Monday, May 21, 2012

Thoughts on... The OKC Thunder Beating the LA Lakers 4-1

OKC wins Games 5 106-90 and the series 4 games to 1.
Hey there.  Tonight, the young guns took out the veteran dogs.  The OKC Thunder has taken out the Los Angeles Lakers from the NBA Playoffs.  Aside from Game 1, an OKC blowout, this has been a hard fought battle.  Each game decided in the final minutes in the 4th qtr.  It was essentially what NBA fans want to see.  Star players going at each other trying to will their team to victory.  Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden took it to Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Andrew Bynum.  The problem for the Lakers?  Kobe was the only one that showed up to play most of the series.  Here are my thoughts on the OKC defeating the LA Lakers in the NBA Playoffs.

First off, congrats to the Thunder.  You guys deserved the win.  They fought for the loose balls, they capitalized on Lakers mistakes, and made the game winners when the Lakers just couldn't.  Many NBA fans will say it's the tired legs of the older team not being able to keep up with the younger team.  I say that the Thunder just wanted it more.  The Lakers took out the Thunder in a grueling 7 game series a few years ago and the Thunder were looking for redemption.  The Lakers on the other hand, seemed to have been mailing it in.  Why?  I'm not so sure.  Pau Gasol didn't show up until Game 5, after Kobe put the Game 4 loss squarely on Gasol's shoulders.  Where was the dominant center that showed flashes of brilliance during the regular season?  Bynum didn't crash the boards with the force that he's shown.  I don't know if he just needs to have a fire lit under his ass so that he can come out and perform.  And what about the "younger, faster" Derek Fisher replacement, Ramon Sessions?  He was so timid in this series that it was a surprise when he finally decided to drive to the basket and help facilitate the offense.  But you can't wait til Game 4 to decide to play.  The Laker team just didn't bring it.  Was there turmoil in the locker room?  Did Kobe push his teammates too hard?  Where was the fire that should have fueled Gasol (soft player), Bynum (best big man in the game), and Sessions  (first ever playoffs)?
Kobe:  Guys... the game started like 2 hours ago!!!
Then there is Mike Brown, the Lakers coach.  Can he be the one to blame for the Lakers losing to the Thunder?  You can't pin this loss on the coach.  First off, he is replacing Phil Jackson, the man with the most championships as a head coach in NBA history.  It will always be tough to fill in the shoes of a hall of fame coach.  Then there was the lockout during the summer and fall.  No practice.  No contact.  No implementation of a new system.  Coach Mike Brown had no prep time to help coerce this team into a solid unit.  His system was learned on the fly and because the team didn't have time to learn Mike Brown's system, part of the triangle offense that Phil Jackson stuck around as a form of familiarity.  It's not an ideal system to run.  You want that prep time to teach the team how to play together and you can't play together when you can't even practice.  If anything, Mike Brown was able to keep this team together long enough to make a run.  With the Gasol and Odom trade for Chris Paul being struck down by the commissioner, tension was high throughout the season among players.  Gasol seemed to have been trade bait up until the trade deadline, Lamar Odom's feelings were too hurt to play for the Lakers anymore, and we were all surprised when Derek Fisher was dealt in the final hour of the trade deadline.  Even with all the shuffling of players and reworking his system to work with the players that he had, Mike Brown did well enough to deserve a full offseason to work with the team.

The Fisher trade hurts more than anyone would like to admit.  We love Fisher.  The man may not fill up the box score like he used to but you cannot deny that he was a strong voice in that locker room and helped guide new players.  And let's not forget how clutch he has been for the Lakers.  Especially in the playoffs.  It was a leadership that we desperately lacked this postseason.  Kobe is motivator in his own right but he's also the guy that will lead by example.  Fisher would lead more with his words.  He knew how to listen and how to talk to teammates to build a tight unit.  You can clearly see that during this series with the Thunder.  Kobe clearly put the blame on Gasol for a loss.  Fisher would have put the loss on the team more than an individual.
Congrats to you Kevin Durant and the OKC Thunder
Don't get me wrong, friends.  The OKC Thunder clearly beat the Lakers.  There is no what ifs or anything like that in this post.  I'm simply trying to make sense of what the hell happened.  lol  The Thunder played better and kicked our butts.  They made the plays when it counted and Kobe and the Lakers could not.  Good luck against the Spurs.  They have yet to lose in these playoffs and they are one well oiled machine.  Coach Gregg Popovich will have them ready.  It sucks that my Lakers are no longer in the playoffs, but that doesn't mean that we won't be in store for one hell of a Western Conference Finals.  Later!

2 comments:

Great post! I'm a Lakers fan until the end!

Hey there Tara. It sucks that they had an early exit this year but we'll reload and be ready next season! Lakers for life!

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