The Los Angeles Lakers squandered a huge opportunity to steal Game 2 on the road, losing to the Oklahoma City Thunder 77-75.
Up by seven points with 2 minutes left in a gritty matchup, the Lakers allowed the Thunder to go on an 8-0, thanks to turnovers, a Black Mamba disappearing act to end the ball game, and Steve Blake’s Derek Fisher impersonation gone wrong (missing a 3-point attempt that would have given the Lakers a lead with only a couple seconds left
in the game).
Kobe Bryant had 20 points, but couldn’t turn into his alter ego down stretch when the Lakers needed him the most. He turned it over on an inbounds pass, missed two forced shots, and was apart of a another Laker turnover that capped off the Lakeshow implosion in the last two minutes of the ball game.
Andrew Bynum had another solid game, scoring 20 points, to go along with 9 rebounds. He left some points out their as well, but he was doubled a lot, and OKC weak-side defenders altered a number of his attempts, so I’ll digress. Pau Gasol had a double-double, with 14 points and 11 rebounds, but had he scored 20 or at least 18 points, the Lakers could have held off the late Thunder surge. The reality of the matter, is that is was a mixture of a last minute implosion by the Lakers, and the ball bouncing the right way for the Thunder.
Now here’s the good news for Laker Nation. The 29-point blowout in Game 1 was merely an aberration, and the Lakers showed they have the capability of beating this team. They slowed down Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant for most of the game, and if it weren’t for a couple of tough lay-ups by James Harden at the end of the game, he would have been a non-factor as well. Bottom line, Game 2 gave the Lakers a blue-print on how to beat OKC, by slowing them down, being more physical and forcing them to play more in their half-court set, rather than their typical “run & gun” style of play.
After seeing the recipe to beat this team in action, the Lakeshow must take care of home-court, in a bizarre back-to-back Game 3 and Game 4 scenario being played on Friday and Saturday. They must jump out on OKC early, their Big Three must be dominant, and their role players should be more effective playing in the Staples Center.
In the words of the “Kobe System”, they must “attack fast and strong”, because simply put, it’s now or never for the Lakeshow.
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Written by Arthur Kai