Well Lakers, you did something no one in L.A. thought you could ever do; you played WORSE than you did on Christmas Day. After that wretched date with the team that most everyone believes will snatch that Larry O’Brien trophy from your grasp, all the waiting began — waiting for you all to show up to these regular season games and play like you’re after something; waiting for that fire and will to win to blow out from the same competitors who seized every game last season like it was theirs to own; waiting for you all to step onto the floor and play like you mean it from jump ball to final buzzer.

With this 7-game winning streak, it appeared you were finally ready to defend that title. The wait was over! Now to end that efficient string of wins on this note? Getting behind by 30 points and then losing by 16? It looks like we are all back again… still waiting…

The first 89 seconds of this game against the Oklahoma City Thunder indicated everything we needed to know regarding the outcome of this game. In those 89 seconds to start the evening, three fouls had been called on the road team — one foul apiece for Lamar Odom, Ron Artest and Kobe Bryant.

The early foul calls should have been a signal to how watchful these officials would be calling the game. In such a case, a veteran team might take the hint — bring the ball inside, draw the fouls, but no. This is not how the Lakers operated tonight. They, instead, decided not to run their offense, stay muted on defense, and not rebound. As John Ireland reported at halftime, the Lakers coaching staff said that in the first half, the team did everything that they were told NOT to do and in effect, played into a loss they certainly deserved.

After such a successful defensive second half against the Spurs, the second coming of the Defensive Player of the Year was heralded. Ron Artest was again a lean, mean, stealing machine. Against a taller, young, prolific scorer like Kevin Durant, however, Ron allowed 26 points on 9-19 shooting. It wasn’t all his fault, however. There are four other teammates on the floor, but none came to his aid tonight.

Russell Westbrook, a second year guard who has come into his own this season, went off for 23 points on 10-13 shooting. He is fearless and scored from everywhere he pleased. The Lakers are aware of their weakness in defending quick guards, but they have succeeded when help defense, or any active defense, was executed. Maybe after using so much on George Hill, the team is suddenly low on D and E (effort, that is).

Every player in a road uniform gets the blame for tonight’s ridiculous imitation of “basketball”.

Lamar scored a team high 15 points and 7 rebounds — playing with pain in his shoulder, lack of explosiveness is understandable, but this is not enough to cover for Andrew’s absence.

Pau had 9 points on 3-10 and 5 boards — getting the touches he’d been asking for but not capitalizing on them. How often could a missed floater have been a made dunk?

Kobe notched 11 points on 4-11 shooting and collected 9 turnovers! The defense wasn’t stifling. He often just lost his footing and sent an array of aimless passes.

18 turnovers in all for the Lakers and not one player with double-digit rebounds. Assists collected this evening — 7 vs. 15; in favor of the Thunder. Working in an offense predicated on ball movement, with just seven assists, the root of the Lakers’ offensive woes is obvious.

In a game where the Lakers could have shown off their veteran smarts against a team wrought with youth and energy, they instead decided to show their veteran hubris. In a game that followed such an enlightening and dominating evening against San Antonio, they instead decided to reject momentum and start over.

The team’s strategies this season have been baffling to say the least. In games where they had the obvious upsides and proven success, they chose to be daring and wander through unfamiliar routes. With height advantages over opponents like Phoenix, they chose to go away from their inside strength. In games where they should have been the proud and confident aggressors for merely earning that championship trophy last season, against a team like Cleveland, they cowered.

With a chance to exploit inexperience tonight, against a young Thunder team, the veteran Champions chose to be the reckless ones.

Pre-game Thoughts: Veterans vs. the Young Guns — should be an exciting game!

Half-time Thoughts: Waiting for the Lakers to do something good. Actually, waiting for the Lakers to just do SOMETHING.

Most Thoughtless Player(s) of the Game: No one wearing a Lakers uniform tonight had any kind of thoughts so let’s just leave it there.

Most Thought-filled Player(s) of the Game: The young Oklahoma City Thunder, who showed EVERYONE, at the expense of the defending champions, that they are better than just “up and coming.” They are here and everyone in the league needs to take notice.

  • lilkobe24

    go hard tomorrow !

  • tradesasha

    no excuses…lakers got their asses kicked straight up!! The way they played tonite will not win them any games in the future. I can’t believe i came back early just to watch this, no effort whatsoever! better go hard tomorrow vs the rockets instead of being cocky ass shit or else it’s gonna be another loss is the L colume! Peace!!

  • kobe-wan kenobi

    our players finally showed us what are they made of…
    after all the statements about playing hard, playing w fire, etc, try to win all the games…
    they came to play as soft and unfocused as ever

    now we know
    this team will not repeat

    what a shame

    • airkobe

      this is just okc! as I watch the game they'd show no intensity it pretty obvious that this game is given.come on guys kobe haven't took a shot on the second half as I remember and that early timeout in the first quarter is a joke! they just want to give okc to strengthen their play-off chance, lets not be selfish! watch for the upcoming game against atlanta Idk if they mind houston n NO…lakers is not looking for the leading standing anymore (at least we had the west) so they don't mind to give some games to those needing specially on the road…remember bobcats?

  • Won A Ring For The King

    It’s over…

    • http://twitter.com/thanhttrinh ThANh tRInh

      tell me how my ass taste ?

  • kobe’stheory

    easy guys the loss is nothing to me! it’s obvious they give this one to give the okc a chance on the play off …this is a mind game…do you really believe lakers will lose that way to okc? would you believe kobe will only take 11 shots if they want to win? if he wants the game he will take 30 shots no matter how many misses it will be!!!come play off time the real lakers will come out!!!

    • well

      Please elaborate. How do they benefit from this? It doesn't make sense.

      • airkobe

        he means that the lakers is already in the playoff and leads the west, and they are not looking to take over the cavs, and they are on the road so it doesn't matter if they get blown out! lakers know who they are, so no need to show it to the okc co'z they know how to beat those! let's not be selfish give KD a chance!to play in the play-off…

        • well

          I know they're done trying to chase the Cavs. But idk. It doesn't sound like the Lakers even if Durant deserves his time. I thought they wanted to win regardless. However Kobe only going for 11 shots is way too off.

          • airkobe

            honestly i was hoping that LA can win all the way the rest of the season but I am not hoping they can still overtake the cavs anymore…but with the game I saw last night they don't push and fought hard. As you can see on their faces, they don't complain much on the officials. I don't think they would let that kind of team embarrassed them in the real fight it will never go that way…KOBE didn't took a shot at the second half!

          • reason

            Why aren't the Lakers trying to catch the Cavs? We're only a few games behind. I obviously don't think we would lose to OKC in a series, but there is some cause for concern. There was a fine line between winning and losing in more than one series last year, and we are playing with much less of a sense of purpose this year thus far. Especially with all the smack they've been talking about playing with more intensity, and Phil saying that champions should go into a road stretch with the mindset of sweeping. Not to mention how amped up they were after the SA win. I would still bet on the Lakers to win it all over any other team, but they need to get their game together.

          • reason

            And those of you saying that the Lakers just “gave” the game away because they don't need it, or that they want to give KD a chance…I hope you're being sarcastic. I don't know if I've ever heard a more retarded statement.

  • thanhtrinh

    lets move on people, play hard 2morrow night against houston

  • me

    I'm not bothered by this loss. If we play them in the playoffs I GUARANTEE that they will get OWNED. So, y'all chill out coz it ain't that serious.

  • Robert

    As Big Game James said, if they met in playoffs, the Lakers would 'wipe them out'. Phil is a master of 'adjustment'. Whatever happens now is 'somewhat irrelevant', but only important as far as keeping home court during the West playoffs. As long as the Lakers win a few games before the end of the year, they'll be ok.
    .
    Lakers are still playing injured (including Kobe). So, the playoffs will be a definite challenge. Recall that Kobe was exhausted after last year's run. I don't think it will be the same this year (I think they're a bit more rested), but this year's challenge is trying to win 'injured'. Most of our starters are still injured in some way: Kobe, Lamar, Artest, Bynum, etc. (Lamar 'should be' a starter during playoffs). These are our principal scorers (and Pau may still have lingering effects from the hamstring injury).
    .
    On the other hand, the Cavs have a stacked deck. Even Shaq is taking the playoffs seriously (finally losing weight?). The Cavs have Powe now (did some damage in the 2008 playoffs), and plenty of role players. In fact, the Cavs have one superstar, and the rest are role players, ALL of them. (well, Jamison is sort of higher up the ladder than that). The Lakers should win against one person plus role players. The Celdicks of 2008 had one superstar (KG), and 2 stars. And they 'barely' won.
    .
    I actually hope that LeBrick takes over games, and tries to score more points. Then, we will see his team watching – and – his chances of winning will go down.
    .
    Notice I'm focusing on the Cavs – that's all that matters now. Although the Lakers would say “one game at a time”. They'll get through the playoffs fine – then the 'real stuff' begins.
    .
    Don't worry about this loss. I know the strategy has 'generally been': dominate at the end of the year well into the playoffs. We can't do that now – too many injuries. So, we will rely on 'strategy' – that's where Phil comes in. If the Lakers get half the wins for the rest of the season, and stay even one game ahead of Thuggetts/Mavs, that's a victory – that's enough.

  • Robert

    oh – Lakers Nation (staff) – I saw an App on the iPod – “Lakers Nation”. Thought it was you guys – but I think it isn't. Are they jockin you?
    .
    You guys should develop and put up an App for the iPod. Set the record straight!