The starters sat on the bench in the fourth quarter.

The reserves combined for 32 points and 8 assists.

The Lakers shot 54%.

Kobe Bryant only scored 13 points on 4-9 and the Lakers still won the game.

What do the items on the list have in common? We can’t remember the last time they occurred! The Lakers reminded everyone tonight, however, that in the Department of Control and Composure, they can still run supreme. This team does not acknowledge discouragement and won’t even entertain failure; despite appearing less than their stellar selves. If someone else wanted that NBA Championship, it would have to be pried from their hands. The Thunder have tried, respectably, to do the prying, but the Lakers continue to hold their grip.

The two losses in Oklahoma City (the last one a complete beat down by the home team), was enough to send fans and media in a tizzy over the team that many thought would do some sweeping in the first round. With the series tied 2-2, that panic button was nearing its purpose… until tonight.

Like Kenny Smith said, “the playoffs are about adjustment and advancement. It’s not about winning every game.”

Tonight, the Lakers not only talked us off the ledge, they darn well pulled us into safety. Simply put, they played with an energy that the Thunder could not match; a veteran savvy that the Thunder could not duplicate; a tall order that the Thunder could not fulfill… not tonight in this arena.

The Lakers started the game quickly, going 8-0 before the first time out, allowing the Thunder to score only on freethrows until Kevin Durant hit their very first field goal at the 5:45 mark of the first quarter.

The Lakers’ defense was stingy this evening, with Kobe Bryant offering to guard Russell Westbrook into a 15-point, 4-13 type of night. Kobe himself shot only 4-9 to collect his 13 points, but he also had seven assists, two steals and willed Russell into eight turnovers.

Kevin Durant, still hounded by Ron Artest, shot 5-14 for his 17 points and was never able to find his offensive rhythm. Ron, on the other hand, traded in his 3-point shot attempts, for higher percentage looks in the paint. He collected 14 points, five assists and two steals.

The Thunder found no flow to their game tonight, on either end of the court. In the first four games, the Thunder outshined the Lakers in fastbreak points, 72-17. Tonight, the Lakers allowed them 7 and no more. The Thunder were also out-rebounded (45-42), out-assisted (27-18), out-stealed (10-6) and out-blocked (10-3). Points in the paint? Lakers – 58, Thunder – 26.

Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol proved tonight that they can play together and play efficiently. Andrew’s first field goal was a lob from Kobe, his second a wrap-around entry pass from Pau. It was four easy points for a young man, who for the first time in his career, is playing in the post-season with a hop in his step rather than a limp in his stride. Every dunk seemed to give him more power and every rebound appeared meant for his hands. Ending the evening with 21 points and 11 rebounds, Andrew’s presence on the floor is simply invaluable.

Speaking of invaluable — where would the triangle offense be without Pau these days? There is one thing Pau is just as skilled with other than scoring — passing. He seems to see everything that’s happening around him on the court. He sees teammates diving, teammates open, teammates rising for a lob. With 25 points and 11 rebounds, Pau and the Lakers took advantage (finally and again) of their advantage — length!

The Lakers won this game, and won it convincingly, because they played with a serious amount of focus, a contagious energy that fed their teammates and the crowd, and there was a sense of ownership on their part. For the first time in this post-season, the Lakers looked like they were playing for something other than the Larry O’Brien trophy. For the first time in these two weeks, the Lakers looked like they were playing for each other.

In his postgame interview, Patrick O’Neal asked Andrew Bynum if the team felt less pressure knowing that they’d have Game 7 at home if they should lose on Friday. Andrew answered, “No, we have to close them out, send a message to the rest of the league.” To the rest of the league.

If the Lakers can close out this series on Friday, that message will be loud and clear — if you want our Championship, you’ll have to fight us for it. Hopefully on Friday, that message will be as good as sent!

Pre-game Thoughts: The series is tied 2-2. It’s time to take advantage of homecourt advantage.

Half-time Thoughts: 34-55 – Appears to be an old fashioned beatdown so far. Hopefully, the Lakers can maintain it for another 24 minutes.

Most Thoughtless Player(s) of the Game: Pass — every Laker played with energy and purpose today!

Most Thought-filled Player(s) of the Game: Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol — It’s exciting when the big men on the team play like it. Tonight, Andrew and Pau combined for 46 points, 22 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 blocks!

  • http://lakersnation showtime4eva

    im wondering where that pee on! thundercat is now lol. i told him he would learn who we are! any way good game for the good guy’s,that’s team playing and game winning,just gotta keep adjusting to win.now we gotta go there and quiet the thunder for the rest of the year!we just gotta do what ever it take,the rest of the way.adjust an win! go lakers!!!!

  • rudy t.

    WOW. WOW. now THIS is lakers basketball. i mean seriously. we were pounding it inside. we were getting it inside with our movement and our passing. in this game, we actually HAD slashers willing to suck in the initial AND the help defense, leading to easy drop passes that eventually led to dunks and layups.
    i dont know if it was ron harper and his calling out the team, BUT WOW. if our team plays like this all the time, we can truly take the best of any other team in the WEST AND in the EAST.
    game 4 had us serving witness to kobe getting in extra rest for all the wrong reasons. we were blown out and we pulled our starters out early without even letting them play the fourth all because the game was so out of reach.
    game 5 gave us the same end result: our starters getting abundant “rest minutes” but for all the right and awesome reasons. we blew the team out, allowing our 2nd and 3rd stringers time in the fourth… the best part was they held the fort. they didn’t let the lead dwindle albeit by a couple of points. GOOD OUTING FOR THE WHOLE TEAM.
    WOW. WOW.
    now all we need to do is keep it up. KEEP IT UP GUYS, KEEP IT UP. LET’S DO THIS!!! :) :)
    -extremely impressed and happy and vindicated laker fan.

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

    I knew we would get it together. So I’m not surprised.

    • MASMIK

      likewise

  • islandgirl

    All I’d like to know is: “Where have my Lakers been hiding at?!” … Absolutely LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this game!!!!

    Their effort and especially their heart, really showed during this game!

    Bring on Game 6!!!!!

  • Thundercat

    Big deal. The Lakers won that game because it was 7 on 5 the whole time. There were some phantom calls that were going against the Thunder. Thunder will win in 7. Kobe is washed up.

    • 242LakerFan

      All I see is BLAH BLAH BLAH…BLABLAH BLAH BLAH…WHINEYBABY BLAH BLAH BLAH. WISH WE HAD KOBE…BLAH BLAH FANTASY LAND…BLAH BLAH! THUNDERCATS, HOOOOOO!!! BLAH BLAH.

    • 242LakerFan

      Sorry, got it fixed. My monitor was blurred by all that dried Thundercat pee from when Westbrook heard Kobe was guarding him.

    • http://thelakersnation.com/blog/category/original-articles/benchmob-beat/ Anna Gonda

      Phantom calls? The Thunder shot just 7 free throws less than the Lakers. That’s nowhere near the disparity in past games where OKC shot twice as many.

      Kobe didn’t look so washed up with your boy Russell Westbrook cowering under his defense. =)

    • TOUCHING_MYSELF

      7 on 5 huh P U S S Y?!? Well, at least you still had 1 ref in your corner! Learn to to count DUMB ASS! There are 3 refs out there! Plus, how can you really complain after you’ve had all 3 refs for the 2 games before?

      I agree with 242LakerFan, all I see from you is a lot of “BLAH BLAH BLAH…BLABLAH BLAH BLAH…”, you whiney baby! I suspect we’re gonna see a lot more of that when Durant is up for the free agency… there’s NO WAY IN HELL in stays in OKC!

      Hahahaha! Keep raving about your Thunder! Good luck attracting any big name players out there to build a franchise for you red-necked, moonshine loving, overall wearing, bare foot trotting, no braces a-wearing, tractor driving, beastyality practicing, banjo playing, chicken hawking, inbred hillbillies!

      STFU!!!!!!!!!!!

      GO KOBE!!!!!!!!!
      GO PAU!!!!!!!!!!!!
      GO BYNUM!!!!!!!!!!
      GO ARTEST!!!!!!!!!!!
      GO LAKERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • KaPau

      Hey Thundercat, it’s funny that you come here and cry about the refs, but the fact is that you guys in 4 games shot 70+ free throws compared to the 30+ the lakers shot in 4 games, hmmmm funny how that works.

    • mr. tae

      u guys r dead meat. gone fishin’ time.

    • Toni

      Although I have to admit that I really like Kevin Durant and the fact the he is actually a very humble person in real life (not like Queen James pretends to be,) I have to admit that I was yelling at my TV screen last night telling the Lakers to send the baby Thunder back to the playground because the NBA is the “grown” men’s league!!!

  • daboss1848

    Brilliant Game! Kobe was energetic and involved and the rest of the team followed its leader. He took less shots than in Game 4 – but clearly with an attitude adjustment.
    .
    Finally, a pleasant Lakers game to watch.
    .
    PS the crowd was electric.

  • uwee

    haha…u should change your nick to THUNDEREDCAT!!!!! LOL

  • uwee

    HI THERE THUNDEREDCAT……….

  • https://me.yahoo.com/a/kKokhpc2zfzu_wgHBkfWcCosZB3E1GOq0gkB Scott Forrest

    Thundercat…Thundercat…Hoooooooo(get it)…the only non-laker that that should make comments on this site is “Magic Man”,he actually shows respect.

    Now to the brilliant performance of THEE(That’s right 2 E’s)NO.1 TEAM IN THE WORLD OF PROFESSIONAL SPORTS….The Lakers! I mean they played so magnificently and masterful that even Adam Morrison scored four points(I say play him over Luke..let’em spot up and shoot..could be the X-FACTOR on Fri.),WHOA!Kobe only had 13pts./7 ast. and it was as if he scored 40.

    You know why Kobe IS THE BEST IN THE GAME Thundercat…because every news sports reporter,broadcaster,coach,players,fans..even people who can’t stand Kobe,measure Lebron,Wade,Pierce,Melo,Rose,..and now Durant to THE REAL KING…Kobe,THE BEST ON PLAYER PLANET,period.

    4 rings don’t lie.

  • kb242424

    QUOTING KENNY SMITH = EPIC FAIL

  • gugy

    Great game.
    With this energy and purpose, they are unbeatable. Let’s hope to close this series next game and move on.

  • Lakerland_Nostradamus

    Touch Me,

    Where are you bandwaggon fan?….if you are a Laker fan at all, idiot!

    • TOUCHING_MYSELF

      where is Touch Me? He was the inspiration for my name! Hahaha! Yeah, he was a hater, and that’s how my name came to be!

      GO LAKERS!!!!!!!!

  • atomicpunk

    Great game! Now lets see if we can string some of these games together.

    • 242LakerFan

      Amen

  • seankobe

    a good win! but where not done yet! as charles says this game is not hollywood, I hope there will be no more hollywood game in playoff..no answer for ron on durant and kobe on russel…

  • seankobe

    cavs is in trouble! they just barely beat the bulls, and boston is having their game again! where is won a ring for the king? change your name to buy a ring for the king! boston in 4 lol!

    • Toni

      Yeah, where is my “favorite” guy?! … And I don’t mean it in a good way.

      I told him him screen name was pretty presumptious, especially considering Mr. James hurt his right elbow during last night’s game against the Bulls! …I was really routing for the Bulls!!!! DAMN!!!!!

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

    That was great team ball last night. I’m still on a high off that win.

    Funny Story of the day: My sister is going to the Hawks/Bucks game tonight and is wearing her Laker jersey lol. I can only imagine how random that is going to be.

    Go Lakers!

    • http://www.facebook.com/thejahjah Josh Herrington

      HAHA yes, Hawks fans would be thinking ” Your team is OKC!!” Very random indeed.

      • http://www.facebook.com/thejahjah Josh Herrington

        i mean IN OKC no is OKC.

        • http://www.facebook.com/thejahjah Josh Herrington

          NOT
          jesus christ i cannot spell. Srry TLN

  • Betto

    Now this is Lakers basketball! There’s nothing the thunder can say about not getting calls, they shot a few less free throws than the Lakers but nothing compared to what the referees gave them in their home. They should get the thunder over with just in case San Antonio beats Dallas tomorrow, the Lakers would face San Antonio on sunday. I like the fact that Ron Ron and Lamar didn’t say anything about game 5 but they came thru for us. Good game and GO LAKERS!! keep it up!

  • althelakerfanyoushouldmeet

    Veteran coaching staff, veteran team, veteran fans. We win Rings.

  • Pingback: TLN’s Postgame Report: Lakers vs. Thunder – Stickin’ With the Old (94-101, Win) | Sports Journey