Forum Blue & Gold: It’s funny how a loss can plant seeds of doubt into the minds of fans and media. In game three, the Lakers pretty much controlled the game until the closing minutes of the third quarter when they allowed a run that made the game a dog fight for final 12 minutes. In that closing period, the Lakers still fought hard, but a very good OKC team made the key plays and were carried to the finish line by the momentum that comes from a fantastic home crowd. By no means am I trying to discount the Thunder as a team or knock their credibility as a worthy foe. But, if the first three games have shown me anything it’s that the Lakers are the superior team that just needs to play with discipline and smarts for longer stretches of the game. The Thunder players have that youthful exuberance and the athleticism that comes with it, but the Lakers themselves are no slouches physically and if they’re able to establish a consistent focus they can find themselves one step closer to clinching this series after tonight. The question as always is will they do what they know is necessary to take home a win or will they only do what’s needed for stretches?
And the Lakers know what they need to do. From the beginning of this series we’ve talked about adjustments and after game 3 we revisited the topic. The X’s and O’s of this series couldn’t be more clear, it’s the dedication to and execution of them that needs to be better woven into the minds of the Lakers. And really, that’s what this series has turned into. The Thunder are a team that will not quit. They won’t get down on themselves because the score board doesn’t show them in the lead and they won’t roll over because the outcome of the game is in doubt. If anything, these circumstances only make them fight harder and push further to try and turn the game in their favor. As I mentioned above, the Lakers have all the physical talent that they’ll need, it’s the mental aspects of the game that will need to be called upon if they are to prevail. In a sense, they need to be as strong mentally in sticking to their plan as the Thunder have been when trying to dig themselves out of holes. If the Lakers can sustain focus and not go away from what works, Thunder runs will be squelched and control of the game will remain in LA’s favor. But, if the Lakers don’t do this, they’ll again find themselves in a close games at the end that can swing in the other team’s direction.