Preview and Chat: The Oklahoma City Thunder

Phillip Barnett —  March 5, 2013

Records: Lakers 30-30 (9th in the West), Thunder 43-16 (2th in the West)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 107.7 (8th in the NBA), Thunder 112.8 (1st in the NBA)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 106.4 (16th in the NBA), Thunder 102.9 (8th in the NBA)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace, Earl Clark, Dwight Howard
Thunder: Russell Westbroo, Thabo Sefolosha, Kevin Durant, Serge Ibaka, Kendrick Perkins
Injuries: Lakers: Pau Gasol (out), Jordan Hill (out for the season); Thunder: None

Thunder Blogs: Make sure you’re keeping up with Daily Thunder for all of your OKC news.

Keys to the Game: Coming into tonight’s match up against the Thunder, it’s hard to expect the Lakers to record only the fifth win for a road team in Oklahoma City this year. The Thunder have been nearly unbeatable at home — and in two of the three games this season — have been much better than the Lakers on the floor. It took a rough shooting night from both Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant (the combined for 33 percent from the field) and six Lakers to score in double figures to squeak out a win at home. However, should the Lakers win tonight, it would be a humungous boost in their quest for a playoff spot. They’ve been getting some help from the other teams vying for the last two spots out west (thanks, Utah!) and they’ve been helping themselves with their 5-1 record since the All-Star break. A loss to the Thunder tonight wouldn’t be devastating, but they really could use a big win. Let’s take a look at some of the factors that will need to go in the Lakers direction tonight for another win against OKC.

One of the reasons that the Lakers were so successful against the Thunder in their last meeting was because of the less than stellar performance from Russell Westbrook. Russ didn’t just shoot six-for-22 from the field, but he took myriad terrible shots while he tried to find his rhythm that essentially pushed him further away from his groove with each attempt. He took a lot of shots that we aren’t used to seeing Russ take — the two post-up fade aways over Nash that both missed badly immediately come to mind. Westbrook was also taking a lot of mid-to-long range jump shots early on, which helped the Lakers tremendously. Westbrook is one of those guys who, if he finds an early rhythm, he’s damn near impossible to contain. Fortunately, the Lakers were able to minimize their turnovers (only 13) and didn’t take too many long range shots. And when they did (four of the five transition layups Westbrook attempted were a result of a missed three pointer or a turnover), the Lakers were able to get back in transition and contest his shots at the rim. If you take a look at Westbrook’s shot chart, it’s exactly what you want to see. Lots of medium and mid-ranged jump shots and more misses than makes around the rim. A lot of this can be attributed to Westbrook’s poor shot selection, but the Lakers, namely Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol, did a great job of protecting the rim as he tried to get buckets in the paint.

Westbrook Shot Chart

The Lakers are also going to need a huge contribution off the bench if they’re going to be successful in Oklahoma City. In each of the last two games against the Thunder, the Lakers bench has outplayed the Thunder bench. On January 11, Kevin Martin scored 15 points, but was neutralized by Antwan Jamison’s 19 points and 10 rebounds off the bench. In the Lakers win, Pau Gasol and Jamison combined for 28 points on 11-for-16 shooting. According to, the efficiency differential in each of those games was a positive one for the Lakers bench (+19 in the loss, +6 in the win). Tonight, the Lakers bench will be without Pau Gasol, Jordan Hill (injured) or Earl Clark (starting), so it’s going to be essential for Jamison to step up and be the lone Lakers big off the bench. It’ll also be essential for Jodie Meeks and Steve Blake to knock down the open shots that they’ll likely receive. Meeks, Jamison and Blake have played relatively well since the All-Star Break, they’ll have to continue trending up if the Lakers are going to pull out a win tonight.

What might be the most important aspect to tonight’s match up will be how the Lakers defend Kevin Durant. In the previous match up, Earl Clark and Ron Artest split time as the primary defender on Durant with shocking results. Clark had a much better night guarding the league’s defending scoring champ, holding him to seven points on 3-for-11 shooting. When Ron got the assignment? Durant did most of his heavy lifting hitting five of 10 shots for 11 points. The staggering difference between the two lies in Ron’s declining foot speed and the added length with Clark as the defender. Clark did a great job of running Durant off of his spots, going over screens and closing out on jump shots (the one three that Durant did make, Clark got sucked in on a Westbrook drive). With Ron guarding Durant, Scott Brooks had Durant play off the ball a lot more and ran him through a series of screen. Down the stretch, Brooks didn’t run Durant much, but put Ron and Earl in off-ball screen situations to create the favorable match up for Durant.

Where you can watch: 6:30pm start time on TNT. Also listen on ESPN Radio 710AM.


Phillip Barnett


178 responses to Preview and Chat: The Oklahoma City Thunder

  1. Not sure the best way for Metta to play KD once he has the ball. The second he gets close to him it’s a blow by.

  2. Always a good thing to measure yourself against the best. Lakers have been playing better lately, now we’ll get an opportunity to see how far they’ve come. If this Laker-Thunder game isn’t big enough, the Kobe-Ibaka subplot will spice it up just a bit more. Hopefully D. Fish will get some run also.

    It’s going to be tough, beating the Thunder on the road no question, but that’s why they play the games.

  3. Just found out that Joey Crawford’s crew is working the game tonight. Is that stiff assigned to every one of our games?! It’s things like this that make me believe in all the NBA conspiracies…

  4. Rusty Shackleford March 5, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    Just let Joey Crawford’s crew officiate the entire series if the Lakers draw San Antonio in the first round of the playoffs.

    That also means Kobe will need to be really careful to not pick up any more tech’s in tonight’s game as well.

    I’m still not used to looking at the starting lineups to these Lakers games and thinking, “The Lakers are going to struggle with their size up front.”

  5. Kobe Alert: KB racked up his 409th thirty point game against the Hawks. In my never ending quest to put this in perspective for you, the Clippers have had 357 thirty point games for all players combined since they moved to LA in 1985 (use that one on a Flippers fan – preferably a Laker turncoat variety). Kobes moved by John H and took over 5th place in FGAs, and is now pursuing Elvin in both that category and the FGs made category where KB is in 7th. Kobe needs 4 Def Rebs to move by Larry Nance for 63rd. He is now within 23 dimes of Nick Van Excel for 33rd there (in case I have not mentioned it lately – I was not a big NVE fan). KB has now closed to within 296 points of #13.

  6. Cool stats Robert

  7. Man, 296 away from #13? 2 more seasons he might surpass Jordan or Malone in the rankings.


  8. So Ibaka, literally, assaults an individual on the court and gets away with nothing more than a fine that’s the equivalent to pennies for him. WOW (and that’s not in reference to D-Wade’s lame AkA).

    As far as tonight’s match up is concerned, the only shot we’ll have at victory is if we’re able to control the pace. Particularly in their ‘college like atmosphere’ of a gym. Keeping the turnovers down and smart shot selection will definitely assist us in regards to getting back on D with regularity. Also, although I highly doubt that it will be administered, I wouldn’t mind if we took a page out of the Clippers Playbook (damn it hurt for me to type that) and zone up against them during certain junctures of the game.

    Against all odds, lets see if we can steal one tonight.

  9. Joey Crawford tends to favor the away team, so that actually may be a good thing that he is doing the game.

  10. World Peace ought to punch Ibaka in the balls and see if he only gets a fine…

  11. Robert: you’re better than me at this but I think you mean #4 not #13.

    Bench has been big lately hope they can continue. Need a efficient game from Metta and Clark to show up. He hasn’t been the same guy since the foot injury surfaced.

  12. No Joey Crawford please, i hate when he make himself the center of attention on a game im still mad about that ” blocked” foul against meeks early in the season and his stupid little hops while calling it,cost us the game. Tough game tonight all i am going to say is all about tempo, tempo, tempo against the Thunder, we are really going to miss Pau for this one. If the Lakers pull this one off this could be a humongous a momentun builder. If not and they play well and keep it close i could be fine with that too, the last thing this team needs is a momentum killing blowout loss. Well see…

  13. Take care of the ball and do not take bad shots. The turnovers are bad enough, but those bad shots that lead to breaks the other way, those are killers.

  14. Robert was referring to Wilt’s uni number with the 13.

  15. rr: can’t believe I didn’t catch that. At Kobe’s current pace he should get there between 4 and 13 games.

  16. Thunder favored by only 8. Seems low for a team that only list 4 games at home. Hope Kobe makes a 8 point play to stick it to Vegas.

  17. OKC is just a stop on the road to the post-season…GAME TIME!

  18. Tough game tonight all i am going to say is all about tempo, tempo, tempo

    Got a post that’s been stuck in moderation for an hour and a half agreeing with your premise, Fern. Tempo is definitely one of the keys to recording a victory tonight.

  19. Saw this on Lakers Nation tweet: This is the 6th time that Joey Crawford will ref a Lakers time. They’re 0-5 in the previous five

  20. Play tough and take care of the ball Lakers. No cute stuff with the basketball Nash. Let’s go Lakers!!

  21. Joey Crawford tonight eh? Just peachy.

  22. Not the start i was looking for…

  23. May be time to plug the plug on the clark experiment.

  24. Looks like a retired senior team playing a all star pro team so far,

  25. Ok bench the starter to rest for tomorrow. Mismatch. Now Kobe is out. Done. Game over.

  26. Annnd Kobe is hurt…

  27. This is no good

  28. This is not good

  29. If you don’t play Clark…you play? He has done no worse than MWP or Jamison and this is his first year getting extended playing time.

    No Kobe…sigh!

    Let’s see if Dwight Howard and Nash know how to step up and be competitive enough to will the team to a win.

    Kobe’s out so let’s see what this team can do, since everyone wants to say that he shoots too much.

  30. Wow Ken really? I hope your joking

  31. Dwight is terrible on offense, terrible,

  32. Could there have been a worse start for the Lakers? Hope you’re okay Kobe…

  33. Things not looking good for the Lakers as Kobe heads to the locker room holding his right arm with trainer Gary Vitti.

  34. 0 touches for Howard? How about that dunk attemp

  35. Lakers look scared, inexcusable

  36. And Howard looks like he got hurt too. Did someone put a curse on the team tonight?

  37. Nash o for 4 already. Are they going to get embarrassed again on nation TV?

    Yep. 4 points in 5 minutes. Nice.

  38. Kobe has an ulnar nerve contusion of his right arm and is questionable to return.

  39. Despite everything is a 6 point game.

  40. It’ll be tough for Kobe to sit out extended time after the hoopla about Dwight’s playing through pain.

  41. Yup game is over. We had trouble beating teams with kobe and now hes questionable to return? Lets get ready for the next game.

    Edit:And just when I finish posting, he comes back…

  42. Kobe will be back! Lakers need to remain in contact with the Thunders till then.

  43. For real, some people here are even Lakers fans?A disastrous start and the team is only 5 points back and people still whinning And Kobe is back on the bench so chew on that too.

  44. How is Peach in the NBA. Hide your kids when he shoots.

  45. Fern OKC is missing wide open shots. No defense. I hope I am wrong but I just feel Lakers are overmatched. Nothing from Dwight, nothing again from Metta and nothing from Nash. Hoping hoping hoping.

  46. Jodie Meeks needs to be fined everytime he put the ball on the floor.

  47. Fern

    35 plus point quarter?


  48. Well they missing shots ok its on the Lakers to capitalize on that and as i mentioned earlier this is the game we are really to miss Pau OKC has the front line ours is decimated, we have Howard and nothing else

  49. That one man fast break by Fisher proves that it has nothing to do with age, and nothing to do with speed. It must be our uniforms that make people slower. Did we change fabrics in the last 2 years?

  50. Best opening quarter of the year OKC. Nice effort Lakers. 150 point game? Oh well. Nice defensive scheme.

  51. The Thunder average 15.8 turnovers per game had no turnovers in the first quarter, Lakers had 6.

  52. Yeah the defense is been very bad i concede that but the Lakers scored 28 points after scoring only 4 on ft in the first 6 minutes, and they down by nine i dont give up after one quarter nor start calling the game over, OKC defense have been atrocious too, the Lakers would be in the hight 30s too if they didnt miss all those shots at the beggining

  53. can someone give a link for online streaming

  54. What in the world, our D is just awful…where is the competitive fire, execution, coaching adjustments???

  55. If we lose this game i blame the Joey Crawford curse/jinx

  56. Gosh Dwight has no moves.

  57. May be time to plug the plug on the clark experiment.

    Not just yet Kev. Not just yet.

  58. Rusty Shackleford March 5, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    It’s kind of amazing they aren’t down 30 already. This weird 2nd unit of OKC’s just pushed the lead to 14. Unless they stop the bleeding now that lead will grow when the starters come back in.

  59. And there is Crawford getting the attention to himself

  60. A line up of Dwight, Kobe, Meeks, Blake and Nash.


  61. Trade Nash for Fisher 0 for 6 fish 2 for 2.

    Steve disappears in big games it seems.

    Looks not good tonight.

  62. Where is the damn pride, so frustrating

  63. Kobe’s will is amazing. He never gives up. Now if he can get some help from the coaches lakers can make a game of this.

  64. He is not of this Earth

  65. Robert,
    just had a chance to read your Kobe Alert for this game – Flipper funny today! (amazing stat)

  66. Kobe with back to back 3s, trying to keep the Lakers in the same zip code as the Thunder.

  67. Dwight-Nash: 1-12 theres the difference, i dont see why people are whinning about Clark he sure is a scrub with those 12 points and shooting 50% from the field, boy he sure sucks

  68. Kobe Bean Bryant!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Pau looks like he’s mad that he can’t help Kobe. This is the most rest that Pau has had in years. I can’t wait to see what he can do when he gets conditioned.

  69. Despite those two 3’s, Kobe is really laboring out there. Gotta get something from Dwight and Nash.

  70. Mike D ball.

    70 point half.

  71. Chearn –
    `This is the most rest that Pau has had in years. I can’t wait to see what he can do when he gets conditioned.´
    I´ve been pondering the same thing

  72. It just pisses me off that here Kobe laboring and our other “stars” don’t/won’t step up.

  73. Lakers D is abhorrent tonight, it’s on nights like this that I don’t understand why the Lakers never play a zone, on nights like this it old help you get in a groove.

  74. Nash hit a shot finally, about Dwight he is fighting the entire OKC frontline by himself. This is where we miss Pau

  75. Joe you cant play a zone against OKC because you would get obliterated from downtown.

  76. That is the second time that ref has called an obvious flop a foul, so why wouldn’t players flop – the rare chance that they get fined 0.01% of their salary?

  77. Dwight is a very very emotional player and far too often this season has let his emotions get the best of him. It hurts his play and his teams play. He has no energy tonight. And there’s been a few games like this.

    The same defensive breakdowns keep happening. I don’t understand how you can go over that day after day in film study and it keep happening.

  78. 71 points at the HALF, pathetic.

    Ken, call Mike Brown now. He might need a job as an assistant coach on defense. LOL

  79. Rusty Shackleford March 5, 2013 at 8:01 pm

    Do you think they are going to talk about defense during halftime?

  80. Tos at the end of the quarter killed the Lakers,stupid ones to boot. Somebody else better step up on the second half Kobe cant do it alone on this one, Howard and Nash have been the main culprits of the game.

  81. Tonight you see the lack of understands of the FO of today’s game. Nash is a hole on defense and Metta is useless on both ends. A old, slow team in a athletic young league.

    Sorry but it’s the truth and Magic was spot on. 70 points? I called this one in the 1st 3 minutes. 25 point lise and 145 point game.

    It’s called a reality check Laker fans. They are a 8th place team. Maybe?

  82. It just floors me that supposed superstars like Nash and Howard can disappear in big games against good teams. Do they need to change their shorts at half because they pissed themselves?

  83. It is not like OKC has a great system. They just have guys who can beat us on the dribble whenever they want, when they want, however they want. And we are too old and slow to stop them. Simple as that. The one team OKC can’t beat off the dribble is the Heat and we see that they can’t beat them. Against us they can do whatever they want. OKC is going to the finals.

  84. @Fern – right now OKC is shooting 52% in this game. They are actually a mid-level 3 point shooting team averaged out but very good at home where they shoot 39%, btw the worst team shoots 33% this season. A difference of less than 1 make per 10 shots. Would you zone Wasington that shoots 36%?

    Bottom line the 3 is a lower percentage shot or them so if you can coax them to take them, I’ll take my chances with that rather than giving them lay ups, dunks and open 12 footers at over 50%.

  85. 71 points, one of the worst defensive halfs by the Lakers. OKC with only 1 turnover, LA with 11 for 13 points. Hopefully Howard and Nash will have a better second half.

  86. Rusty Shackleford March 5, 2013 at 8:11 pm

    I hope OKC’s game plan for the 2nd half is Kendrick Perkins 15-footers.

  87. No one should be complaining about the offense. I claimed before the game we needed other people to step up besides Kobe, but this disaster is about poor almost non existent defense. It is so bad it is disturbing to watch. How about this, lets not allow them to score over 70 points next half and maybe we can make a game out of it.

  88. Can’t comprehend why we continue to try and guard Durant and Westbrook with single coverage. Fact is, Kobe can’t defend Westbrook and neither Ron, nor my boy E. Clark can guard my man Durant. D’Antoni and his staff are going to have to try and give them different looks in the 2nd half. Like I mentioned earlier in my 1st post of the evening, zone them up. Or send an additional defender at the two of them; but change it up.

  89. Glove

    Signing Nash was a huge mistake. Lakers needed youth and speed at PG. They got grand Pa and a big hole on D instead. Real Scouts usually beat 5 year old films watched by a horse trainer.

    Lakers will never beat this team in a million years in a 7 game series. Not even close talent wise.

  90. recap

    trade deadline passes management makes no moves claiming all the lakers needed was time.

    the last thing old teams need is more time.

    i hope they dont make the playoffs…this season has been bad need to add a sweep to the pain.

  91. Joe, OKC as a team could be in the middle of the pack on 3s but Durant, Westbrook and Martin are not and sefolosha can hit them too you put a zone with any of those on the floor and at least one of them is on the floor at all times and you are in a world of hurt. The main problem in my opinion is that Howard is not sure to help on the penetration or stay on his man. Thats when not having another big available is killing us i been harping about it all day, this is the game were we would miss Pau or even Jordan Hill, our frontline is decimated, people tend to forget that

  92. The main thing is that they are not triying to slow RW farther away from the basket most of the time nobody is challenging him until he is about the 3 point line, thats suicide basically

  93. Fern they were a losing team with a WORSE record with those two guys!

  94. Dont get why AJ started hje 2nd half after Clark played pretty solid the 1st, thats a head scratcher.

  95. @ Fern – who do you think shoots all their 3s to make up that percentage? It’s not like Ibaka is launching them. A very good 3 point shooter shoots 36-39% from 3. Westbrook is a career 30% shooter from 3 and shoots 34% this year. Durant is the one guy you do have to keep close to as he is shooting 42% this year.

  96. Dwight is not playing hard. He’s totally going through the motions.

  97. Oh so the Lakers problem were Pau and Jordan Hill fault, the team troubles were deeper than that Hill played pretty solid coming off the bench and Pau was playing some if his best basketball of the season when he got hurt explain to me how having them hurt the team.

  98. Keep the cursing out of the comments, please. I don’t care if you stick an asterisk in the middle of your word. Thank you.

  99. Fern you just found the new name for Mike D!


  100. Not my point Fern. They lost with Pau because the coach had no clue how to use him and Clark replaced Hill with has been a wash. wrong people with the wrong coach was my point. League now is young and quick. Lakers are not either. My point.

  101. The Lakers made a push and the tos rear their ugly head again they need to slow this game down, like earlier in the quar

  102. I’m pissed, down only by 6 and another turnover. Just like that we’re down again by double digits.

    I’m gonna crash my keyboard once again.

  103. Nice phantom foul on Westbrook’s baseline drive. Thanks, ref… the guy needs your help too?

  104. Kobe dropping 40 tonight may not even be enough to beat the Thunder.

  105. It doesn’t help that Kobe drives the lane and gets butchered, no call. If that was Lebron, it would have been a flagrant 6 on the opponent. And then that punk Westbrook barely gets touched and he goes to the line. Smh

  106. The thing is this 13-5 run started when Pau started playing better, and he is sorely missed against tall teams like this one same as Hill and his rebounding, this team never been able to have all its parts togheter at the same time.

  107. Nt re funny comments.

    1. AARP bowl

    2. OKC attaching Nash.

    3. Dwight not even in the game this half.

    Ahhhh funny stuff. Why do I feel like crying though.

  108. Are you kidding me?! We’re only down by 8.

  109. Despite the disastrous start the team is within striking distance. Could be a good ending the Lakers should have one or two runs in them they need to contain Russell

  110. Somehow the Lakers are only down by 8 after three quarters, they might be able to to steal this game, might not be a good chance but they have a chance.

  111. Fern,

    exactly. And yes they really miss Pau tonight. Still kind of hanging in, and despite little offence from Dwight, he does have one of the better +/-‘s so he is still providing some value.

  112. It is remarkable were only down 8 considering we gave up 70 plus points in the first half.

    Nash is on Mamba mode right now.

  113. Needs more of Dwight coming off the bench so he can continue looking like a fool.

  114. I dont know whats to cry about trailing by 8th entering the 4th after trailing earlier in the third by 18

  115. Get Dwight out in there, seriously. DAMN!

  116. I like Greg Anthony. Makes very good points and a lot less annoying than Steve Kerr.

  117. Fisher appears better then all 4 current Lakers point guards. For sure better on defense then Nash. Never taught I would say that.

  118. Oh yea Perkins is better then Fright Howard. What a stiff he is. Butcher comes to my mind.

  119. I like to applaud Mr. Future Franchise Dwight “The Beast” Howard on a dominating performance tonight. 1-7 from the field, 4-8 from the FT line, 6 points, and 5 fouls. Oh yea, he can rebound, 13 rebounds. Congrats Mr. Howard, thank you for showing up each game.

  120. Kobe is getting zero fouls calls.

  121. Kevin, are you surprised? It’s ridiculous.

    And now we can’t stop Jim Jackson or Bobby Jackson or whoever this Jackson stiff is. Really?

  122. I would also like to congratulate the Lakers as a team for forcing a whopping 1 turnover on OKC. 1, is much better than 0! Thanks guys.

  123. Making a run with Dwight and Nash on the bench.

    Do you get mulligans in off season signings?

    Just asking.

  124. I’m laughing so hard right now.

  125. In every Lakers loss there in the stiff that suddenly looks like a superstar, but they are still in the game this is not the same Lakers team from 5 weeks ago

  126. And its a 5 point game

  127. what an awful joke of a player that Nash is… what a pathetic FO for thinking that pathetic idiot of a stiff could be useful!!!!

  128. Nice 2nd half effort. If only Dwight would earn his money. Is McRoberts still on the team?

  129. Funky Chicken March 5, 2013 at 9:09 pm

    Kobe is playing with one arm, Dwight is a no show, Westbrook is completely dominating, and the Lakers have now forced two total turnovers. And they are within 6. Crazy.

  130. Ibaka is mighty chipper for a guy that shouldn’t even be playing. The Chunder, what a delight they are.

  131. 3 empty trips in a row! Make a basket!!!

  132. Now im upset by that stupid ridiculous Artest crazy off to the races penetration that cost us 3 points, stupidest play of the game byyy far

  133. I like that Kevin Martin had the shot and he was like **** it and gave it to Iblocka for the 3.

  134. Wow no call

  135. Harvey Westbrook has 36. The problem is the lack of defense.

  136. Kobe doesn’t get any calls now. He’s been fouled multiple times driving to the hoop.

  137. Kobe is doing the right thing passing out the double team but nobody else is converting. And people were complaining when he basically won the Hawks game by himself.

  138. Artest stupid play cost the Lakers the game, this game was ripe for the picking

  139. Ken–Harvey is being sarcastic

    I’ve extolled Dwight’s virtues when he’s gotten his stuff together this year–so I get to speak my mind the other way tonight—with Kobe playing clearly hurt, Dwight’s borderline no-show (effort wise) is pretty pathetic.

    Unbelievable call against Dwight on Durant’s drive—I saw earlier in the game that Durant has just as many “T’s” as Kobe this year….what the heck does Durant have to complain about? The fact that he only gets the second-best whistle treatment in the league?

  140. Thats game.

  141. Lakers have ran the same play all 2nd half to get Kobe the ball behind the 3 point line. What is D’Atoni doing?

    How many times is D’Antoni going to ask Kobe to save the day? RUN A PLAY..

  142. For a team that is missing 2 of it’s best big men, has a superstar that can get no foul calls, has clearly not developed a close to complete chemistry and a superstar big man who is clearly playing in a diminished condition, to be giving the Thunder such a close run is pretty awesome.

    Come playoff time we’ll be in a real good spot.

    Some people are never satisfied.

    PS as for the serial complainers about Nash and D12. You really wanted Bynum and Fish as the starters instead. Time to get your eyes tested.

  143. You can’t win 4 on 8, DAMN!!!

  144. D’Antoni just ran the same play for Meeks that he’s ran at least 20 times this half for Kobe. This guy can’t coach.

  145. Ken, how dare you call a 2 time MVP, a poor sign..And not to mention that, who else was available exactly??

    Haven’t seen the whole game, but if Nash was covering Westbrook, what would you expect?

    Ken, you seem about as bad as a troll to me. I think you should re-read your posts.

  146. Well they held then under 140 and under 20 point loss.

    Also Dwight got lot of rest for tomorrow since he didn’t play tonight.

  147. The end was pretty bad but this game was really withing reach if guys hit their shots when Kobe passed out of the double teams, that and Artest being stupid with that dumbplay when the game could had been a 3 or 2 point game thats the play that finished the team, never recovered.

  148. Dimitri—I agree with you about the “Nash complainers.” I also agree with you that the result is encouraging in some ways…under the circumstances (how is that for qualified optimism?)

    There isn’t any doubt that Dwight at something less than 100% is infinitely better than Bynum at zero.

    The Dwight issue is the perception that his effort is—let’s say “uneven.” Tonight is one of those nights where, for whatever reason, he seems to be pouting.

  149. The reality for the Lakers is this: They are not a challenger.

    The lakers beat bad to mediocre teams, but against the NBA elite the Lakers are getting beat and beat convincingly.

    I honestly don’t know what to say about what they can do – having Dwight play like 2009 Dwight comes to mind but I honestly don’t think that is going to happen.

  150. I got to say was not expecting this game to end up this close, definitely want to see LAS make it to the playoffs. Kobe really toughed it out, Nash and World Peace stepped it up the 2nd half.

    Gonna continue to dog on Dwight til he shows he can work for his salary.

  151. Time to dry your eyes Dwight.

  152. Funky Chicken March 5, 2013 at 9:26 pm

    I left my couch all of one time in the last 3 hours and managed only one fewer field goal than Dwight Howard. In his defense, he did lead his team to force two fewer turnovers than I did, so there is that.

  153. Man, we can beat this Thunder team in a 7 game series with complete roster. The problem is Dwight drama queen is not playing. I’m pissed because of his childish plays. Talking to the refs like he needs to be given a lollipop in his mouth.

    Just look at the 2nd half, Nash was aggressive. He might not be good in defense but still able to find ways to help the team. Dwight?! whatever…

  154. Btw I agree with those that say Nash + Dwight >>> Fish + Bynum. The problem is just that the elite teams in the league are just better than they were a few years back when the Lakers and Boston ruled. Lots of great young stars coming into their own and running us ragged.

  155. “Man, we can beat this Thunder team in a 7 game series with complete roster.”

    Yes, Pau will make all the difference!

  156. Thunder tie NBA record with 2 turnovers tonight. Lakers average 16.2 points off of opponents turnovers, tonight they had 2 points. Lakers also went the last 6 minutes of the game without scoring.

  157. Mindcrime – I think a lot of that stems from his frustration at not being able to contribute the way he knows he can. For years he was a monster on the boards and in the paint who nobody could contain, stuff like that dunk he was going for over Ibaka in the first were plays he could make all the time (albeit with successful results). At the moment he is limited to a more Kareem, skill based kinda post game which isn’t his forte right now.

    Since ASB his defence has clearly improved and he will get back to what he was soon enough. He’s gobbling up boards still in his limited capacity and helping others any way he can with screens etc and even in his sucky condition he’s still one of the best bigs in the game.

    I’m prepared to cut him some slack.

  158. Yes Dimitri there is a lot of complaining, even when they are winning the complaining never stop. This team is been thru so much this season and people forget this team is been hurt all season and never been 100% in a single game, Howard was a non factor on offense but grabbed 15 rebounds, Nash was off almost all game that missed corner 3 was a killer, Kobe is banged up and still scored 30, and OKC has lost only 4 times in their building winning 10 of the last 11. Despite the end when this team got it togheter for stretches OKC sweat. Tough loss but its not a season killer we should handle the Pelicans tomorrow and the team will be fine moving foward.

  159. Harvey

    What does the past have to do with the present? lakers PG defense is among the worst in the NBA. This team needed youth and speed. There were plenty of guards out there that moved in the past year. How can you make that comment when the Lakers have been a top 5 team 7 years in a row. Now they have become the suns.

    Numbers don’t lie but silly past stats do. Why not sign AI since he once lead the lead several years and is younger? Kidding there.

    I like Steve Nash as a 25 minute guy not a 38 minutes starter at this point in his career. Look at the stats and standings before calling me
    out. Steve is down in every single stat this year and his one on one match up numbers are bottom 10 in the NBA.

    Sorry to cloud you with facts.

  160. Warren Wee Lim March 5, 2013 at 9:31 pm


  161. Fern, I think many people would list you as one of the complainers lol. I used to complain a lot more than I do now, but I have come more to accept this team for what they are, an 8th seed at best.

  162. Other than Miami who can stop OKC in transition anyway? Having Pau back will help clog up the lane again and keep Westbrook from getting in the paint where he does the most damage. When we had all our bigs we spanked them, remember that.

  163. Joe M re read my posts i complained a lot about dwight during that drama around the ASB i actually wanted him gone i cut on that a bit,also i dont spend the whole game complaining about the coaching most of my complains are about individual plays not the team the FO not if Kobe shoots too much or is not shooting enough. I try to mantain a positive outlook because when you step back and look at the big picture this team have been thru a lot of crap and bad luck. If this team started playing like this, say in January the would be 5 or 6 on the conference. I dont spend wins or losses nitpicking every bad thing the team did.

  164. Coaches aren’t helping the players. It’s not send Durant this way Earl this is where we want him to go. D’Antoni sticks earl on Durant 1 on 1 and tells Dwight to block his shot if he gets to the basket. Same thing with Westbrook. Can’t expect to play straight up defense all game against Durant and Westbrook and not get throttled. Lakers don’t have a LeBron or chalmers. This was the 4th time they played Okc and not one adjustment was made. Players are getting no help.

  165. Ken and he still better than Fish and that Sessions thats a fact too. He is still an upgrade. The numbers are there too. I take and old Steve Nash over an old Fisher everyday of the week. As much as Fish have done for the team he was just beyond atrocious at both ends of the floor and Sessions beside some flashes was an absolute disaster especially in the playoffs when he absolutely choked, plus neither one could guard neither.

  166. 1st 3 games against Lakers Durant: 35, 42, 35 Westbrook: 33, 27, 17pts 13 ast. Single coverage didn’t work then but let’s try again and hope for the best.

  167. I was trying to think which teams Nash would be handy for. The truth is, though, that his defense + size is such a disadvantage that he doesn’t bolster anybody very much.

    He would be best served as backup PG somewhere.

  168. Joe: Lets face it 09 Dwight might never come back. I don’t even know if he’ll ever be back to 100 percent.

    The reality is, Dwight very well become the next Jermaine O’neal (post injury).

  169. What adjustment? This is the personel that we have, Durant and Westbrook cook teams on a nightly basis, the only way the Lakers can beat this team is by slowing down the tempo and cutting down all those damn turnovers, when they did that the Lakers thrived, all the Lakers troubles started by not putting a body on Westbrook beyond the 3 point line, you left him wander 15 or 20 feet from the basket your toast, you put a body on him beyond the 3 point line their whole offense slow down.

  170. Fern I agree.

    James I agree

    Not to belabor the point on one of my fav all time players but;

    Steve is the 14th rated PG based on points, plus assists, minus TO just below Dragic who replaced him. He is 23Rd in point against while on the court.

    Still a good player but not quite MVP caliber Harvey.

    Might be a bit of Lakers problems but one of several.

  171. Fern: send help or change coverages. It’s insane to keep playing these guys one on one when the past 3 games it hasn’t worked. Even with the personnel limitations the coach has to help his players. Nash, Kobe, Ron, Dwight, Meeks, Jamison, Blake are still playing.

  172. if everybody was healthy and everybody played their best…they still arent a championship team.

    playing terrible just makes the fans feel worse for a longer period.

    but in the round and out was the best we could hope for if everything went right.

  173. If Westbrrok or Durant see a double team coming they are either take the shot before it comes or pass it to the open guy and if they penetrate thats why Dwight is being paid the big buck i have no problem whatsoever about that funnel defense isnt that the same thing that was implanted here during Phil last season? Chuck Person came up with that, both those guys eat double teams for breakfast specially Durant.

  174. Im out talk/argue with you guys tomorow lol

  175. Not really much to complain about I think. If you look on it with a little bit of perspective. The Lakers weren’t favored to win this game AT OKC where OKC is pretty good. Against teams like OKC (and denver), if they get out to a fast start, they usually control the game. As everyone said in post game, they just didn’t have the right energy to start the game off.
    Plus you add in Kobe’s injury from the get go, Dwights re-aggravation of his shoulder, OKC’s defense, and their offensive capabilities, it was going to be tough anyway.

    Lakers needed to start well, which didn’t happen. Dwight and Nash were 1 – 14 combined at one point. Though I don’t get where Nash get’s hate here, he scored 20 points on 7-15 shooting and was just a little bit off on a 3 that would have brought the deficit to 3.

    It was really that second quarter. Lakers showed enormous heart (including Dwight) who got very few touches but led the team in rebounding.

    Truly, tomorrow’s game is the must win. Only because they need to win EVERY GAME against the teams they are supposed to win.

    Go Lakers!

  176. ken,

    Nash’s usage is way down, he is playing in a way that is very, very different than he used to where he dominated the ball, and run a ton of PNR all day long. So I don’t know what to say. He is a tad less athletic than he used to be, but with much more PNR run for him, he was and still can be very dangerous. His defence “issues” are over rated. He really works on defence. He is getting way less help than he used to. Lakers haven’t helped him with schemes to protect him, but if you watch real closely you will see that he is torched not much more by elite PG’s than most. Lakers need to simply develop much better schemes for PNR as Darius outlined in a prior post.

    I love Nash, but it is true there are now quite a few athletic PG’s and it is certainly possible that there was someone who would be available and more valuable than him, but I didn’t see Kyrie, or Paul or Westbrook or TP or Bledsoe or Ty Lawson on the blocks last summer. The facts are the team looks better these days and it is a mistake to forget how much Nash’s veteran presence may have had to do with that, and at least a little bit “if its not broke don’t fix it”. I will say that while I was happy when Nash signed here, it was the presumption that this franchise always signs the best FA’s and I did expect that there would have been some more roster moves by at the latest the trade deadline to improve the personnel and add some more speed, youth and shooting by adding a versatile 2/3, who can do all of the above, and that would have gone a long way to balance the roster better.

  177. Dimitri…

    I agree with your assessment of Dwight’s play. He simply can’t do some things because he is not completely healed. The man is trying. I’m sure he is very frustrated with his current play.