Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

The (41-18) Los Angeles Lakers are on the road for the 61st game of the season facing the (36-21) Oklahoma City Thunder. It is the first time in Oklahoma City for the Lakers since the Pau Gasol tip-in basket ended Game Six and the first round of the 2010 NBA Playoffs.

The Thunder traded for two veteran big men, Kendrick Perkins, Nazr Mohammed and Nate Robinson. This move adds veteran toughness, inside presence, playoff experience, bulk, and a defensive mindset needed as an accompaniment to the athleticism and scoring ability of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.

Although it may appear today that the Thunder has received damaged goods, when healthy Kendrick Perkins is one of the best low-post defenders in the game. This has the potential to be a solid move for the future of the Thunder.

The good news is that the Lakers are playing the Thunder before the new additions are fully acclimated to their system. The Lakers and Thunder are both leading their divisions. The Lakers appear rejuvenated winners of three straight since the All-Star break, two by double digits. The Thunder are seeking to avoid a three game losing streak.

The Lakers need to continue to execute the game plan of playing as a team, solid defense, moving the basketball. Their guards have to stay in front of Russell Westbrook and force him to be a jump shooter with a hand in his face. They have to control the tempo of the game, get back in transition, shut down the screen and roll plays, rebound, dominate the painted area and rotate out to open shooters.

The Thunder will miss the activity and production of Jeff Green. He stabilized their bench and provided their second unit with a scoring threat. That means two things one, James Harden’s production will have to increase, two, the Lakers have to win the battle of the benches.

The Lakers beat the Thunder 101-94 on 1/17. Oklahoma City has lost consecutive games to the Spurs and the Magic. They need to establish both Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol in the post and provide them with enough touches to dominate. Their front line of Bynum, Gasol, Ron Artest and Lamar Odom needs to be aggressive on both ends of the court. Their front line should be able to post 50+ points 25+ rebounds.

Starters
Lakers: D. Fisher, K. Bryant, R. Artest, P. Gasol, Andrew Bynum
Thunder:
R. Westbrook, T. Sefolosha, K. Durant, N. Collison, S. Ibaka

Tip-off: 11:30 AM

Television -

  • Los Angeles: ABC
  • Oklahoma City: ABC

Radio -

  • Los Angeles: 710 ESPN (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
  • Oklahoma City: 640 AM & 98.1 FM (Matt Pinto)

Injuries -

Lakers:

  • Matt Barnes (Right Knee) Out
  • Theo Ratliff (Left Knee) Out

Thunder:

  • C Kendrick Perkins (Knee Injury) Out
  • Gugy

    Good win folks.
    I like the desire the Lakers showed lately to win games. Let’s keep it going.

    • LakerMarc

      yeah a really veteran type of fighting spirit which highlights that although some young teams may be dangerous, its the experience in the battles..the older teams…that ultimately step up and beyond the hype and butterflies. TOO BAD!! Go Lakers!!

  • http://yahoo jaydubb415

    No bullshit my nerves be so fucking bad when it comes to the lakers that i don’t watch their televised games i know sounds crazy as fuck but i know im not the only !#$%! that does that.Any way i’m glad we one i got tivo i’ll watch it later on.But in part i want 2 say this i was one of those die har fans that wanted us to make a trade n im not going to lie that melo for bynum i could of went 50/50,but now im glad mitch held on to one of his big horses because bynum has been playing good of late n it does give us a advantage against some teams so ”here here”for mitch for sticking to your guns n not jumping at the hot moves out there.Although we could of got a little quiker at the PG position but other than that im good.

    • LakerMarc

      yeah its not Mitch’s job to listen to the fans….I mean, what do we know?

  • Zeki Kayiran

    Another 8 on 5 game. I expected it from Steve Javie and Eli Roe, but Kavin Fehr joined the party. Kobe takes 22 shot, granted not all of them were great ones, but ge got fouled on several of them with no calls. One right in front of Kevin Fehr, Sefolosha hits him on the elbow, no call; then he drives to the basket and gets body slammed by two THunder players again with no call.

    What these clowm zebras do to the Lakers is absolutely disgusting, and the NBA does nothing about it.

    Shame on Steve Javie, shame on Eli Roe, and Shame and I am very disappointed in Kevin Fehr.

    The team played well, particularly Drew and Ron Ron.

    Hope we build on these, and keep winning these 8 on 5s.

    • LakerMarc

      One thing I’ve noticed is that the Lakers do get the benefit of the calls during the playoffs so we’ll live with that until then.

  • lakers

    is it true kobe became the 7th all time leading scorer during this game

  • Short Perro

    Thunder? more like the sprinklers to me. They suck-even with that lepercaun they just got.
    Kobe Bryant the black mamba runs this shit.
    Laker Nation 8 days 8 nights.
    That’s right biiitches I’m back.
    Haters or should I say band wagons F U
    6 rings for Kobe really soon!!!!
    F… Jordan

  • rondo

    Bynum you are the man!

  • Rio Rondo

    Too bad K-Perk wasn’t playing