.

  160. 79, 88, 91, 95, 98

  161. Simply put, they are a better team. Period. The Lakers have played hard and fought for three straight games. Mental mistakes gave away two of them. That is basically the difference between these two teams. I can’t be too upset at the Lakers. Against this team their margin for error is basically zero. I just hope they keep fighting hard for the rest of this series.

  162. we had a great game plan and should have won the last 3 games, but for some reason, we abandon the game plan in the last 3 minutes of EVERY game, Why do we do this? Why doesn’t Mike Brown correct this? Why do we only take 16 – 25 footers in the final seconds of the shot clock only in the last 3 minutes of these games?

    The Thunder drive and go inside while we’re jacking up threes. It doesn’t make sense. Where is our bball IQ? I think it takes heart to actually gut out a win, and we seemingly don’t have it. When it gets down to the grit and gut of the game, we simply don’t have it anymore. this is why we should be up 3 -1 but instead we’re down 3 -1. We don’t have the heart or the guts to close out these important games, and it’s most evident with Gasol. It’s time to ship him out. I don’t care if we get less talent, I just want more heart, more guts, more desire, without fear.

  163. 160. Where on earth did you want Kobe to go with the ball? To Bynum who was basically forced out to the high post because he couldn’t stop Perkins from uprooting him? To Pau Gasol who wanted no part of stepping up once again this series? Or to Steve Blake/Ron Artest who are so anemic on offense that the Thunder players don’t even guard them due to a lack of respect? I mean seriously

  164. I agree with rr that you can’t pin this game on that play by Pau.

    That said, one element of the play not disucssed yet, was the fact that it was a two for 1 sitution as well. He turned down an elbow 9 footer with about 32 seconds left + the game tied. Can’t ask for better situation. What was he thinking?

  165. I dont blame Bryant, the fact is he took too many shots because no one else will STEP UP and the coach is scared to do anything at the end of games! Brown gets scared, team gets scared…

  166. Pau doesn’t really deserve to be scapegoated. The twin tower thing just doesn’t work on offense. The Lakers have the same basic problem they’ve had all season long: a couple guys are marginally streaky from range, at best. Everyone else has to live in the post to generate points. If teams pack it in and dare the Lakers to shoot, they’ll get burned once in a long while, otherwise the Lakers will have these nearly quarter long offensive stall-outs like they’ve been having for a good chunk of the season.

    I *almost* hope they just get blown out in the next game, because I can’t stand this roller coaster ride anymore. Two times in a series of having your hope crushed in the last few minutes due to the clock suddenly striking amateur hour is just too much.

  167. I don’t think it’s true that they are a better team…we win every 45 minutes, and they crush us in the final 3…It’s our own fault that we lose these games. If we stick to what’s been going good for 45, we win the final 3…it’s as simple as that. and it breaks my heart that these guys don’t understand that.

  168. ShotFromTheCorner May 19, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    This season was lost before it ever began.

    It was lost when Stern killed the Chris Paul trade.

    It was lost when Odom went to Dallas.

    It was lost when Fisher went to OKC.

    It was lost when Brown was named the head coach.

    An abysmal off-season led to this unbearable post-season.

  169. #aboslutely heartbreaking loss x2

    disastrous 4th qtr – Durant will be the best player in the game in 2 seasons if not sooner – He is a beast

    Lets see if the lakers have enough to at least get a game back at staples…”hey it could happen?”

  170. It is not that Kobe is not clutch, its just that everything was so forced and expected now..
    The team just stops completely playing efficient basketball in these close 4th quarter games, standing around and let Kobe do all the work. All year this has never worked, and yet that is how they always play.

  171. This is it for the Lakers. I said it before Kobe doesn’t have what it takes to win anymore. He doesn’t make the right plays and the end of the game and he just starts chucking up shots. People say well Bynum and pau didn’t get position. Well Kobe is paid to make plays for others, not just himself. He doesn’t do either when it matters the most. This is it for the Lakers. Sad day to be laker fan

  172. Mike Brown……fails to make in game adjustments…again.

    Westbrook is hot, no trap, Durant at the top, no trap.

    Bynum can’t get the ball, no change in strategy, Pau is sucking wind, no substitution.

    WTF

  173. @169

    i agree with that but we need people with heart!

    Not Pau gasol!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  174. Avidon,

    Indeed. I think people could accept defeat to this team, but blowing the late leads–twice–has made it tougher to deal with.

    And, no, 160, Buren, it was not all Kobe. Sam Presti brought Perkins in and assembled his front line with this series in mind, and Presti is a very smart man.

  175. Funky Chicken May 19, 2012 at 10:34 pm

    Post game interview: ball movement seemed to stop once Kobe came back in the game; why was that?

    Mike Brown: well, I need to go back and look at the tape.

    Is there any wonder this guy doesn’t make adjustments or call timeouts to address in-game problems?

  176. #173 – Joe…

    EXACTLY!

  177. @175

    very good points!

    also

    no more BARNESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

    some Ebanks will help!

  178. If we compare Laker BIG men to OKC BIG men in the 4th quarter, we easily see Bynum and Gasol were less effective. They completely went into a passive mode…not fighting to post up; not fighting for rebounds, being pushed out of position. On offense, instead of posting up, they ran around trying to set up picks which actually created more congestion in our offense because OKC knew they weren’t going to roll out. On defense, they were passive and not fight for position to rebound or protect the rim. They were totally outplayed by OKC BIG men. This is the reason we lost!

  179. Joel, so when Kobe gave that pass to Pau for an easy 9 foot jumper that he turned over 3 seconds later when the game was tied late in the game does it not count as making plays for others when it matters most? Cut the guy some slack, he is the ONLY guy who can create offense on this team. Most teams in the playoffs have two or three guys who can create (Thunder have 3 guys) (miami 3) (spurs have 3 or more) (Boston has 3), the teams that are losing this round of the playoffs have basically very few creators on offense when the games get close. That’s why you see teams like Philly, the Clippers and Lakers lose these games, it’s easy for good defensive teams to focus on the main offensive initiator.

  180. Lakers8884 is right on. Anyone claiming Kobe was being selfish and trying to take over was watching the game blindfolded. They fronted Bynum successfully and completely took him out of the game; it’s not that our perimeter players didn’t try to get him the ball. And Pau’s aggressive post-ups were few and far between.

    If there’s any criticism of Kobe, it’s that he went away from what was working (attacking the rim and getting to the FT line). But I won’t make that criticism, because it’s less likely a strategic error and more simple fatigue. Kobe gave it all in the 3rd and Funky called it. We were going all out when the Thunder were just hanging around with garbage, scramble-play 3′s.

    Maybe this is funny come from a Lakers fan, but to me, the Thunder are skating by on pure talent. There’s simply a very good chance that 1 of their 3 perimeter players will be effective at any given moment in time. Their passing is not impressive. Their decision-making isn’t anything special. Scott Brooks makes good adjustments with locations/angles of pick and rolls, but I don’t think he’s installed any particularly great system. You compare them to the Spurs, and it’s a night and day difference. But sometimes a minimalist approach is best, I guess. Clearly, it’s working for them.

  181. If you as a father give your child a expensive toy, expect him to break it. Jimmy broke this team.
    Worst bench in the league
    Worts PG in the league
    Worst coach in the league
    Broken!
    Never see Pau in Laker uniform at staples. 2nd year in a row of weak, mindless, crap play for $18 million a season.
    Broken Dr. Buss hope your proud as with a fading star and bad FO you have become a avarage team. Nice job. Blow it up!

  182. jro,

    The first rule of great teams is they don’t beat themselves. If you are beating yourself more often than the other team is beating itself, then they are the better team. In this case OKC is just better.

  183. For everyone saying that we abandoned the game plan please wake up. OKC understands the game plan as well. You think they’re going to just allow us to feed the ball easily in the post down the stretch?

    Still can’t believe we lost this game. You could feel it slipping away. I’m going to throw a party the day Pau Gasol gets traded.

  184. #173…Kobe actually did pass to Pau and what happened with that? Had he passed to Bynum way out in no man’s land where he allowed Perkins to shove him, what do you think would have happened with that?

    Dude is 33 years old, playing back to back nights and pouring in over 30 points each night and you’re pinning this loss on him? If Bynum were anywhere near as beastly as he thinks he is, he’d be putting up Shaq numbers…instead he’s putting up Vlade Divac numbers. No way man…this has nothing to do with Kobe not having what it takes, this has to do with Kobe having to work himself to exhaustion while almost no one else on the team consistently steps up and then just goes to him at the end of the shot clock to bail them out repeatedly on offense. This team needs a real dead-eye shooter. They’ve needed one for a long time.

  185. JRO, While it is true the Lakers have outplayed OKC most of games 2 and 4, OKC won because they are the better team. The better teams turn it on in crunch time and plays better, does not make mental mistakes, they trust each other. That is not the Lakers this year, they just are not a championship team anymore and have not been in the last 2 years.

  186. Pau is one of my favorite players but man he messed up tonight. Who is taking that contract? Too many times Pau was getting pushed off the block with ease and not getting post position. Bynum and KObe held down the fort for 3 quarters. Pau had to bring Lakers home and he couldn’t. Game 2 TO on Kobe, Game 4 on Pau.

    Thunder still haven’t showed me there a better team and that makes these losses worse. Lakers have controlled this series. Thunder are not a better team. Spurs will have their way with them.

  187. How do you assemble a post team with no shooters

    People say work inside out..huh?

    Who the hell is the out?

  188. Rooting for the Lakers is like dating a super hot Chick.

    They drive you crazy, they drive you mad, they break your heart, yet you come back for more.

    You’ll say,” you’ll you never want to see them again”. Yet one look, your all the way hooked.

    Win or lose I still love me my Lakers.

    Good night all. Don’t drink too much.

  189. looking forward to mediocrity for the next 5 years while we watch okc making it to wcf for years to come…oh joy.

  190. Another crap game from the best center in the WNBA. 2 for 13 Andrew. Pau and Andrew the two 7 foot girls.

    This franchise will take years to be back on top. Old, overrated, poor management, poor coaching, poor scouting.

    Where is tbe genius who touted Andrew the next superstar? Just a weak effort by weak players.

  191. JOE, i agree that OKC is a better team, but in those games, we were the better team, and it was obvious. When OKC turned it on though, we turned it off, and this has everything to do, i think, with heart, guts, and trust, like you said.

    i think its more about us failing in crunch time because of certain players’ inabilities (aka Gasol’s geart) than OKC’s turning it on.

    Heart would have been Gasol taking that open shot. Instead, he succumbs to fear and turns it over.

  192. Pau absolutely deserves the blame, it makes no sense to pass AWAY from the rim when you’re wiiiide open and 5 feet from the hoop.
    Kobe forced too many shots down the stretch. Frustrating loss.

  193. Game 2, should have won. Tonight, should have won. This series could have easily been Lakers up 3-1 going to OKC.

    Last year, I believed the Lakers could have pulled off a comeback all the way until the final buzzer of Game 4 against Dallas. This year is no different.

    Gasol needs to get back into 2009 form. That was a wide open jump shot that he turned into a game-breaking turnover.

  194. OKC is the better team, but still, we have been in control of these games. They had the better record, better seed, etc. Still tho, we outplayed them for 45 minutes in 2 of these 3 losses. I just think that if we had the heart (and a better coach) we would have been able to finish off these games successfully. Instead, we crumble.

  195. unless and until KB24 realizes that he can’t dribble anymore, he will turn the ball over against quicker playoff guards leading to dunks on the other end, leading to losses. How many times have we seen momentum shifts because he is trying to do too much with the basketball? And it was obvious that Bynum needed a blow. Just a horrible job of getting the big guy rest for energy in the last 5 minutes. Of course, despite all that, this loss is mostly on Pau. So disappointed in him.

  196. Heartbreaking, but totally unsurprising. This team never felt like it had an identity this year, and if anything, elevated their play in Games 2-4. They just don’t have the juice to play all four quarters night in and night out anymore.

    Could be a tough road ahead, as despite all of the “Bye Gasol” references, he is not an easy trade for comparable value, what with the big contract.

    Also, unclear is whether Bynum is content to be a second wheel, and of course, the line-up has a lot of holes.

    We have been blessed, but realistically, this is the end of an era.

  197. 2 great games for kobe and drew in a row. 2 bad games for Pau. Only a contender takes him on I see none out there. Series isn’t over but he hasn’t been good outside of three games this playoffs.

  198. The two 7-footers only work if they have knock down outside shooters!

    The Lakers lost by three but I don’t count Durant’s three I count the three that Fisher hit late in the 4th as the one that beat us!

    Sessions and Jordan should have gotten back in the game, Westbrook and Durant adjusted to what the Lakers were doing in the 4th because the Lakers fed them a steady diet of the same thing.

    In a shortened season the teams that have the same coach and stays healthy are the ones that are standing at the end.

    The Lakers were screwed when Jackson retired before the lockout. The Lakers were in this exact same position during the last lockout, they hired Tomjanovich and he was fired half way through the season. Consequently, the Spurs won their first championship that year with the foundation of this years team.

    OKC only had to incorporate Fisher into their team chemistry.

  199. The fatigue factor reared it’s ugly head. The Show was outscored 32-20 in the 4th. Durant and Westbrook were terrific. The Lakers simply ran out of gas. They went with a 7 man rotation for the most part as Barnes played less than 5 minutes. But the one play I will second guess is the late turnover by Pau. Kobe set him up nicely…Pau was in perfect position to take it strong to the hole. He’s got to be aggressive there. The saddest words of tongue and pen are these, my friend: “It might have been.”

  200. @183 Could be worse, could have DelNegro instead of MB……

  201. #201.

    Yeah, the series isn’t *literally* over…but c’mon…it’s over.

  202. Funky Chicken May 19, 2012 at 11:05 pm

    The way you beat a defense that fronts the low post is to swing the ball, with purpose, around the perimeter, and attack that defender from the back side. For some inexplicable reason, the Lakers don’t seem to understand this.

  203. Thunder deserved the victory. It takes only few seconds for them to score while the Lakers get on this standing around and looking for Kobe. Nobody wants to shoot and wait for the last second to Kobe.

    From the get go, Gasol was the weakest link together with his clueless Coach. That was a bad loss with Kobe leading the showboating. Even if they win three-in-a-row, I personally do not have any faith with this team who are poor in closing the game. I don’t think they have any iota of beating San Antonio. For the first time, we lost faith with our team. Lakers has been this kind of team ever since Brown took over. He tires his players in the 4th Q with a videographer mentality of fast forward or rewind plays but has no control of the actual game.

  204. We all know this is true: any game in which the Lakers do not get to shoot at least 15 more free throws than the opponent is blatant cheating by Stern’s henchmen. So sick of it.

  205. Yes, in some sense, Pau is being scapegoated for a moment. And it’s true that Kobe shot poorly in the 4th which led to the collapse. But if you’re willing to live by the Kobe and his 38 points, you also have to be willing to die by him and the 12-28. I’d rather have the sin of overaggression, of wanting it too much, than shrinking from the moment. Isn’t that one of the things we tout Kobe for above Lebron… and in this case, Pau?

    What I saw in last year’s playoffs was a second option who wasn’t, and this year, a third option who’s totally not worth $20 mil a year. If anything, that’s what I’m going to blame Pau for.

  206. I guess game 2 and game 4 is us getting what we deserve. For stealing game 3 vs boston and game 4 vs orlando. Those were the good times these are far from it.

    Kobe and Pau next year: $45 mil. Whooo

  207. @191
    @194

    great points!

  208. We’ll see what this Laker team is made of!!!

    One can always say that Kobe shoots too much, but one will never be able to say that Kobe was afraid to be the goat. One can never be the hero unless they are willing to be the goat.

    Let’s go Lakers!

  209. It is an incredibly odd feeling watching a Lakers team (that features Kobe) without a killer instinct.

    What a waste of a great defensive game plan by Mike Brown. Lakers offense went way too Kobe centric again in the fourth quarter.

    I have not read any posts in this thread because I’m frustrated enough. But the Lakers can and are in this series. They’ve played unbelievably well for 42 minutes in game 2 and in game 4.

  210. Reality is for the past 2 playoff years Pau has been weak, scared and acted like a guy who played his career in Memphis.

    He had 4 points and 5 rebounds today in 40 minutes! For $19 million a year?

    One guy can’t beat 5. Pau, Barnes, Blake, Sessions and Brown must go. Must!

  211. When you have guards that can’t shoot the paint gets clogged, when games get tight somebody has to make shots, we have one shot maker who happens to be old and has dead fingers on his hands….

  212. Emotions have died down and blame hat is off. Here are a few numbers.

    Lakers up 11. kobe checked in Thunder end game on 25-11 run. I’m sure the back to back had something to do with Lakers slowing down at the end.

    Kobe in 4th vs OKC 7-25 (28%). VS Den 16-39 (41%). Total 23-64 (35%).

    Sessions +11 Westbrook +9 this game.

    Lakers missed 9 FT’s (21-29) missed 1 game 3. 41-42

    Pau has been a set up guy all year. His instincts were to pass because he’s been doing it all year. Everyone deserves blame sure does suck to lose though.

  213. The only Lakers player to blame for not getting the ball down low into Drew in the 4th quarter is Drew himself. He let Perkins and Collison front him too easily. There was no effort to get in front of them. None. Zero. Zip. Zilch. So don’t blame Kobe/Pau/Blake for “going away from the game plan”. Drew allowed himself to be removed from the equation late in the game.

  214. Snoopy makes good points about Okc skating by. Westbrook misses 1 or 2 shots, it might be a different story.

    That being said, you have to wonder how Pau can play that scared. But you also have to wonder how kobe still thinks, after all these years, that he can make every shot in the 4q. Yes, Okc was fronting, but Kobe was basically running the offense to the point Blake ignored mwp on a couple plays. Bynum was openly pouting when he did not get the ball (incredible when you think about it) and made no real effort to affect the game by rebounding on the offensive glass. Paus unforgiveable error was the cherry on top. It never should have got to that.

    So I see a team in crunch time (!) where no one is really working together. Mwp is probably the one guy trying to keep it together by playing hard and looking for a way to contribute.

    There is no question that if we had a dependable # 2, Kobe would not feel like he had to do all the work, but woukd Kobe ever defer to # 2? Or would # 2 have to take it from Kobe? No question it’s a fine line to walk, but you have to find a way to get your teammates involved even if they need a little help getting there.