The Lakers made the necessary adjustments of finding their transition defense, the reserves combining for 32 points and eight assists as well as getting the ball inside to Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol. They went back to establishing their big men inside and destroying the Thunder in the painted area. This is an advantage that is in the Lakers favor and one that the Thunder don’t have an answer for.
What might have been the series deciding adjustment of the series was Kobe Bryant asking for and receiving the assignment of defending Russell Westbrook. This move was a must due to Westbrook torching both Derek Fisher and Jordan Farmar. The Purple and Gold had to put a bigger body in front of Westbrook. Kobe sacrificed his scoring in game five for the good of the team. Make no mistake the “Black Mamba” can shut down Westbrook and still score, but the reality is that he doesn’t have to score 40 for the Lakers to win when his teammates play like Champions.
The adjustment appeared to catch Westbrook and the Thunder by surprise, as evidenced by the looks on the faces of the entire Thunder bench witnessing Kobe neutralizing their young point guard and Ron Artest making things difficult for Kevin Durant.
The scary thing is that the Lakers can and will play better.
This is a closeout game and the Lakers will rise to the occasion, unless the Thunder sign two seven-footers prior to tonight’s game. The Lakers will continue to establish Bynum and Gasol in the painted area and allow them to dominate the Thunder on the interior. I also want to see Lamar Odom and Ron Artest making plays in the post. The Lakers need to be aggressive offensively attacking the basket on every possession. This tactic should allow them to get to the free throw line… but they have to knock them out.
The Lakers Nation will see the Lakers play solid defense on the starters while making sure that a Thunder reserve named James Harden doesn’t have a huge impact in this game. The Lakers will be all business tonight and end the Thunder’s season. The Purple and Gold will win with solid defense, excellent ball movement, excellent player movement, everyone contributing and attacking the basket constantly. I want to see crisp passing and passion on every possession.
After tonight’s game the ‘road to repeat’ number will decrease to 12!
Tip-off: 6:30 PM PST
- Los Angeles: TNT & KCAL 9 (Joel Myers & Stu Lantz)
- Oklahoma City: TNT & FS Oklahoma (Brian Davis & Grant Long)
* 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