Los Angeles Lakers Searching for Answers

Lakers to be Left in the Dust by Thunder

5/16/12 in NBA   |   AJ_88   |   166 respect

Fresh off a Game Seven victory at home against the Denver Nuggets, the Los Angeles Lakers hopped on a plane to face a well-rested Thunder team less than 48 hours later only to suffer one of their worst losses in postseason history, 119-90. Entering halftime facing a 15 point deficit, the Lakers appeared old and out of breath.  Without the youth and athleticism to chase Russell Westbrook on the perimeter, the Lakers were left searching for an in-game adjustment that never arrived. The third quarter proved fatal for a Lakers team that simply had nothing in the tank. 

The Thunder outscored the Lakers 39-24 in that third period to build a 30 point lead heading into the fourth quarter. Although their inner-city mates had erased a 27 point lead in Game One of their first round series on the road, this one needed the kind implementation of the 'Mercy Rule'. The bad then turned to ugly. Devin Ebanks was slapped with a technical foul for excessive contact after a whistle, then said something to the referee out of anger and was then ejected. But he didn't stop there.  On his way to the locker room he knocked over a bench chair and removed his jersey ala Andrew Bynum in last years playoff sweep at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks. 

May 14, 2012; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant reacts to action against the Oklahoma City Thunder during the second half in game one of the Western Conference semifinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena.  Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-US PRESSWIREKobe Bryant is a bonafide superstar. But the immaturity of his teammates and his ineffective coaching staff do not allow for this team to be successful. With the most talented front court in the league, one would think they would utilize their strengths more often.  Pau Gasol is one of the most gifted passing big-men in the game. A simple high-low exchange between him and Bynum can lift this team from the ground because together they are too dominant on the inside for anyone to handle. Kobe understands.  He knows where their advantage lies and he will continue to feed them in order for the game to slow down to a more comfortable pace for the Lakers. 

If the flow of this game continues to benefit the Thunder, the Lakers have no chance at defeating them. The Thunder also got to the free throw line 29 times to the Lakers 15. Not one Thunder starter played more than 29 minutes in Game 1. The last thing you want to provide a young, athletic team is the ability to rest their legs. 

All the hoopla surrounding the acquisition of Ramon Sessions at the trade deadline has quickly quieted as he has yet to prove he can be effective in the postseason.  This being his first trip to the playoffs in his young career, the moment has proved to be too large thus far, placing the pressure back onto Kobe Bryant - which is exactly why the Lakers rid themselves of Derek Fisher for a younger, speedy PG: to alleviate some of the pressure placed on Kobe's aging body in the playoffs. He went 1-7 in Game One, contributing 2 points, 3 assists and 1 turnover. 
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5/17/12   |   derms33   |   17645 respect

Robert Blake >Steve Blake....Thanks @notbillwalton