Quantcast 2012 NBA Western Conference Playoffs: Thunder vs Lakers - Game 1


The Thunder flex their muscles; the Lakers show nothing new



Two main storylines were established going into game one of the Oklahoma City-Lakers matchup in the 2nd round of the NBA playoffs. Those being: 1) will there be a sense of animosity between James Harden and Metta World Peace? And...2) The Lakers are coming off of a seven game series with another young team (the Nuggets). Will they have enough energy to run up and down the court with the Thunder, who easily swept the Mavericks a week and a half ago?

While the starting lineups were announced, by no surprise, Metta World Peace was booed. This coming after his seven game suspension after elbowing James Harden in the head during a previous game, where the Lakers prevailed in double OT. On the contrary of the boos, the fans gave James Harden a warm welcome as he was announced into the game during the 1st quarter.

I guess it comes down to an opinion to answer the latter of the “headlines”. We could, as usual, blame the lack of energy by the Lakers, because they were coming off a seven-game series. Obviously, it has some to do with it- but if you watched the game Monday night, it does not take an intelligent basketball mind to see the energy, or lack of, shown by the Lakers.

I’ll say this once: Steve Blake cannot, and I mean cannot guard Russell Westbrook or James Harden. It was shown on multiple occasions the quickness of the two guards overpowers the, what I like to think, Steve Blake that seems to be playing subconsciously on the court.

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The final score, Thunder 119, Lakers 90, sure doesn’t sit well with Laker fans around the world. Mike Brown has already been rumored about a possible firing, although it has been denied by the Lakers’ organization. Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol have the potential to be the two best low-post players in the game. Bynum came to play on the offensive side, going for a 20-14. Gasol has a tendency to shut it off during games, and leave the Lakers with only two options. Kobe and Andrew. It worked against the star-lacking Nuggets. It won’t work against the star-driven Thunder.

Game two of the series will take place Wednesday, May 16th at the Chesapeake Energy Arena. Game one has shown what the Thunder can exploit of the Lakers. If the Lakers want any chance at making this series competitive, much less winning it, they will have to play better perimeter defense, and show a sense of urgency on help-side defense. Two years ago, the Lakers beat the Thunder in a competitive series. As Arash Markazi (covers basketball for ESPNLA) tweeted late Monday night, “The Lakers thought the Thunder were a good challenge 2 years ago. Well, they’re all grown up now.” Grown up, meaning 24 or younger. This Thunder team is dangerous. If Monday night showed anything, they want to make the same statement to the Lakers as they made to the Mavericks in the 1st round.




By: Jacob Anstey
Pro Basketball Fans Staff Writer

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