I’m not sure there are many people that expect a Laker win tonight. They’re on the road, are coming off a meltdown loss that triggered some finger pointing comments, and it’s all under the backdrop of the Lakers performing poorly in these types of games (see game 4, Mavericks, 2011 playoffs). Add in several other variables – OKC’s talent and determination, this being their 3rd game in 4 nights – and the Lakers are facing long odds tonight.
That said, the game is happening and the Lakers have said they’ll be ready. Outside of closing games (an important factor, obviously) they’ve played extremely well since game 2 of this series and their blueprint for success is still in place. Will they conjure the effort and resolve needed to win is certainly the number one question but if they do, another game within reach is on the docket for tonight. On the whiteboard after game 4 the words “one game at a time” were written so here’s hoping they take that to heart.
A few keys for this evening:
*Pick and roll coverages remain critical. Down the stretch of game 4, the Lakers’ D came unraveled mostly due to the pressure Russell Westbrook placed in OKC’s P&R attack. He did more than probe, he propelled himself through the cracks and created good shots. We’ve been saying it since game 1 but bears repeating: the Lakers must step up high, contest the ball handler, and make the Thunder go to their secondary options. When the ball moves, the Lakers must rotate and do so with energy and precision. The Thunder want to move the ball around the perimeter to create good looks and this means the bigs must leave the paint to cover Thunder players moving around the wing. Doing this successfully is what makes the defense work.
*Ron needs help in isolation against Durant. Artest is a proud defender that still scraps hard and shows tremendous fight. And, in a lot of situations he’s doing a fine job of bothering Durant. However, one of those areas isn’t in 1-4 isolations where Durant has a live dribble. Durant’s ability to pull up from range is forcing Ron higher out on the floor and his improved handle is making it difficult for Ron to contain him off the dribble. Game 4’s dagger was the product of this exact situation as Ron sagged back playing the drive only to have KD put up a three pointer off the bounce. Ron must do a better job of keeping KD on one side of the floor but his help must be there when he uses his dribble to attack the paint. KD has shown he can be turnover prone when the second defender shows timely help but the issue is that the help isn’t always there. Ron’s been such a great defender during his time with the Lakers that it looks like the back line isn’t as aware when he’s working in isolation. Tonight, they’ll need to be as I expect Durant to attack early and often now that he’s back home.
*Pau Gasol must get a bit greedy, but not overly so. Pau’s been put through the ringer for his game 4 decision making and there’s merit to some of the criticism. For a player as cerebral as Pau, shoot-pass decisions are probably some of the more difficult ones he has to make on any given possession. And, seemingly, his unselfish nature skews more towards making the pass than taking the shot. There’s a reason Pau’s had so many lob assists to Andrew Bynum this season. However, the Lakers, as currently constructed, lack scoring punch. Pau is a versatile scorer and can aid the Lakers in their pursuit of more points. To score, he must turn down passing opportunities and look for his own chances. That said, as a key facilitator within the offense, he must also continue to seek out open teammates who can also boost the Lakers’ O. Pau has a difficult balance to strike tonight but it’s imperative he find it for the Lakers to win.
*Sessions needs more floor time and must do something with it. Games 3 and 4 showed that Sessions can be effective against the Thunder. He’s starting to find creases out of the P&R and he’s using his quickness off the ball to cut into the gaps when his teammates draw attention. He’s been a key player in the 1st half of the last two games but has faded down the stretch and been replaced by Blake in closing games. Well, in game 4 I thought the Lakers paid for keeping Blake on the floor as the Thunder guarded him a bit more closely and didn’t afford him the open shots he’d typically get. In turn, the Lakers had one less play maker on the floor (Sessions) in favor of a spot up shooter not given the room to do what he does best (Blake). I’d love to see Sessions get some extended run in this game and for him to take advantage of it by staying aggressive. I’ve mentioned the need for more points, Sessions can be someone that provides them.
*Hit the glass hard. The Thunder are strong rebounding team but they’re also a team that loves to help on paint touches. Ibaka and Perkins will both leave their men to slide into a contest position when the ball threatens the basket. The Lakers bigs must fight their way to the ball and get second shots. The Lakers haven’t been a very efficient offensive team this series but a way to counter that is to get extra possessions on the glass. Getting them tonight is imperative.
There are many more keys, obviously. Tempo, locking down role players, and avoiding fouls are all important. But none are more than what I mentioned at the top of this post: the Lakers must bring the requisite effort to win. They mustn’t get down on themselves in things don’t go their way. They mustn’t stop fighting if they get in an early hole. The Thunder will be ready to go from the opening whistle and the Lakers must understand that they’ll have to take a couple of shots on the chin and keep coming if they’re to win.
No one expects the Lakers but they must believe that they can. Here’s to both teams flying back to Los Angeles.
good luck to us all!!! well said darius…let’s just hope the lakers will respond to our wish for them to win this and hopefully force a game 7…again go lakers!!!
Pau always plays better angry.
When Pau plays better, the Lakers play better.
Here’s to hoping Black Swan shows up tonight.
Whatever happens tonight, it’s been a fun series. Lakers fans always get a bad rap, but from what I’ve seen you guys are a pretty classy and knowledgeable fanbase. There are bad eggs on both sides, but I’ve been very impressed with what I’ve seen from everyone.
If the Thunder do advance tonight, know that you (the Lakers and their fans) have my utmost respect. OKC wouldn’t be where they are without the tests you have put us through, and without the standard of excellence your organization has set.
The Thunder were built to beat the Lakers. It’s as simple as that. The reason is because the Lakers are the gold-standard in the NBA. If we win tonight, and your front office decides to tear things down and try something new, I’m sure they’ll be successful whatever they try. I don’t see this series as the Lakers falling. I see it as the end of this era of the Lakers.
LA will reload. They’re simply too good of an organization to not come back strong.
Good series, everyone. Hope to see you here next year.
Kobe will get his 30 and Metta will get his 13.
The keys are Pau, Bynum & Sessions playing aggressively and one bench player getting 10 points or more.
If any one of those players does not produce then the Lakers lose.
This playoffs Kobe 42%, Pau 44%, Bynum 48%. All 3 need to be more efficient and have big games to extend this series.
Kobe shot over 50% twice this postseason, Pau 5 times over 50% and Bynum 6 times over 50%. Lakers being top heavy all 3 need to play big.
I called Pau’s big game 7 vs Denver, I thought Kobe would come up big game 3 vs Okc. Now all 3 must play like superstars tonight.
chris h says
I’ve been watching Perkins setting picks and it seems like he’s 1) grabbing, and 2) sliding to stay in front of his pick… is this legal?
I thought the “pick-er” is supposed to be a wall, i.e.; just stand there, and the “pick-ee” has to fight his way under or over that pick. but if the guy can grab and slide… then why doesn’t everyone do that?
Lakers balance has proven effective controlling game tempo, problem is and remains closing games.
ESPN is all over the Kobe is 3-17 fg/fga during the last 6 minutes of Lakers losses.
“Championship teams find a way to win because they aren’t afraid to lose. And in that regard, the sweet-hearted, good-intending Gasol is unfortunately the Lakers’ No. 1 problem.” -Kevin Ding
The picker has to be a wall (non-moving) in any series that does not include the Lakers.
Go Lakers, go Lakers, go Pau, go Sessions, go Bynum, go Barnes, go Blake!
Kobe, Hill, MWP are always on go!
Here’s to a good game. Let’s make it epic!
Bynum: 18.7 pts 11.8 reb 1.4 ast 1.9 blk 55% R. Season
Bynum: 17.3 pts 11.7 reb 1.6 ast 3.4 blk 48% Playoffs
Kobe: 27.9 pts 5.4 reb 4.6 ast 1.2 stl 43% R. Season
Kobe: 28.9 pts 4.8 reb 4.7 ast 1.3 stl 42% Playoffs
Pau: 17.4 pts 10.4 reb 3.7 ast 1.4 blk 50% R. Season
Pau: 12.4 pts 8.9 reb 3.8 ast 2.0 blk 44% Playoffs
None of our superstars have elevated their games during the postseason. They all have to collectively pick each other up and play together.
405Thunder: Nice post
With regard to re-loading: KB is doing that right now for tonight’s game. He may more aggressive than Kevin Durant at the ASG : )
alex v. says
Perkins has that hip injury – I think there is a chance he accidentally set a legal screen at least once in this series. But normally his picks look more like blocks by an NFL lineman opening a hole.
Kobe Alert: The 38 pt total was KB’s 87th playoff game over 30. He needs 4 FG’s for 2k for his playoff career (Shaq + MJ). He needs 31 FGA’s to catch MJ for #1 in that category + he might just do that tonight. He needs 9 dimes to move by Pippen for 6th there. He is now in the top five in 10 of the main 15 cumulative all time playoff stats.
My only request is that the Lakers don’t roll over if the going gets tough tonight.
I don’t think I can stomach another finish like Game 6 of the 2008 finals or Game 4 of last year’s West semifinals.
To quote 30 Rock’s Jack Donaghy while staring at the mirror: “You’re a lion. Take what’s yours.”
Kevin: I hear you. First off – we were not good enough during the regular season – so yes elevation was needed to move up from our “6th” best spot. I was trying not to crticize anyone in particular, but your stats seem to show 2 guys who are about the same as reg season and 1 guy who has dropped off significantly : )
I agree with Reuben. I do not want to see another season-ending blowout, as we have seen basically every time the Lakers didn’t win the last game the last several seasons. If they lose, well, OKC is better than they are, and they move on as best they can, and we hope for the best. But I really hope it is not 115-85. I would rather they lose 98-94 or whatever. YMMV.
Michael H says
To answer your question on the last thread. The Lakers have played exactly the way they needed too, to win. Other then Barnes and his injury we got enough. But in my wildest imagination I could never see Kobe playing the way he has down the stretch. He has always been our ace in the hole but it seems to be different now. He didn’t even need to be a hero closer, just manage the lead. Perhaps Blake should have been traded instead of Fish because boy do we miss him. He did what others are failing at, game management. Plus he eas not afraid to get in Kobes face or pass the ball away from Kobe.
All that said, I still believe we have a chance. All of these last 3 have went down to the wire. Let’s see what adjustments are made and see if we can get the series back to LA.
The Lakers are going to have to play a higher level of basketball IQ. Take what the defense gives them and cut and move away from the ball. Set strong solid screens more than once, play some doggone defense by position, help the helper and get at least 10 blocks. Rebound. Rebound! Rebound!! Finish strong at the rim, i.e., DUNK everything. Play with passion! Get 10-12 assists. Use their arms and hands to reach in the passing lanes. Get all the 50/50 balls. For goodness sake stay with your man and put a hand in their face on shots!
If necessary when Blake, Bryant, MWP, Bynum and Gasol are on the floor run a few sets of the triangle. They can run the triangle with Ebanks and Barnes on the floor also. At least everyone will know where the offense is coming from and the floor will be balanced. They’ll also be in a position to get back on defense. Moreover, it’ll slow the game down and prevent OKC from getting run-outs.
Make or miss guys have to take the open shots (again, take what the defense gives you). When the shot goes up there are only two options: 1) Crash the boards. 2) Get your butt back on defense. No standing around looking at the ball go up to the rim.
Tonight Lakers better not have any spectators on the floor!
I salute you man, we’ve been through struggles before we won the championship.
If we lose tonight, no panic. Its not the end of the world. I think we will see Pau wearing his last day in Laker uniform.
Maybe Bynum?, we’ll see but tonight Lakers should give them a fight. No blow-outs, cakewalk or whatsoever.
One more fight, Lets GO!!!
Looking at the eyes of the players I see Kobe, Ron & Steve Blake as the only players who are not afraid to step-up during crunchtime. And as a result of that we tend to have Kobe-Iso plays. Heres hoping that Pau rekindle that fire in his eyes just the way he played in the championship years.
Thanks for being cool etc.
If we roar, we win. If we meow, we lose.
Robert: You’re right. Major drop off from Pau he came up big in the biggest game of the year vs denver. That game we saw team ball. Nothing forced just team defense and a togetherness that we’ll need tonight.
lil' pau says
Classy post. Much appreciated.
The Thunder are undeniably better, but it’s strange to me as a long-time Laker fan to finally get a close look at what ‘better’ looks like from the opposite side. Better is a ‘miraculous’ last-second shot, whether by Durant or Harden or Horry or Fish or Kobe. It’s a missed boxout followed by a last second lay-up, whether by Artest (was it indeed Artest who made the last second putback against the Thunder in ’10?) or a missed box-out by LO followed by a Tim Thomas three. It’s being the beneficiary of your opponent choking away a big lead, whether the choker is Portland in 2001, Boston in 2009, The Lakers in 2008, or the Lakers again in games 2 and 4 of this round. It’s the ‘unlucky’ turnover, whether Pau or Kobe giving it up to Durant in this round, or Trevor Ariza stealing the ball over and over again a couple of years back.
When you are on the short-end if the stick, what feels like bad luck is really the better team finding a way to win. I don’t find much solace in this realization, as there’s still a P&G part of me that thinks we should be up 3-1, but I’ve been a fan long enough to realize this is just the flipside of the Kings missing all those game 7 free throws or MWP hitting the world’s most unlikely 3 against the hated ones.
Just because we played well enough to win doesn’t mean we deserved to. This is what it’s like to be almost good enough… but ultimately outclassed.
I guess I can live with it, if only barely.
david h says
darius: like chick hearn always use to say, we got two chances, slim and none. and slim left the building. when our laker season ends this year, sadly sooner than later, they’ll be so much to say and so little to do except to hope that next year’s lakers will be a vastly improved team capable of competing and beating the league’s elite teams. we know who they are. the questions will continue to outpour from all media bases, talking heads, fans and haters from under every rock imaginable. ultimately the decisions will remain in the hands of laker ownership/management as to the direction this organization will take in the foreseeable future. we can only hope, pray and support this team as all loyal fans do.
Go Lakers ! it’s been an interesting season.
Michael H: Yes – KB has made some mistakes in the key moments I will admit (although it hurts to do this for me). I do like the fact that you mention Fish in your post. I believe my post the day he was traded mentioned the loss of leadership, clutch shooting, and Kobe control.
if you want team basketball, Kobe have to pass a lot haha and play like ray allen ;0.
so apparently there are two schools of thought regarding the Kobecentric two-minute offense.
either, it’s kobe iso 24/7 because his teammates are disengaged, or his teammates are disengaged because it’s kobe iso 24/7.
Like to see one more win for personal reasons. Hate to end tbe season again and get punked.
Reality is some of our players play to get get paid a few play only to win.
We need more of the first less of the second.
That being said the chances if winning three in a row are less then slim. Chances of beating the Spurs zero.
Time to reload and hoping the Buss family deals with the loss of revenue forces them to except that mike Brown hire was a big mistake.
Nuff respect & thanks for the acknowledgement. If your Thunder happen to seal our fate tonight or further on down the line, know that I, for one, will be rooting for Durant & crew to go all the way. Promising organization that’s being built the correct way.
With that being said, looking forward to ‘The Fight’ tonight. Who has it in them and is willing to go all out to bring OKC back to LA with us? Or will it be easy to detect whose heart pumps kool aid while under severe pressure? If we’re not overwhelmed early and can keep this game close heading into the 4th quarter, I feel that we might be able to have a couple of breaks go our way and ‘steal’ one tonight.
In any event, lets leave it all on the line and not embarass ourselves in OKC tonight.
haha @29. Yep, pretty much.
It’s amazing how polarizing talk about crunch time can get when players/teams aren’t winning. Whether it’s Kobe, Lebron, Melo, Wade, or (now) CP3, all the talking heads want to do is love them or hate them in crunch time. If OKC doesn’t win a title, the talking heads will go on and on about Westbrook vs. Durant: who’s to blame for their failures in crunch time? If Boston doesn’t, then it’ll be because you can’t trust Rondo in the clutch.
I’m not ready to be depressed and see exit interviews. Who’s with me. GO LAKERS!!!
I am with you Kevin. After all – we have done it before – albeit 42 years ago against the Phoenix Suns : )
GO LAKERS, live to play another day.
here’s hoping that Lakers will show up tonight, unlike previous trending of our closeout games when we get blown lightyears away. all needed ingredients have been said above and we just have to execute and grind for 48 minutes, not 46 minutes.
Lakers win. Hopefully we’ll all see a Game 6 in LA. I refuse to believe that Kobe and Pau will go out meekly.
Get it to Game 6 at Staples and things can get wacky. Ebanks might even get some burn tonight. What’s Brown got to lose?
Ditto Kevin: Go Lakers!!!!
Thanks for the responses, guys. Have a great night, and good luck and good health to all your players!
And if you don’t like the ancient 1970 reference, then perhaps you will prefer the fact that we won the game, the last time we were down 3-1 in the playoffs (2008 Finals)
Barkley just blasting Kobe. Been a long time since anyone dared to call it like it it. Hero ball dosen’t work Kobe. It has turned into goat ball.
Why are people so hung up on the lakers “showing up” today and losing a close game instead of being blown out? A loss is a loss, no? Will you all feel that much better if they lose a close one? The issues for this team going forward are still gonna be the same whether they lose by 2 or by 22. Kobe is still gonna be a year older, the payroll situation is still gonna be a mess, there will still be no point guard on the roster, etc.
Don’t agree with those say OKC’s roster is vastly superior. Beyond Durant, Westbrook, and Harden … nobody is lights out. Thunder bench is suspect excluding Harden, D. fish, not impressed.
Folks who say Lakers need Deron Williams, Dwight Howard and who knows what other former all star are unrealistic. Lakers have the roster to win the championship this season, likely they won’t due to coaching and cohesiveness (lack there of).
Lakers are about championships. If that remains true, Mike Brown should be fired if Lakers lose. He couldn’t get it done.
Sessions is just garbage. Andrew is barily trying. Guess they have their flight to Cabo already booked.
So Sessions… really? How bad can you actually play?
Sessions has as tough a time finishing at the rim as Fisher. Who would’ve thought that?
Please just play Blake. At least I know he can make a ft, and maybe a jumper.
I guess it’s true close out games are easy, huh Bynum?
I’m so sick of Bynum trade him and keep Pau! Put Bynum on the bench so Pau can go down in the post, please MB!
Trust issues begin and end with Bynum. Funny when he makes statements he’s always talking about himself. Maybe Bynum’s schizophrenic
Kobe won’t have any legs in the 4th if he has to carry them now.
Abdrew us a quitter! Tired of his face and his attitude.
terrible body language. Bynum makes me so angry. He has nothing that resembles an actual champion, at least in terms of heart and effort…
Sessions would be advised to not opt out of his contract after this season. Lakers would love to wipe his $4 million of their books for next season.
For everybody talking about Kobe – look at this 1st quarter without him the only points wenwould have would be gasols point blank dunk – no one else has done anything – thank god we have him – and please call illegal screens
Kobe is using too much energy too early.
the Activator says
hope AAron is watching his HERO!
Thank you, Pau. Kobe must have gotten your attention. See the winners are rising, the talkers are sitting.
The Lakers need some movement on offense, they’re standing around watching Kobe too much.
Everybody is a no show except for Kobe. 1 turnover and Kobe are keeping the Lakers in this.
Somebody besides Kobe needs to step up.
Amazing quarter by Kobe that has allowed us to stay in the game – hill and metta are the only others fighting – bad call on fisher flop into hill
the Activator says
Brown the Clown should send all the Slackers to the locker room. no need to see pouting faces on the bench!
i’m sure even McRob or Murphy can give “more” than nothing
and some E – Banks would be refreshing!!!!!!
Rest of the team is shooting 10% this quarter … Ugh
Pau should play his heart out tonight. especially when Kobe goes to bench in the 2nd. And MB needs to use another rotation man to cover for Kobes minutes. I hope Ramon will play good, and Bynum would at least rebound.
So once again a missed WIDE OPEN 3 leads to a breakaway dunk by OKC. Just hit your open shots!!!! Does MB ever have the team practice shooting?? It’s not that hard…
Pau is being aggressive.
Waiting until an elimination game to insert Ebanks when Barnes has struggled the whole playoffs is a sign of desperation.
Gotta be smarter than that KOBE!!! got a huge break there….
An early gift from the refs .. Good to see Ebanks get a look. But for how long?
Ebanks needs to channel his inner Ariza….
Sessions misses another layup… God why is he so bad?
I want to keep Pau and not Bynum!
Bynum has too much basketball to learn. On defense he is clueless unless, occasionally, someone puts the ball right in his face then he gets a block. He hasn’t played enough basketball to understand defensive nuances.
Way to block that Ebanks! Bring it!
@68 totally. That would have been the trade…
Sessions has picked it up… There is hope afterall!
Game is at Lakers pace so far.
The refs didn’t call a foul after Harden missed a layup… maybe miracles can happen.
the Activator says
watching Bynum and his attitude is worst than self-induced vomiting. the Lakers future Franchise!
and where was E-Banks after his brilliant game on April 22 against the OKC – thought that is part of a success recipe!
Hardin gets the call in the 4th quarter, for sure.
Pau could be another Tim Duncan and play effectively for years to come if his minutes are monitored properly. He has such a high basketball IQ that that is hard to replicate.
MB needs to get Pau out for a blow and let Jordan Hill play with Bynum.
Why did Sessions stand at the top dribbling and then turn the ball over?
Pau needed a blow a few minutes earlier and he would not have gotten that turnover.
Pau needs to be in the post. Post Pau up!
We traded a 1st round draft for a high school player?
Nice job Jimbo.
Bad shot Kobe!
You can’t win when Bynum gets his third 5 seconds after he was involved in the play.
So good to have Ron punk the other team. : )
Pau is playing like Pau. Good sign.
Shut UP Reggie!
Harden carries the ball!
Pau is playing bring him back next year!
If Andpoo had the hustle and the guts of Ron he would be a player. Instead he is a walking ATM.
Please dump his big lazy attitude out of town.
The old man with the dunk. Reminds me of Byron Scott doing something similar in a playoff game Kobe’s rookie year.
Does Sessions step out of bounds once every game? Sure seems like it.
These refs are horsesh*t.
Case in point. Perkins with the illegal screen AGAIN and no call AGAIN!
And now a BS flagrant on MWP. Seriously, these refs can just die. Period.
@83 Umm that was a reverse dunk. Not something BScott was doing at any point of his career. haha…
No laying down tonight. Boys seem pissed all around — fight until the end!
@85: I wasn’t going to complain until I just saw Ebanks fight through a Perkins moving screen and get called for the foul. What the hell?
How is that not a fracking illegal screen!!!!!!
Come on KObe move the ball! Ebanks with two Lebron like blocks.
MWP, they want to get rid of you, you are the difference maker.
LOL, they want OKC in the WCF’s!
Why do I still have a 5min delay for my comments?
That’s OK Kobe that was a good pass to Ebanks! Ebanks is a keeper, too!
Funky Chicken says
Here’s a thought for the Lakers: pump fake and get Ibaka in the air.
the Activator says
it’s nice and great to see that regardless of the outcome, “some” Lakers have heart! and will!
all what this game, series needs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(no stupid passes across the court) – SESSIONS!
This league is garbage.
These refs are out of their mind
No. Seriously. A good hard playoff foul (perhaps with a push on the left hand…) becomes a flagrant, then a T on MWP, then a T on Kobe? Let’s see if they can make the rarely-seen 7-point trip.
The revoltingly one-sided officiating continues apace.
I guess it will be 8 on 5 tonight… Terrible officiating, beyond belief
Sessions is just crap. Brown must be blind. Or stupid.
Stupid call and refs want Lakers to lose.
Again Lakers showing lack of class just like Dallas.
the Activator says
GREAT ENERGY AND FIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Honestly is it just me or do the Lakers look better without Bynum on the floor?
Refs really giving LA the business
Tru Warrior is in the building tonight.
One missed call against okc on a westbrook drive but how many missed calls against the lakers?
And with all of the complete BS, we are down by 3. Let’s go Guys!!
Magic Phil says
Stern and his refs makes me puke.
The refs just gave them 2 pts and the ball.
96 — agreed. Gotta have this all game.
I don’t understand why Session can be called PG. He has no court vision. He rarely has assists in the game…..
do these refs have twitter accounts cuz i want to threaten them right now..
Can the fixing be anymore blatant?
Bullsh*t flagrant on Ron-Ron and tech call on Kobe, but with all that, we’re still only down by 3 @ the half .. Liking what I’m seeing from Ebanks. Should’ve gone to him earlier in the series. Need more of a contribution from Drew. CAN NOT get blown out of the 3rd quarter.
smh @ free throw clinic to end the half…
Lets get this win damnit.
Pau is having a solid game.
Did anyone see the bs 3rd foul on bynum. The wait until harden misses the shot then Perkins gets the rebound then loses the ball to call a foul. This game is bs and as soon as the lakers make a play and start to get momentum expect a bs call the rest of the game.
Lakers must pound the paint in 2nd. Sessions is missing layups but he’s creating he has to keep it up.
I love the fight that we are showing, and frankly I think that with all of the shafting going on will only go to motivate us to victory…
terrible calls man, wth is happening, WWE. sigh.
Funky Chicken says
Can officials be fined?
I hope Sessions continues to attack the basket, even if shots don’t always fall. Makes a real difference, in my opinion.
Session may be busy getting to basket for his own shots, but he is not creating shots others. The foul on MWP started with the terrible turnover by Session. What a stupid pass across the court through traffic.
Fast Break Points
OKC 18 LAL 4 that’s the difference
Lakers are playing their game but if they get a lead can they hold off Durant, Harden and Westbrook in crunch time?
Funky Chicken says
Terrible officiating, but what a stupid and lazy play by Bynum for his 4th.
Andrew is not a winner. Not a guy I want on my team. Please trade the guy. He lacks heart.
Funky Chicken says
Thank you for the pump fake, Pau!
Kobe shouldn’t shoot 3’s!
Dunks like that are preferable!
Funky Chicken says
Only one Laker can finish at the rim, and it’s the oldest one.
Kobe vs Durant. I’m loving it. GREAT GAME
the Activator says
Kobe is showing that he still has something left in the tank, just hope that he will have enough for the end…
the Activator says
looks like those 2 “faux” technicals really lit a fire under the Lakers a&&
We are the Lakers!
We fight, we fight, we fight!
Can Sessions see the ball go through the basket. Yes, he hit a free throw.
dunks are really tiring, however it just shows Kobe really wants this one. and the team is looking good, they need to support our ace.
be prepared for the 4th qtr Lakers, MB better learn from previous games. and everyone needs to step up.
the Activator says
the Swiss Scrub. Pathetic!
MB take Bynum out!
Damn, this is one fantastic game! Come on Lakers!
Okc is getting easy looks, the lakers are struggling to get good shots in half court sets.
They shoot the passing lanes so often, yet we have not learned to fake and take a dribble in yet. Still.
The mental mistakes are taking their toll once again.
Sessions doesn’t even know how to make a foul!
Does Bynum know how to box out?
Sessions is throwing weak passes out there
These stupid lazy passes – every game there is at least 2 frack
Funky Chicken says
Andrew is garbage tonight. Foul trouble doesn’t mean you can’t block out.
Andrew us a worthless stiff. Watching as guys get bound after bound, he disgusts me as a long time Laker fan.
Take tbe bum out and play a guy with guts Hill.
the Activator says
i thought that part of the Lakers PACE is also the TO’s that Brown the Clown can call especially in the 3rd!!!!!!
save them for the NEXT SEASON?!
All Session turnovers have given OKC huge boasts. Unbelievable.
MB don’t wait until Bynum has 5 fouls to take him out! Bynum is hurting defense. Hill will get those rebounds. MB should be fired! Said it before say it again. MB is terrible in game coach. He has a roster and doesn’t use it.
Lakers lucked into Jordan Hill yet MB doesn’t play him when the game flow warrants his energy. MB is all designer glasses!
the Activator says
sessions IS garbage
NOT EVEN recyclable!
How many simple passes have they thrown away this series?
Put Ebanks on Westbrook!
Get Bynum out of the game and off of the Lakers! I’m through with him!
Bynum sucks and the refs are so terrible
the Activator says
Bynum is the TALLEST piece of
i ever seen.
not green, not recyclable and 16 Mill. expensive!
Bynum is killing us…
is it me or are the lakers awful after timeouts?
Bynum is gonna ask for an 80 million dollar extension this summer.
He hasn’t shown he’s worth the risk
Lakers need to move Bynum for some quality pieces. They have been so good for so long, they haven’t been able to reload with high draft picks (nor have they scouted well, as the Spurs have done).
Funky Chicken says
This is a total replay of game 4. Offensive stagnation leading to Kobe one on five. Can’t figure out how to beat a fronting defense.
One of the bigs needs to be traded for a real PG this summer. Kobe isn’t young enough to do all the ball handling, scoring, and defending of opponents’ best players.
the Activator says
i will be turned of seeing Clown’s face or listening to his voice!
It’s amazing how much championship fight Kobe has…Other guys look scared, yet Kobe is looking for blood!! Wow, Laker fans you are so lucky to have a legend!!
Bynum thinks this is pre season game.
We get the worst breaks ever this game.
League is becoming so garbage, that better be called as good
now i know how sacramento fans felt in 2002…these refs are garbage.
Bynum 4 rebounds. 4 whole rebounds
147. Trading Pau isn’t going to bring back an elite PG, only Bynum has that value. This team is better off trading Bynum and maximizing Kobe and Pau’s last few years (and returning Pau to the post where he should be all the time not in the dang high post)
garbage Bynam and garbage Sessions.
This team has to many good players they have riven away and filled their roster with players who can’t play.
Bad front office.
Terrible passes in traffic.
The Lakers have been in need of a pg ever since Derek Fisher came back. But haven’t been able to find one. Isaiah Thomas is better than any pg we have and he was drafted after the Lakers had a pick.
A player in the upcoming draft with heart and 3pt shooting skill that’s lightning fast is Caspar Ware. But the Lakers won’t draft him because he’s small. Believe me this kid will be a game changer in the NBA.
Bynum hasn’t even played in this game, yet he has the same gate up and down the floor.
Funky Chicken says
Perhaps the Nets can be persuaded to accept a sign and trade deal with DWill and send Andrew home to be the face of that organization rather than ours….
WHAT IS KOBE DOING ON THE BENCH IN THE 4TH??
MB is stupid!
Mike brown is a fracking idiot – that was the game
The nerve of MB to start playing Ebanks NOW! Geez, & then you rest Kobe to start the 4th and we’re down by 6??
Nice lineup Brown. Worst Coach in Laker history.
Thank you nepotism!
game, set, match
Mb I an even bigger idiot and then a terrible flop
Lakers must fire MB!
Jack weight in on this one.
Its not personal.
Mike is a great guy who wears great glasses but he can’t in game coach at all!
Please fire MB.
Lost my pride..
I thought it over. Mike Brown needs to be FIRED.
the Activator says
Brown the Clown?!
Bynum thinks this is pre-season game.
No…Bynum is playing like he said, “Closeout games are easy. I will lay down!”
Good job, Mike Brown. Way to prove the naysayers wrong.
Gasol with 37 minutes out of a possible… 39?
This can’t be good.
This is the worst 4th qtr team I’ve ever seen…
Okc has all the momentum and Lakers have a cold Kobe.
the Activator says
SESSIONS can’t even guard Fisher!!!!!!!!!!
how bad that is?!
looks like we’re about to be defeated already by okc whew…79-93 with 8 mins….let’s just hope there will be a miracle hehehe!!!
Everyone who criticizes Kobe, open your eyes and actually watch the fourth quarter.
Observe where Bynum and Pau post up, look at the clock when Kobe receives passes, watch what Blake and Artest do with the ball. Things should become pretty clear to you.
the Activator says
Brown the Clown can’t even think about the game
he is thinking about his future!
look at bynum screen compared to Perkins – he didn’t make contact with the man at all and immediately rolled to the rim for ball – you know how they tell receivers to catch the ball before looking upfield – this is just a piece of what bynum is missing – really hope he matures
Bynum could have been something. He may never reach his actual potential. It’s a shame…
brown kinda shoulda developed a bench over the past 70 games. can’t imagine that Matt Bonner is that much better than, say, Josh mcrob.
It’s die by Kobe, live by Kobe time.
And I’m not liking the odds.
Why is Kobe Iso our only 4th qtr option? I am completely confused as to why that’s always the case?
Why is Kobe Iso our only 4th qtr option? I am completely confused as to why that’s always the case… MB what’s your deal?
There you go Jimmy, Dump Shannon, LO, Fisher and hire the most clueless coach in Laker history.
To bad daddy dosen’t have the guts to fire his own son.
Brown is really a fool.
189 – True, but Bonner has 1 elite skill that fits perfectly next to an elite penetrator in Parker, whereas McRoberts is good at a few things but not elite in any area. Makes it harder to define his role in a system.
Nah, Bynum’s pretty good. When he’s single-covered. Put two men on him, especially at varying times depending on the possession and he’s lost. If he could figure out how to make a move without the one hard dribble before he goes into it he’d be worthwhile in a playoff game. But until then, or until the Lakers have the shooters to make teams pay for the double, he’ll always be a regular-season superstar.
Reggie Miller said it best, “It’s a one man show out here.”
For all the Kobe haters, he means as in the guy has no team to back him up
Come on Lakers, one good run. Do this!
Bench is being outscored 32 – 3 🙁
Anyone still think we’re better off with CP3 vetoed and not getting DH12 for Bynum?
Kobe should try to chip away instead of going for the home run plays. Attack the basket, force the refs to call something.
If this ends the way it looks now, it feels terrible. But at least the Lakers showed fight tonight. Some unfortunate whistles with the Ts and ensuing free throws, but the Thunder are earning this series.
kobe in hero mode can win us the game if we can’t get stops.
kobe in hero mode cant win us the game if we can’t get stops.
Bill bill says
Wtf was clown brown looking at? Oh really? Weare 15 points behind?????
Bynum isn’t even trying to get offensive rebounds! Get that clown out of there!
NOW they call the moving screen. Great call!
the Activator says
Bynum does not DESERVES the honor to be part of it!
send him to the Jersey shore!
hah. an illegal screen by Perk finally called!
I guess Bynum’s in because Jordan Hill has 4 fouls. Got to save him in case it goes to OT!
17 points, 2:41.
Let’s just say, if we pull this off, it will be EPIC.
Hey Aaron. Your superstar Andrew has 4 rebounds. 4! Old man Perkins has 10. Sessions has 5.
What a joke.
You sure know talent!
Great Game Bynum
Congrats Thunder. Now go out with class, no cheap shots, no bickering with teammates on the court. Time to regroup and retool for next season.
come on front office…bynum for dwill….please!!!!!
Mike in Qingdao says
Step up #201
Maybe they aren’t trying because they hate him. Bynum does for sure.
Last time the server was unavailable we thought we were getting Chris Paul.
Popovich and Tim Duncan won’t tolerate that moving screen by Perkins, he’ll be on the bench with the quickness in foul trouble.
Whatever happens, no one will be able to say Kobe took this game off.
Look at the scene outside the stadium. I guess there really is nothing else to do in OKC.
Now they call Perkins for an illegal screen!
Funky Chicken says
And with that, we have a two-year playoff record of 9-13, and 1-8 in the second round.
This is NBA no man’s land. Far from a title contender, but not in a position to get better quickly through the draft. Time for an active offseason of trades.
There is no way we don’t make major moves this summer. Right? If we come back with this same team next year, and this effort, we won’t even make the playoffs. We need new blood. Ga-sol…more like Ga-gone.
Can anyone honestly blame Kobe for not trusting his teammates?
He sits down for two minutes and the other team goes on a 10-0 run.
I’m done with Bynum and done with Gasol. One for his laziness and arrogance, the other for his lack of balls. Is there anything more frustrating than watching Bynum’s negative body language and Gasol’s passiveness on display? We need WARRIORS to complement our ALPHA WARRIOR. Not a bunch of inconsistent softies.
But it’s okay, guys. We are only going to end our series with a 20-point loss. At least it’s not 30! Whew!
Keep in mind Bynum is only one year older than Durant. Yeah. Lots of talent but not enough maturity.
219. Maybe if they hate Kobe they should grow some balls and have some pride as a man. Do you think people liked playing with Jordan? NO they hated him because he’s the exact same way Kobe is, but the difference is Jordan had guys who always had his back, not guys who shrink away from the moment. Get a grip man, put anyone with HEART out there and things wouldn’t have looked that pathetic
Ha Brooks trying to get Westbrook out of the game before Bynum tries to flatten him.
So many changes needed and so little flexibility. Adios, Pau, vaya con Dios.
Time for Bynum to go. Complete no show.
rest of team: 40
I feel bad for Mitch. it’s like he is up against it because of the new “leadership”.
Just hope that they don’t waste Kobe’s last few good years.
Throwing the towel. Geez…
Dont blame Kobe!! He and Metta are the only fighters!!!
But what did we expect?
Bynum didn’t join timeouts!
Sessions had to slow his game down for the slow Big lazy men
Stupid front office got rid of Odom–like really! that showed everyone they weren’t indispensible! horrible front office
no Phil Jackson
GOOD RUN……..KOBE, METTA, AND HILL!! EVEN BLAKE EVEN THOUGH HE CAN’T SHOOT
t’was a great effort, however this series is hard to win without the whole team putting effort. as a laker fan, this is disappointing coz we are spoiled by championship contention every year. thats our standard.
we match well againts OKC but some guys did not show up when it matters the most. another wasted season for Kobe, as he said last year. then again, its sad because we can no longer watch Lakers play again this season. time to go fishing for us.
Jim Buss, Mitch Cupcake, Mike Brown.
The three stogies!
Thanks for the embarrassment.
mike in qingdao—i don’t care if they hate kobe–that should have nothing to do with effort pride and self respect–and if you can’t respect the game, your teammate, and the purple and gold jersey you are wearing more than that—go find other colors to wear
Darn, Kobe is so classy!!!
Good luck Thunder! You guys have a nucleus that’ll be around for years to come.
Bring LO back! Get rid of Bynum, Murphy, Blake and Barnes! Everyone else go work on your game and come back hungry next year.
The Lakers need to take a good look at Eyenga, I think he’s a keeper!
LAL Bench: 5 points; 2 rebounds
OKC Bench: 35 points; 19 Rebs
Ok season over. Now lets enjoy the rest of the playoffs and wait for next year. Time to take out the trash and get some better players around Kobe.
Finally I couldn’t agree with you more?
New award for Aaron 2012.
Most wrong person!
See ya all next year.
Would’ve been nice for Bynum to show up. 4 rebounds. 4 whole rebounds
what do all of these players have in common?
all of them had more rb’s than our seven-foot phenom….
At least the one guy on the team worth a damn went out like a champ. Thanks for giving it your all, Kobe. Too bad most of your teammates suck balls!!
Watching fisher hug all the guys really makes this feel like karma – fired all the staff and scouts, went a completely different direction away from the success we had these past 12 years with brown over shaw, traded Lamar (who would have been good with us), traded fisher instead of Blake …….. Ugh …. A couple of guys had mentioned how when magic lost in 91′ to the bulls they knew it was time – I think I have this feeling now but…. The thunder will not be able to maintain their team – harden will get a max deal and then they will not be able to keep ibaka – the new CBA will have mass effects throughout the league – this was just year 1 – the upcoming offseason will be redonkulous
I don’t even know what to say. If Pau goes, that will be very disheartening for me. Pau is the ultimate team player plays whatever role is asked of him. Without Bynum, Pau would have been the main guy in the low post, but with Bynum, Pau did what he was asked to do and go high post. Besides Kobe, it was Pau and MWP tonight fighting. Pau was showing on screens, fighting for rebounds, running to set multiple screens for kobe even though kobe yelled at him almost every time out in the fourth quarter.
I understand the Lakers need help on the bench and perimeter, and Pau is the best chip for that. Which really is a shame. He is extremely versatile 7 footer. A team player.
Bynum was fronted a lot today. All I kept thinking was… ok, go to the corner of the triangle and that opens that passing lane to get it into the post. alas, there was no one in the corner.
I’ll be back tomorrow after reading the wrap-up. Tonight. I have a beer.
Kobe gets 42 points on 18-33 and we lose by 16 points – crazy
We also lost the rebound stat by 16. How do you do that with 2 seven footers?
Keep Gasol. Trade Bynum.
Mike in Qingdao says
The difference between Kobe and Jordan is that Jordan commanded respect. Kobe has never been able to coexist with a talented big man. First Shaq, and now Bynum.
Jordan was competitive but he knew enough to still coax greatness out of pippen, rodman, Kerr, paxson. He never ripped them in public the way Kobe has ripped Bynum and Gasol.
i guess its time for us to speculate player changes though until further advised. and who you think will be champs this year? there’s 1 clear team who I think will go all the way.
again, it was a great run for our Lakers team.
i am hoping that next year we can compete again for the championship given our limited options.
nice effort from Kobe, worth every $ he’s paid for. 1 solid backup (deadly shooter) and we’re set again to go.
For those of you who think we can fix this via the draft or free agency, please do not read the blog over the next few days and whatever you do, don’t go to the web site ShamSports and look at our contracts : ) Just hope for the best and don’t dig into the details. Trust me – you will feel better that way : )
Manny – I second that.
Apart for a more consistent Pau who’ll finally get the chance to be more aggressive in the low post, we’d also have a revival of much needed ball movement on this team.
These days, Bynum shows up about once every 5 – 6 games.
@255 You are so right Robert. This is going to get ugly and be ugly for some time…
MB should have taken Bynum out mid 3qtr and replaced him with Hill. Bynum wasted the whole 3qtr trying not to pick up his 5th foul. He didn’t foul. But didn’t get many rebounds, block shots, or points. He was defensive liability.
MB is responsible for Bynum’s lack of 2nd half productivity. Hill would have done much more with those minutes.
I have to say watching the game tonight, the only guys who seemed to have Kobe’s back were Ron and, to a lesser degree, Gasol. Pau played badly but was making some attempt to get involved. Ron & Kobe left their hearts out on the floor. Bynum played like a bonafide scrub. As a Laker fan after watching all of his crap this season, I hope he is not around by tip-off next season. Whether he gets traded or even just released I have no interest in carrying such a self-absorbed, lazy and over-entitled child, and I think the Buss family, if it is still a family operation, should demand better. And MB should not let the door hit him on the a** on the way out.
I can take MB not utilizing the bench, I can take Kobe shooting too much, I can take MWP blowups, I can take Pau’s disappearing acts, I can take Sessions as our starting pg (after all, he played 4 months with the Lakers and this is his first time in the playoffs), I can take the Lakers lack of outside shooting.
But, I cannot take Bynum’s lack of passion and involvement with the team!
DeAndre Jordan had 10 points and 9 rebounds in his final game. Andrew Bynum had 10 points and 4 rebounds, hopefully in his final game as a Laker. Someone got angry with me before when I lamented Bynum’s lethargic play earlier in the season.
Congrats to the OKC Thunder. Obviously, the Better Team won. For those that feel we should have been up 3-1 coming into this game, looking @ it from their perspective, I guarantee they feel that they should have already wrapped it up, 4-0.
Won’t comment about our Lakers right now. Even though I had us going out in 5, still frustrated by the results. I’ll put my comments on hold, like Bynum’s all-around game, until the anger subsides.
Lakers, 4 Life
Thanks Kobe for a great game and great effort all year !!!
Mike in Q:
Jordan never played with a talented big man, trashed Kukoc and others all the time, and actually punched Steve Kerr and Will Perdue in their respective faces.
I was hoping back in December that we (and others) were wrong. I will email tonight or tomorrow with some thoughts about the off-season. You know SVG got fired today…
OKC/SA will be quite a battle.
Good series, Lakers fans.
Like I said earlier, I have all the respect in the world for your organization, and hopefully, one day, OKC can have even 1/17 of the championships you guys do. You’ll be back next year, hopefully.
We just got beat by a better team, that’s all. We just couldn’t get any stops. Their big 3 and their bench was just too much. Oh well, the FO has a lot to think about this summer. See ya guys next season!
Funky Chicken says
I had as many assists as Andrew Bynum tonight, although the big guy did outrebound me by 4.
Oh, well . . . the Lakers will retool. It may take a couple of years and even the eventual retirement of Kobe Bryant, but this franchise always finds it way back to the top.
It’s funny: These coming years with an aging Kobe may give us a glimpse of what Magic Johnson’s golden years MIGHT have been had he not gotten ill and played into his mid-30s. All his pieces (Riley, Kareem, Cooper) slowly left and the others (Worthy, Scott) were losing a step.
How the Lakers’ brass helps Kobe will be key.
Stuck at 16 titles . . . for now.
@405Thunder-Thanks. Good luck! OKC looks ready to win it all.
OKC def. earned it. We will just have to dig deep and find our way out of this mess.
Does bynum even LIKE being a laker? Apparently he’s not fond of participating in post-game handshakes…
But just a comment on all of the sessions hate — he’s nowhere near the horrible point guard everyone is pinning him as.. Did he have a super mediocre playoff run? Yes. Absolutely. But he’s a guy who thrives on confidence and energy, so among the BS playoff schedule, his shoulder injury, and MB’s pulling the reigns on his style of play, I think he just lost his step at the wrong time. He’s proven time and again during the regular season that he’s an asset, so I hope everyone can respect that he deserves credit for all of his potential.
Lakers have no first round picks this year. WASTED
Mike Q, I’m sorry you don’t know what you are talking about.
Scottie Pippen is one of the 50 greatest players to ever play the game, the year after Jordan retired Pippen led a Bulls TEAM to 55 wins (only 2 less than the year Jordan was there the year before). On top of that the Bulls without Jordan LED by Pippen took the eventual Eastern Conference Champion Knicks to 7 games in the East Semi-finals. The guys Jordan had around him were talented and they had HEART. I don’t see one guy who could lead this team in Kobe’s absence.
see you guys next season with a different roster “maybe”…
rr: Wish it was a better result, but enjoyed going through it with you and the others here. Yes – I will collect some thoughts and e-mail you. And don’t forget – you are supposed to cheer me up : )
Is Mike Q serious? You should open google and type in “Jordan quotes”. They guy was a mean prick and berated his teammates on a regular basis with far harsher words than Kobe ever has. The most Jordan-like thing Kobe did was probably the Gray interview where he blasted Shaq after a long time of quietly taking shots from him.
Bring back Ebanks, Morris, Goudelock, Hill. They have a future as Lakers. Ron too.
It’s simple. Trade Bynum. He’s a female dog.
Bynums post game comments were perfect. He has to go…
Oh well, we all knew that the margin of error was very small for this team.
Bynum not showing up isn’t by any means small, so there the series went (and almost the first round too).
In a way, we overachieved by getting to the second round, by being close for 75% of the time, but the shortened season and taxing Kobe/Gasol during the regular season finally caught up with us.
And really, the only reason I liked Kobe over Shaq was that Kobe brought it all the time. I’m seeing the same thing now with Bynum and can’t wait to get rid of him. Not showing up during the regular season is one thing, not showing up during the playoffs is quite another.
Andrew Bynum on future: “It doesn’t really matter to me. I’ll play anywhere.”
How does Orlando sound, Drew? They got Disneyworld.
They just asked Andrew if he wanted to have Lakers pick up his option. He said “I don’t care I can play anywhere”.
As I just said on Laker talk.
Classless, lazy, self absorbed, poor sport, punk.
I never want to see that lazy child in a Laker uniform again. He dosen’t deserve to be in the same sentence as Wilt, Kareem, Shaq or even Jim Krebs. Take a hike and take Brown with you!
lakers were one game better than last year. i do feel more progress was made than that this year.
Jordan played with the best rebounder and defender ever….he just happened be 6″8 and a drag queen.
Pau needs to hit the weight room this off season. So he’ll be ready to man the post. The Lakers need to re-sign Jordan Hill to spell relief for Pau and maybe play power forward. Look for another big, pg and some young shooters.
Well, Andrew…No Sleep Till Brooklyn.
Jordan played with the best rebounder and defender ever
I meant centers, there, big guy–score-first centers, like Shaq.
Edwin Gueco says
Lets start with the owner, hopefully Dr. jerry Buss will give this team to his daughter, Jeanie Buss and give Jimbo other properties o work on….
Mitch, it’s time to work tomorrow. You heard what Magic Johnson said.
(edited for trade speculation)
Retain Hill, Sessions and Peace. All others should be offered for better and younger players.
Michael H says
Amazing to me that there are so many posts bashing the front office and ownership as if the Cris Paul deal never happened. People there was a good plan in place and Stern shot it down. Geez….
Which of the lakers went fishing on tnt? i turned the tv off after the game.
MWP was eaten by jaws. Bynum had his shirt off and Kobe was in there somewhere.
I hope whoever it was got advice from Barkley about good spots. If anyone knows about going fishing after losing in the playoffs, it is Sir Charles.
The Silver Screen and Roll had a good post I read today titled, “The Lakers are a Broken Model.” Essentially it focused on the idea of Kobe being good enough to carry teams for 4 quarters or to be a closer exclusive of the rest of the team. What it really made me start thinking about was whether or not the Big Three with Two Bigs model is broken. The Thunder are an elite perimeter team with all wing players comprising their Big Three. The Spurs are Duncan, Parker, Ginobili (two wings/one big). Miami is Wade, LeBron, Bosh (same). the Celtics are Garnett, Pierce, Rondo. Philly to the extent they have a big three, are Iggy/Williams/whoever….
One of the reasons Kobe spends so much time with the ball in his hands at the end of games/shot clocks/ is that it’s far easier to keep the ball from bigs than wing guys. The Thunder, much like the Nuggets last series, induced long stretches of ineffective play from our bigs with either fronting or quicker, more physical players. It frustrated me all series that we couldn’t roast the Thunder for putting a fronting Collison on either Pau/Bynum. Credit to the Thunder for executing, and I do think there was some pathetic tactical/execution acquiescing by the Lakers that the coaches and team should be blamed for, but really it’s got me wondering about how much of an advantage it really is against elite teams. It sure seemed like the Thunder got the ball to their guys whenever they needed to, whereas the Lakers were at a loss for pounding it in the post.
I was saddened to see the strain of the Kobe/Pau relationship. As the only 30-somethings in the top 20 minutes leaders in the league, I’d have hoped that their bond was bigger than passive-aggressive media barbs. This is to say nothing of the two championships they won together.
Christmas Day turned out to be all we needed to see from the Lakers this year. They had enough talent and energy to push the elite teams, but they are not among the elite in this league. I was relieved to see them fight hard for the last four games and avoid a total system fail like last year, but that’s small consolation moving forward. I don’t envy Mitch Kupchak.
MWP was without question the most consistent and effective player for the Lakers in this series, and he’s the 4th most talented. When that’s the case, you cannot win against high quality competition. Kobe was courageous tonight, but one drum I’ve been beating is the slippage he’s experienced on defense. He was terrible at that end in this series, and during the season it was noticeable as well. Whether it’s age or having to expend too much energy on O, this is going to be something the Lakers need to address moving forward.
Ugh. I am sick.
Darius, thank you for writing superb articles and moderating the site. Thanks for getting R. R. Megellan and others to write articles for our pleasure and edification.
Looking forward to an end of the season analysis.
How about that Kobe 16 seasons in and he had got 5 dunks in route to scoring 42 points. Could we get him some help. MWP is back and would have helped tremendously, but he was derailed by the suspension. He and Kobe cannot be the only defenders on the team though. Ebanks needs to keep developing and get Michael Cooper to school him on how to play defense, as he has what it takes to be a version of the great Michael Cooper.