The Lakers trip to Oklahoma City didn’t go as planned. The Lakers had game three in hand, before letting a great opportunity to go up 3-0 in this series slip away and in game four, they were literally ran out of the gym. The only statistics that you need to know about game four was that the Thunder outscored the Lakers 24-2 on fastbreak points and had 48 free throw attempts to the Lakers 28.
I’m not buying the “Lakers backs are against the wall” talk, both teams have done what they are supposed to do and won at home. There is reason for concern, but it isn’t time to panic. This is a tough match up for a Lakers team battling a series of injuries against a talented young team that possesses the leading scorer in the NBA and plays tough defense.
Make no mistake, tonight’s game is a ‘must win’ game for the Lakers. This is now a 3-game series with the Lakers still holding the home court advantage. The Lakers Nation needs to be extremely loud to help push this team to victory. The Lakers have to play hard, focus, be aggressive, and play with a sense of urgency. The Lakers individually and as a team have to answer the question “What are you prepared to do?”
The Lakers are in need of making adjustments, starting with being introduced to their transition defense. They have been given several open jump shots that they need to knock down. However, the Purple and Gold have settled for entirely too many jump shots and three-point shots as opposed to taking the ball to the basket and getting to the free throw line. They aren’t getting any easy baskets or getting out in transition themselves.
After watching every game this series, I have to say that neither team is knocking down jump shots with any consistency. The Thunder are running, scoring in transition, and attacking the basket which is constantly putting them on the free throw line. The Lakers have to combat this by shutting down the transition baskets and using their offense to create a high percentage shot on every possession.
These teams have played a total of eight games this season with the Lakers taking five of them. There shouldn’t be any surprises at this point. It is imperative that the Lakers execute, get back in transition, control the tempo, take high percentage shots going to the basket and take care of the ball. Our reserves have to join the party and get involved. The last time I checked, these guys are professionals and it isn’t asking too much for Lamar Odom, Jordan Farmar, Shannon Brown, Luke Walton, Josh Powell, and Adam Morrison to combine to score 35 points.
It could easily come down to the winner of this game wins this series. The Lakers will win tonight and send a message to the Thunder that they are close, but not there yet.
Tip-off: 7:30 PM PST
- Los Angeles: TNT & FS West
- Oklahoma City: TNT & FS Oklahoma
- Los Angeles: AM570 KLAC (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
- Oklahoma City: 640 AM & 98.1 FM (Matt Pinto)
- 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)
- Nenad Kristic ( Bruised Knee) Listed as Day-to-Day