Happy 73rd Birthday to long-time Lakers fan Jack Nicholson!

As expected, the Lakers held the home court advantage by taking the first two games of the series. The venue switches from the bright lights of Los Angeles to Oklahoma City, home of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum; a city said to have the best of the historic Old West and the vibrant energy of Bricktown, the city’s lively entertainment district.

In my opinion game three is the most pivotal game of the series. It doesn’t matter what happened in the first two games, meaning this game has to be approached as all important because of the significance and advantage gained by coming out with a win. When the series started, I felt that game three was the one game that the Thunder had the best chance of winning due to being able to feed off of raucous home crowd.

The game plan for the Lakers remains the same; get the ball inside to Pau Gasoland& Andrew Bynum in the painted area, take care of the ball, and get back in transition to limit the Thunder’s points in transition. The Lakers accomplished part of the game plan by taking care of the ball and holding the Thunder to 11 fastbreak points in game two.

The Thunder packed the painted area and disrupted the Lakers big men from dominating and the Lakers were slow to adjust. We saw a healthier Kobe Bryant score 39 points, 25 in the second half, take over the game in the fourth quarter, and allow the Lakers to escape with a win. This wasn’t a surprise to the Lakers Nation, to be honest there isn’t anything Kobe can do to surprise us anymore, it will simply adds to the legacy of the Hall of Famer to be also known as the Black Bamba.

It is imperative that the Lakers play this game with a high level of energy, a sense of urgency and execution. Kobe and Pau combined for 64 points. However, Ron Artest, Andrew Bynum, Derek Fisher, and Lamar Odom scored a grand total of 20 points. That type of production is unacceptable, it is imperative that these veterans have a greater impact on the outcome of the game.

Head Coach Phil Jackson has challenged Lamar Odom to step his game up and be more aggressive, I believe this will be a breakout game for him. The Lakers need to make it a point to get back in transition, stop the dribble penetration, control the tempo, knock down their free throws, take care of the ball, and run their offense using excellent ball movement as well as excellent player movement to find a high percentage shot. The Lakers also have to continue to attack the basket on every opportunity despite the Thunder posting an impressive 17 blocked shots.

Ron Artest is doing a solid job of defending Kevin Durant and making him work hard for his points, but he needs to stop shooting three point shots and look to score in the post. The Lakers reserves outscored the Thunder reserves 15 – 12, but the reserves need to contribute more. The Lakers can take can really push the young and talented Thunder team to the breaking point with a win tonight.

Every series in the Western Conference is tied, except this one, and hopefully by the end of the night that statement will remain true.

Tip-off: 6:30 PM PST

Television

  • Los Angeles: TNT & KCAL 9 (Joel Myers & Stu Lantz)
  • Oklahoma City: TNT & FS Oklahoma (Brian Davis & Grant Long)

Radio

Los Angeles: AM570 KLAC (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)

Oklahoma City: 640 AM & 98.1 FM (Matt Pinto)

Injuries

Lakers:

  • Ron Artest (Left Heel Bruise/Sprained Left Thumb)
  • Shannon Brown (Sprained Right Thumb)
  • Kobe Bryant (Avulsion Fracture, Right Index Finger)
  • Andrew Bynum (Left Achilles Strain)
  • Sasha Vujacic (Severely Sprained Left Ankle) Out
  • Luke Walton (Pinched Nerve, Back)
  • Jordan Farmar (Strained Hamstring)
  • D.J. Mbenga ( Eye Surgery)

Thunder:

  • Nenad Kristic ( Bruised Knee) Listed as Day-to-Day
  • Anthony

    One of two Lakers team will show up. The one we have not seen all. That team will play with a swagger to them. Their passing will be crisp and bonehead plays will be few and far in between.

    However, I think we will see the team that comes out without purpose and shows little heart. OKC rips the Lakers and the announcers, along with analysts make the Thunder out to be more than the are and the Lakers fall lower than they already are from the Cavs.

    Care to disagree?

    • LakerMarc

      I disagree but also agree to an extent. At this point we can say which Lakers team arrived at the game, the tough team with some heart but it was interwoven with the piece of shit one, too, and the shit team let this one slip away. OKC didn’t win it, The Lakers lost it. THAT MUCH WAS AS CLEAR AS THE FACT THAT OKC IS JUST A BUNCH OF HILLBILLY WTPT.

  • anonymousss

    the lakers had it. i dont understand why they deferred from pau late in the game and went with the kobe threes. i mean really? i understand kobe is a man among boys but throughout the course of the game, kobe took a long jumper – missed, come back down for the next possession and turn the ball over and do not even hustle back.

    pau was very good once again and d fish stepped up with his shots. LO relied on the threes as did kobe.

    shooting 1- 9 or 10 in the fourth quarter clearly means kobe is struggling. with the shots, the offense becomes stagnant and others begin to lose their rhythm.

    it was the Lakers to lose. but many predicted the lakers to win in 5 so this will be their one loss. hope the lake show brings it next time.

    oh, can someone answer me please? why does kobe continue to sag on D and occasionally reach for the ball and end up behind the offensive player and leave the help defense to leave their man? im not hating, im a big kobe fan but there are certain stretches in games where i think kobe is just thinking about how HE can win the game whether it be passes or shots or the likes

    • LakerMarc

      For as long as I can remember.

    • kb244life

      I have this same knock on Kobe throughout the years and I hate it and disagree with it that he roams on defense and then his man hits an open shot. Kobe has never won a defensive player of the year, i think because of this. THis is the only one he doesn’t have that Jordan has. KOBE NEEDS TO STOP ROAMING ON DEFENSE because it throws off their defensive rotations. Tonight he took too many jump shots. I mean he’s the best and those are the shots he normally makes but he’s not superman (noone is). He will miss shots and he has to realize and be more efficient. KOBE and THE TEAM IS NOT PLAYING GOOD ENOUGH RIGHT NOW to bring us another championship. Hoepfully they can turn up the notch a little higher.

      • KindSir

        I’ve been hating on his stupid ass roaming D for the exact same reason for a long while now. He ALWAYS leaves people wide open for shots and that is frustrating as hell. He also needs to quit taking so many dumb shots. It’s like he’s regressing now or something. Get the ball into the paint!

  • gugy

    Lamar needs to step up big time.
    If he keep playing like this series, we are in trouble.
    I think we are OK, I assume Lakers will steal next game and close it up on game 5, if not….. this might be a long series unfortunately.

    • LakerMarc

      I agree gugy, Lamar needs to wake up! The Lakers had this one and basically they let it slip away. It would have been nice to see them be the team they really aren’t (dominant with a killer instinct) and to have made it 3-0 especially since The CAVS lost to Chicago tonight.

  • LakerMarc

    I think the Lakers really need to rest and it would be in their best interests to finish off OKC by game 5, I knew they wouldn’t sweep because they never swept anyone last year either. Smart efficient teams sweep but unfortunately This Lakers team enjoys making things harder on themselves. They had better win in 5 not in 6 or 7 or that will only make things better for their Round 2 oppoenent.

    • kb244life

      LakerMarc, the smart thing for the lakers right now is to finish this serious early so they can rest their minor injuries. The lakers need a rest, specially Kobe. A win tonight would have probably been a sweep. But I have the Lakers in six because of their stupidity and inconsistency.

  • kb244life

    The lakers lost because they forgot to attack the basket hard. The lakers forgot to adjust their game during the game. In the first half, they shot the ball well with what the defense gave them. In the second half, OKC started contesting and challenging their shots. THEY COULD HAVE GONE TO THE BASKET HARD AND GET TO THE LINE. In Game 2, they attacked the basket CUTELY so they got blocked. THEY SEEM TO BE AFRAID TO ATTACK THE BASKET HARD. They have to mixed up their game and make adjustment throughout the game offensively and defensively. Kobe drove to the basket ONLY ONCE tonight and got the lay-up, the rest are jump shots.
    If u fall in love with the 3, you will die with the 3.
    Pau and Andrew have to demand the ball even in close and late games and hold their position in the post. The laker passers have to lob the ball or throw it over the top if the big man are fronting. Or drive to the basket and when the defense help, they can drop off the ball to Andrew or Pau to finish.
    BArkley is correct saying “THE LAKERS MAKE THE GAME HARDER.” The game is so easy if you play it correctly and consistently. RIGHT NOW THE LAKERS ARE NOT PLAYING SMART period. They are thinking only to go straight and not left or right or slant.

  • LAS VEGAS

    LAMAR ODOM,ITS THE PROBLEM SIMPLE AS THAT,HE JUST DONT GET IT, HE DOSENT HELP THE TEAM,HES MORE WORRY ABOUT HIS COMMERCIALS THAN THE FREAKING GAME!!!

  • http://thetruthrenaissance.wordpress.com/ BE_A_LakerFan

    Calm down everyone.. if you expected a sweep you were fooling yourself. There are always things that can be done better and adjustments that need to be made.

    Go Lakers!

  • wydellmd

    Sweeping a team that won 50 games is never likely, especially when they have studs like Durant and Westbrook. Heck, the Bulls only one 41 games and they beat the Cavs today. We still almost pulled this one out, so we have nothing to hang our heads about. Make the adjustments and come back stronger on Saturday.

  • Richard

    Lakers didn’t bother defense in the second half.. They always play extreme well in first and second quarter and then is like total different team at the second half, play no defense and can’t shoot free thrown.

  • doodles