Lakers/Thunder Game 5: Lakers Gone Fishin’

Andrew Upshaw

The Thunder are better than the Lakers. By a wide margin. They let the Lakers hang around for 2 and a half quarters before Russell Westbrook decided to destroy Ramon Sessions forever. From there this game was over. I don’t even know what the hell happened after that. I blacked out and the Lakers were down 15. Kobe scored 40 but had 0 assists. He also yelled at Pau Gasol like 30 times even though Pau had a decent game. Andrew Bynum was M.I.A. and that sucks. He looked tired. He looks tired a lot. Hell I felt tired just watching him. Mike Brown had an interesting line-up out there. Matt Banres, who I like, didn’t play a second. Instead Devin Ebanks, who no one likes played. Pau Gasol played the entire game.  I’m not saying Mike Brown did a bad job. If he coached perfect the Thunder still would have won, because they’re better. If the lakers had won both game 2 and 4 they could have won the series, but that still would have been hard and they would have lost to the Spurs anyway. The Lakers had no answer for Russell Westbrook who dominated the series. Kevin Durant did his thang again tonight and James Harden did his.

The only drama down the stretch was between Kobe and his teammates. I was half-expecting Pau Gasol to snap and punch Kobe in the face. What else is there to say about this laker team. They came out and tried hard at first, and then they got their asses kicked. In fact the Lakers got their asses kicked at crucial times in every game they lost to OKC. People are gonna talk bad about Bynum and Gasol now and I guess they have a point. There are also points to be made on behalf on Andrew and Pau. Mike Brown played these guys and Kobe a ridiculous amount of minutes this season. John Hollinger a great writer for ESPN, wondered earlier today if the Lakers were out of gas. Gasol and Bynum looked out of gas at various points this postseason. Kobe looked gassed until he vowed to never, ever run back on defense after turnovers. Savvy move, Kobe.

People will look to trade Gasol and Bynum for Dwight Howard or Chris Paul or Wilt Chamberlain’s ghost. I don’t know man but  The lakers relied on their big three a lot during the regular season and never had a set rotation. Mike Brown was tinkering around with the Laker’s rotation TONIGHT. The Spurs know who they are at this point, so do the Thunder. I don’t think The Lakers had enough time to really make things click and find the chemistry needed to win a championship. They tried. Last year’s lakers gave up against Dallas but this year’s team just wasn’t good enough. They didn’t have enough shooting or spacing, lacked perimeter defense, and didn’t get many transition or easy baskets. Those are a lot of flaws and none of them can be attributed to Pau or Andrew. Kobe looked great at times this year and old at others, sometimes within the same game.

You have to give The Thunder credit. They answered the call at every big moment of the series. The Thunder-Spurs series is gonna be great. I still like the Spurs win it though. I like the Spurs to win everything. The Spurs are the anti-Lakers starting with Tim Duncan as bizarro-Kobe. Tim likes to encourage his teammates and he’s easy-going but intense. Kobe likes to yell. The Spurs have three stars on their team but the rest of the team complements them perfectly. The lakers played Devin Ebanks and Steve Blake extended minutes in an elimination game. The Spurs play a completely unselfish brand of basketball that stresses ball movement. The lakers do sometimes, but when things don’t succeed immediately Kobe starts jacking up shots.  Their coach, Gregg Popivich rests their top players Duncan and Ginobili as much as possible during the regular season in order to keep them fresh for the playoffs. Mike Brown is confused at this strategy. When the spurs lose a playoff series they don’t blame each other and immediately look to trade which ever member has failed them. If that were true they would have blown their core in 2008. The lakers already blew up their core when they traded Odom.  Andrew Bynum, Pau and Kobe couldn’t get it done this year, and because Pau and Bynum had a few bad playoff games people will want the Lakers to blow shit up again. Kobe had bad games in the playoffs too. Kobe’s mess-ups in game 2 lost The Lakers the game and he went 2-10 in the 4th quarter in game 4. So save me the Kobe needs better teammates shit unless you’re talking about Steve Blake or Devin Ebanks. As I’m writing this I saw Gasol’s sad-ass interview. If he leaves I’ll be sad.  So to sum it up I think the laker need to work on themselves a bit and take a break from basketball. They need to look at the Spurs and copy their every move. Better role players and more shooting. Also, less minutes for the old guys and yeah Bynum’s old too. Dude has mad gray hair. That kind of improvement won’t be easy with the lakers luxury tax situation so a trade or two isn’t out of the question. But if the Lakers don’t surround their stars with good role players they’ll find themselves in the same spot next year.

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1 Comment

  1. Very solid article and awesome photo. It’s amazing what a difference 1 year will make. Last year the Dallas Mavericks took advantage of the inexperienced OKC and now the Thunder just trounced both them and the Lakers. Although they did it in only 9 games I guess you could say that both series could have been a lot closer but the Thunder’s growth over the past year is still unbelievable. They have made themselves into one of the very best teams in the NBA and it’s going to be a real interesting series with San Antonio. Youth vs. Experience. The ultimate matchup. Also, you think you could take a gander over at my blog post because I would absolutely love to hear what you have to say http://chrisross91.wordpress.com/2012/05/22/cant-build-around-bynum/

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