Oklahoma City Thunder vs Los Angeles Lakers
Sun Mar 1, 6:30 PM EST – ABC, NBAt, ESPN
Line: OKC -3.5, O/U: 197.0
Staples Center – Los Angeles, CA
The Lakers have won three straight games, their best such streak since December. After beating the Celtics last Sunday, wins against the Jazz and Bucks followed to give the Lakers an undefeated week. If you’re a fan of the Lakers keeping their draft pick this June, this mini-streak likely has you a bit concerned. The Lakers are tied in the loss column with the Magic now and with the Nuggets playing horribly, the 4th through 6th worst records look like they will come down to the final week of the season. The Lakers will be in this mix and all it will take is a combination of some good play and some bad luck on lottery night and the team will be on the outside looking in when it comes to the top of the draft.
Speaking of bad luck, say hello to Sunday’s opponent the Oklahoma City Thunder. OKC has dealt with the injury bug all season and it just continues to nip at their heels. Kevin Durant has been out for the past several games after having another minor surgery on the foot he broke. This put Russell Westbrook front and center, where he thrived as a dominant force in the month of February. But now Westbrook is out too, suffering a broken cheek bone in the team’s last game when he took an inadvertent knee to the face in the closing seconds of the loss to the Blazers.
This means that after facing a Bucks team who was dealing with a remade roster after the trade deadline, the Lakers now face a Thunder group without their top two players. With Russ and KD out, expect them to lean heavily on Serge Ibaka running pick and pops while newcomers Dion Waiters, Enes Kanter, and DJ Augustin try to give the team some offensive balance. In other words, the Lakers are catching a major break in facing this team at this particular moment and have a much better chance of winning this game than they did before Westbrook took that knee to his head.
As for the Lakers, they’ve been playing much more free since the trade deadline passed with Jordan Hill and Jeremy Lin, especially, looking like some weight has been lifted off their shoulders. Combine those two with the steadily improving Jordan Clarkson and the steady Ed Davis and suddenly the team has enough to keep many games competitive and close. This is more true against the bad teams of the league, but what would you call the Thunder without Durant and Russ?
In other words, the Lakers could just end up with their 4th straight win tonight. Which, if you go back to the top of this post, might not be the best team for the organization even if the players on the team would love to make it happen.
Where you can watch: 3:30pm start time on TWC Sportsnet and nationally on ESPN. Also listen on ESPN Radio 710AM Los Angeles.
Ryan Kelly and Kyle Singlar going head to head today. No wonder this game is nationally televised.
bryan S. says
An unanticipated 3 game win streak has taken me from noth’in but blue skies to the blues. Should we lose this pick, I will be forced to join rr and Robert in unyielding condemnation of the FO–perish the thought–but I promise to spare my still optimistic laker fan brethren the sharing of my misery and fade quietly into the purple haze. . .
Why would we want to let Kaman go? He was our worst big last year. We needed him to play as much as possible. As far as Pau goes… If the Suns offered their first round pick he would have been on the Suns. And there is no doubt we would have rather paid Pau that Jordan Hill deal instead. Pau would have put more butts in the seats than Hill.
Harden is quite adroit at getting to his sweet spots on the floor. That move to shake James from the 3pt line to get in the paint was textbook. I’m not sure who’s better off the bounce between him and Curry. And both are MVP candidates this year. Lebron is missing free throws like his 1st and 2nd season. This game is bananas!
He was our worst big last year.
Except in the PHX game where he went off to lead the Lakers to a late, meaningless win, which was the analog to the Nick Young Utah game in Game 81. Kaman also got a two-year deal from a playoff team.
As to Pau and PHX–just Google it. Bresnahan and other guys reported at the time that it got held up because the Lakers wanted a more valuable first-rounder than PHX was willing to give up, but that PHX would have given up a 1st-rounder.
I will be forced to join rr and Robert in unyielding condemnation of the FO–
Just for the record, I have said several times that I think the current FO should get some more time, and of course they are going to get it anyway regardless of what anybody says. And, there are other guys who have started posting recently who are a lot harder on the FO than I am. So I am not in really in Robert’s camp, which wants Jim Buss gone now.
Bryan you can count me with the Robert cry. Any team that has Ryan Kelly and Sacre as their starters has a front office that needs to find new jobs.
bryan S. says
Ko: Those two are doing their job.
rr: Yeah ok, but you get my drift.
rr/bryan S: I appreciate your further documenting my Laker views. I will look back upon this thread fondly a few years from now (hopefully) when my dream comes true.
What’s your dream again? For posterity…
KenOak: I used to have a multi part dream as it pertained to the Laker FO. However I have now decided that I was asking for way too much, and I have worked it down to just one item : )
I thought PHX offered Indiana’s pick for Gasol at the time which would have been a very late 1st round pick. I get the feeling at times the Lakers overvalue their hand and don’t know when to cash their chips when they should. I strongly felt the Lakers should have traded Davis at the dead line for pretty much anything offered. As I pointed out the Lakers schedule is easier then other teams they are competing with for a lottery pick. Dropping a guy like Davis which seems like a small move can have major consequences in the bigger picture of final standings. I see the F.O. as focusing far too much at getting a top tier guy and not paying attention to the small details which can have very dramatic results.
Players are going to play well sometimes. Kaman was our worst big. He had a good game. If I’m trying to lose games I want him on my roster over Pau and Hill
Speaking of Pau… Of course Lakers reporters are going to be leaked info to try and bolster Pau’s trade value.
J C says
I don’t believe a first-rounder was offered for Pau, the news at that time was that all the Lakers were offered was a second-rounder and that’s why he wasn’t moved.
I think the Lakers insisted on getting a first-rounder but were offered only a second-round pick so the team preferred to keep him in case they were able to re-sign him – in the event they missed out on their pipe dreams of Lebron/Melo.
My updated season win-loss projection this year is now at 25-57 or 26-56.
Lakers FO is showing they are too proud to give away players like Davis whom I actually hope they retain. I like his energy and efficiency. He’s this year’s Jordan Hill – whose option I don’t see the team picking up unless they completely strike out in the FA market this summer – again.
And at this point, don’t see a Lin or Boozer buyout coming.
Different things were reported by different sources. Only the team execs know for sure. What people believe tends to track with what they think of the FO. Given that PHX had multiple picks, I find it likely that they offered Indiana’s.
>>>Players are going to play well sometimes. Kaman was our worst big. He had a good game
I have made the first point a few times over the last week or so. But the point is that there was really no point in Kaman’s being on the team at all by that point in the season, and worst big or no, he was and is a lot more likely than Sacre is to blow up on O.
J C says
WAKE ME UP ON DRAFT DAY.
Finally, a rivalry with some (Danny Ainge bite), that Rockets and Cavaliers game was the best game I’ve seen in a while. No one was pals with the other on either team. For that reason, a Houston and Cleveland final would be enjoyable, and I’d probably watch the game. Had Metta kicked LeBron he’d of been suspended till the playoffs. Since it was the darling Harden, he gets one game. LeBron had four assists, but he shot the ball 35 times! What a ball-hog they probably win that game if he trusts his team. I bet the narrative changes for his shots…yes sir!
I tend to believe they would have taken any top 23 ish pick for sure. That’s my guestimation of course.
I want Kaman over Sacre if I’m tanking on my roster. Now… The problem is Scott would have pulled Kaman if he as having the very rare young legs game. MDA was trying to win.
Baylor Fan says
If tanking means playing worse, then it is better to have Sacre at center than Kaman. Kaman has been having a good year for Portland as a big man off the bench. He is playing more minutes than last year and his stats are similar to what he has put up for his career. What you want is more Sacre; only 16 min/game is not getting it done.
There’s something to be said for having a guy who looks like Sasquatch on your favorite team.
That’s what Kaman brought to the Lakers, and what the Blazers have now. Perhaps it’s for the best, since the Pacific North West is Bigfoot’s natural range.
Yes, dear fellow fans, it has come to this. The Lakers are such a total mess, all I can contribute is total drivel. Some may argue that’s ALL I’ve ever offered. Well, now more than ever.
Oh no. Shaw out at Denver. Now we get to listen for the rest of the year and off season to Robert’s subtle comments that Shaw should be brought in.
Shaw will join Fish and Phil in New York.
Shaw will join Fish and Phil in New York.
Scare is ranked 25th amongst Centers with a 0.16 RPM along with a WAR of 1.28 in 16 min a game.
Kaman is ranked 77th amongst Centers with a RPM of -4.43 along with a WAR of -1.40 in 20 min a game.
Chris J says
Shaw will join Fish and Phil in New York.
If so, then Shaw may outlast both Fish and Phil in New York. I said it last year and will say it again — I doubt Fish lasts through his second season under Dolan; maybe he gets into year three, but that’s it.
Phil’s tenure won’t last any longer than that, either. False hope and way-too-lofty exepectations will result in a shorter honeymoon period than they’d get in most other markets.
Dolan’s like a kid chasing a shiny new toy, and NYC fans will only put up with so many Ls before the vitriol rises.
Anonymous: Actually when I wanted Shaw here it wasn’t subtle at all. I stated it directly. He should have been hired instead of Mike Brown. I am not sure who our next coach should be. I just know it should be no earlier than the summer of 16. We have ripped trhough 3 coaches in 4 years, so we need to get the per coach tenure up a bit
Chearn/rr: You are probably correct. This will consolidate all of them in one spot so the anti-Phil crowd only needs to root against the Knicks. Of course they also root against Rockets : ) The later is a team I am rooting for as they are one of the few who can beat you know who : )
the other Stephen says
It’s rather nice seeing KG back in Minnesota.