Sometimes you’re the boot, sometimes you’re the butterfly: Westbrook gets stepped on by Kobe, as the prehistoric Lakers go back in time and ‘bury OKC 111-87, to alter the future and give fans a Ray of hope
Is this the NBA, or is it Science-Fiction? Is Home Court Advantage really worth 45 points? Is Oklahoma City in an alternate universe? Another dimension?
Things got back on the right path on Tuesday night, as L.A. crushed Oklahoma City in Staples Center, 111-87. The 24-point win, which wasn’t that close, comes on the heels of a 21-point loss in OKC, and the 45-point shift gives the Lakers a 3-2 lead in the Best-of-7 Series.
Apparently, the much-older Lakers took advantage of the two-day rest. They came out with superior energy right from the start, jumping out to a 10-0 lead and forcing the Thunder to miss their first dozen shots. A key to the Defensive improvement was Kobe Bryant’s REQUEST to personally guard Point Guard Russell Westbrook. The UCLA star had been killing the Lakers, by abusing Derek Fisher’s Man-to-Man Defense, and Jordan Farmar didn’t fare much better. But Kobe is arguably the best defender in the game, and he was able to put the clamps on him. Westbrook’s team was already in a 14-point hole before he finally made a basket. The double-digit lead just kept expanding, as the Lakers were hot, and the Thunder was not, but kept forcing up bad shots anyway. Their deficit was 21 at Halftime, and it never got any closer.
Kobe made only FOUR Field Goals in the entire game, choosing to be a facilitator instead (and he didn’t play in the 4th Quarter). Kobe dished out a game-high 7 Assists, as the Lakers kept pounding it inside to Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, who both played with much more aggression, and both enjoyed much more success. Gasol went for 25 and 11, while Bynum tallied 21 and 11, with a higher percentage of Bynum’s points coming before the game was decided. And Gasol showed off his graceful athleticism quite a bit, as the Lakers cruised with a lead hovering around 30. Farmar also shined with the big lead, scoring 14 and hitting both of his three-pointers (after missing them all in Game 4). Farmar also had a beautiful Steal, which he converted with a Fast Break lay-up. To be unbiased, he also had an unforced Turnover, ZERO Assists, and gave up an open jumper on a missed Defensive assignment, but thanks to 100% 3-pt. shooting, Game 5 COULD be the game to snap Farmar back into Championship form.
The “over-the-hill” Lakers were the quicker team, outhustling and outrebounding the Thunder, and completely STUFFING the Thunder’s Fast Break, which had been the Series equalizer so far. Phil Jackson did a good job of getting everyone, including Kobe, on the same page. The Lakers have a massive INSIDE advantage against the Thunder, and on Tuesday night, they took advantage of it. Gasol has a mis-match with Jeff Green, and when Ron Artest goes inside, he has the upper hand as well. Artest had his best Offensive game yet, by working inside, and then coming outside with renewed confidence. Artest ended with 14 Points on 6-11 shooting, and he also added 5 Assists. Gasol also had 5 Assists, as the Lakers’ sharing of the ball was markedly improved over the two road games.
The under-the-hill Thunder just came out too excited, and too rushed. They were NOT sharing the ball — Instead, they were forcing shots and going one-on-one, to no avail. Coach Scott Brooks saw all of this and tried to calm them down, but by the time they settled down, the game was over.
Now, all the Laker fans who were panicking and calling them dinosaurs have supreme confidence in a Game 7 victory, and are starting to calm down themselves. Don’t bury the Lakers just yet. You CAN bury ex-trojan Taj Gibson, as he, Joakim Noah, and the Chicago Bulls got eliminated by Cleveland last night.
But don’t bury the Bosworths just yet. Although not drafted, Kyle and Korey both signed with NFL Teams, as did three other undrafted Bruins. Kyle signed with ex-trojan Jack Del Rio’s Jaguars, while Korey went to Denver, Reggie Carter signed with Pete Carroll’s Seahawks, Chane Moline joined Raider Nation, and Logan Paulsen joined Donovan McNabb in Washington. In addition, two Bruins were invited for try-outs: Ryan Moya, by Cleveland, and Nick Ekbatani, by St. Louis. That could be the last time you’ll here about most of these guys here, because I’m not going to publicize it if they get cut. Hopefully, they’ll all become big stars and I’ll be writing about them all the time… but with any luck, Carter’s success will come when he’s playing for a different Coach.