Pregame Report: Lakers vs. Thunder

Photo by Harry How I Getty Images

The (55-24) Los Angeles Lakers are at Staples Center to host the (53-26) Oklahoma City Thunder. Tonight’s game is the third of the three game season series. The Lakers have taken the two previous games. However, this is the first time that Kendrick Perkins will be in the line up for the Thunder

Just last week the Lakers, appeared to be poised to overtake the Spurs for the top spot in the West pulling to within 1 ½ games. They’re now fighting to hold onto the number two seed. They have become a complete paradox of that group.

With three games to play, they have a one-game lead over the third-place Mavericks, two games over the fourth-place Thunder and holds the tiebreaker against both.

After witnessing the four-game skid, we need to put out an ‘A.P.B. (All Points Bulletin, for those who don’t know)’ on the post All-Star break Lakers team or feature them on the long running CBS show ‘Without A Trace’ because their disappearance is a mystery. Wait. CBS gave that show the axe, which is exactly what the Lakers need to do to their lethargic play as of late.

A win tonight and the Lakers clinch the second seed. They need to break out of this funk, snap the losing streak and start to build some momentum for the post-season.

The Lakers must play hard, their effort, energy, focus and execution has to return to an acceptable level. They have been turning the ball too much, an alarming 69 during the four-game losing skid. They have averaged 18.3 turnovers during the skid. The Thunder beat the Nuggets 104-89 on Friday and forced Denver into 19 turnovers.

The most important task for the Lakers is to take care of the ball. Thunder wants to get out in transition and use their speed and athleticism to create easy scoring opportunities. It is necessary that the Lakers control the tempo of the game, communicate on defense, and stop the dribble penetration of Russell Westbrook and do a solid job defending the screen and roll play.

It is imperative that the Lakers get back in transition, defend, limit the Thunder to one shot per possession, rebound and quickly rotate out to open shooters. The addition of Kendrick Perkins gives the Thunder a formidable front line. To win, the Lakers have to play a mistake free game and do something that they have not done in a week, out-work their opponent.

The Lakers front line needs to be show up big tonight. They have to use excellent ball movement and excellent player movement to find a high percentage shot close to the basket. Also, they need to start their offense on the interior and provide Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom and Ron Artest enough touches to dominate.

This writer wants to see the Lakers aggressively attack the rim early and often as opposed to shooting jump shots.  The aggression should allow the Lakers to score easy baskets, get the Thunder’s big men in foul trouble and earn trips to the free throw line. It is imperative that they knock down their free throws. In their last game, the Lakers lost to the Blazers 93-86. They could have snapped the streak by knocking down seven free throws.

Starters
Lakers: D. Fisher, K. Bryant, R. Artest, P. Gasol, Andrew Bynum
Thunder:
R. Westbrook, T. Sefolosha, K. Durant, S. Ibaka, K. Perkins

Tip-off: 6:30 PM

Television -

  • Los Angeles: FS West (Joel Myers & Stu Lantz)
  • Oklahoma City: FS Oklahoma (Brian Davis & Grant Long)

Radio -

  • Los Angeles: 710 ESPN (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
  • Oklahoma City: 640 AM & 98.1 FM (Matt Pinto)

Injuries -

Lakers:

  • Kobe Bryant (Sprained Left Ankle) Will Play
  • Devin Ebanks (Stress Fracture, Left Tibia) Out
  • Pau Gasol (Bone Bruise, Right Knee) Day-to-Day
  • Theo Ratliff (Left Knee Surgery) Questionable

Thunder:

None

Jeff Little is the pre-game writer for LakerNation.com. Follow him on Twitter.
  • Gugy

    Lakers need to win this and make sure we have HCA over Boston.
    I don’t care for the Spurs, Heat and the Bulls.

  • bbz62

    this game actually kinda matters since we’ll prob see okc in the p_offs. i hope our fellas in the purp and gold feel the same way.

  • rondo

    No game.

  • patrick

    WE NEED THIS NOW WE HAVE TO WIN OUR LAST TWO AND DALLAS HAVE TOO WIN THEIR LAST TWO. AND SHAT UP LAKERLAND_NOSTRADAMUS YOU NOTHING NOTHING AND YOUR CRYSTAL BALL IS MELTING

  • lakers

    WOOWWW, WTF! we needed this winn!!!! it messes everything up and the lakers are probably gonna lose to the spurs tooo! ughhh

  • patrick

    ITS OVER

  • John

    Los Loosers!!! Keeping the streak going. I’m glad to see that the guards are just dominant on defense. Thanks Phil for the 5 championships, enjoy retirement.

    • lakers

      okay now, your freaking out a little tooo muchh……

  • i0ioooooi0i

    this loss is on kobe. he is just terrible to end games right now. complete 180 from last year.

    • lakers

      he gets alot of turnovers because of his fingers ughhh

      • NoDefense

        durant had five.

  • juanv

    this doesnt lookk good wbat the hell happened to shannon brown this guy hasnt made a three since december I cant believe a guy who all he does all day is play basketball cant defend or shoot I cant believe we kept this piece of shit over sasha . Mitch dropped the ball on this guy lst him walk asoon as the season ends and as for fisher he needs to retire westbrook put some led in his ass today .

  • Odom the player

    Remember the good old days when our hero Kobe Bryant use to come through for us, well those are good memories because those days are gone. Dick Fisher was up to his old tricks again driving to the basket throwing the ball up getting blocked as usual, or throwing bricks up all over the place, or watching every other point guard he’s playing fly past him. Steve Fake actually hit 3 shots tonight so he’s done for the year making shots. This team continues giving up open shot after shot, and can’t rebound missed shots. Don’t forget every game down the stretch have been meaningful games, but don’t tell this sorry team that. Hard to see this team doing anything in the post season. it was good while it lasted. 5 game losing streak and counting how pathetic.

  • lakers

    we just really need to win the game on tuesdayy!

  • Chi-Town Walt

    Terrible game. WHERE DID THE DEFENSE GO!?116 POINTS 2 THE THUNDER!!!!!

    • NoDefense

      32 pts were free throws

  • Chi-Town Walt

    Correction 120 Points 2 da thunder!!

  • j.crack

    A few things.
    1. LO seems more interested in his new show right now than playing defense & doing his real job. He needs to drive more but now he takes way too many jumpshots.
    2. Shannon Brown married Monica & since then his game has been the worst since hes joined LA. Wow hes a terrible defender & his IQ is horrible. Is one of the coaches telling him thats its ok to keep shooting contested fadeaways? haha dude thinks he can take any shot he wants. Hes so bad now that Phil pulled him early & put in Luke instead hahaha
    3. The defense is terrible right now. Wayyyy too many easy points. It seems like they cant even get a stop right now & when they do they just turn the ball over the next possession. The next 2 games are must win. Hopefully things change. A 5 game losing streak right now is ridicuolous.

  • Wilt

    Whatev Lakers kinda sucked at the end of last season too they also lost to thunder last season towards the end. Maybe history is repeating itself. I certainly hope so cuz they are playing like absolute garbage.

  • 123kid

    its like pullin out the bandaid. just pull it off already and move on. the anticipation of the playoffs is like lets just forget about the last two games and just start the playoffs tomorrow. but either way I hope the lakers come out big the last two games and finish the regular season strong. from watchin the miami game, spoelstra said to his team to treat the last few games like a mini playoff series. So if the lakers can treat the last two games like a playoff run through then DO IT. Im sure SA isnt gonna wanna lose tuesday so they can keep the best record, so thats something to play hard for. And im sure Sac wants to leave the last home game with a bang, so why not leave sactown with a sour taste in their mouths.

  • NoDefense

    Blake was hitting his shots tonight,why didnt phil let him play more.

  • Luke Sucks

    There is never a time or reason for Luke to be on the court. His entrance into the game signaled impending doom so the loss was not a complete surprise. When will Phil realize that Luke is complete garbage.