Game 1: Los Angeles at Oklahoma City
That was gross. The Oklahoma City Thunder came out and out-scored the Lakers by 7 points in the 1st quarter, 8 points in the 2nd quarter and 15 points in the 3rd quarter. Heading into the 4th quarter with a 30 point lead, I turned it off. I’m glad I did because it was the only quarter the Lakers won, by 1.
Just two days after their game 7 victory over Denver in Los Angeles, the Lakers got overwhelmed by the younger, faster and stronger Oklahoma City. We could call this the massacre or the Los Angeles massacre, or the beginning of Battlefield Los Angeles with the Lakers as humanity and the Thunder as the Aliens. Because the aliens kicked the shit out of the marines until Aaron Eckhart’s character, Staff Sargent Michael Nantz, saves the day. There was no Michael Nantz for the Lakers. No hope at all; they were destroyed by a Thunder team poised to take the final step.
Russell Westbrook shredded Ramon Sessions and LA, shooting 10 for 15 on his way to 29 points; he also flirted with a triple-double accruing 9 assists and 7 rebounds in just 27 minutes. Kevin Durant was almost as efficient shooting 8 for 16 for 25 points in 29 minutes. James Harden also had 17 off the bench, but stats aren’t where the story is told because Kobe was 7 for 18 for 20 points. Andrew Bynum was 7 for 12 for 20 points and 14 rebounds. Regardless of the numbers, the Lakers starters were dominated by the Thunder starters. It’s that simple.
The Lakers couldn’t hang with the Thunder’s offense. Thabo Sefolosha handled Kobe Bryant pretty well, and if Kobe got past him, the Thunder help defense was incredible at sliding over. Speaking of which, Ibaka totally took Pau out of his comfort zones; Pau isn’t used to a player of Ibaka’s size able to come out and defend him on the long jumper, but also quick enough to recover in time to defend the drive.
After the game, Kobe Bryant gamely answered questions, but one of his last answers was as ominous as it was disdainful. A reporter, it sounds like JA Adande, asked him whether “[The Lakers] Can you guard them?” Kobe said “No,” but I’m not sure if he was being ironic or not. Maybe he doesn’t know either.
I don’t know where the Lakers go from here. Game 2 is on Wednesday, but then the Lakers fly home for game 3 on Firday and game 4 on Saturday. They could be done by this weekend, just a quick week after their game 7 salvation. I have no doubt Kobe will do everything in his power to stop that from happening, but like Dallas last year, the Lakers had no answer for most of what the Thunder threw at them. I don’t see how they can fix all their disadvantages in time. I don’t see this seris going further than a game 5 or possibly a game 6. It’s only the first game, but it might be over Saturday in LA. That’s how dominant the Thunder looked and how exposed the Lakers seemed. I doubt Mike Brown will figure it out in time.
Final: OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER 119 - Los Angeles Lakers 90