PostGame; NBA Playoffs 2012 Round 2; LAL vs. OKC Game 1

There isn’t a hell of a lot to say about this game that this image cannot show:

and maybe this one too:

Featuring the vaunted LAL ‘bigs’ having an animated conversation a full 5 minutes after both teams’ benches have cleared out to the locker rooms and the fans were making a bee line towards the exits.

I saw a tweet about how only die-hard Laker fans and masochists would still have been watching the game into the 4th quarter and they weren’t kidding. Kobe topscored with 20pts., along with Bynum, World Peace added 12pts., and Gasol 10. Westbrook however had 27pts., followed by Durant with 25pts. and Harden with 17.

The stats that jump out of you are 13 OKC steals against LAL’s 1, resulting in 22 OKC pts off turnovers against LAL’s 6. LAL also produced 15 turnovers against OKC’s 4. I gotta tell you, there isn’t a whole lot more devastating to a team than losing the ball often to steals, and more than that, it’s double heartbreaking when they’re converted. That’s exactly what OKC did today, and I don’t care how much heart you’ve got, that’ll just demolish you.

There’s a lot of talk about LAL’s legs not being there today as opposed to OKC’s 9 day rest, and I’m going with that for this game. It’s just too much to ask any team to come out the gates with energy let alone play against an amazing team like OKC.

And what a team OKC is. OKC is a team in one of those rare phases when its key players are getting paid a lot less than they’re worth right now, which means this roster is probably going to break up the first chance its players get to exercise max money. The result though is that there’s a ton of amazing talent on this team that’s just bursting at the seams. They’re a threat inside and out, are fast on the whole or half court and their defense is physical and blindingly fast. Sefalosha’s defense on Kobe was spectacular, the result of many hours of watching film no doubt, as he is able to anticipate how Kobe raises the ball to shoot. It’s risky, and can bring foul calls, but as far as I can tell he stopped him several times and it was impressive. Plus they have vets on the team now to settle them down, hopefully preventing the meltdown they had last year.

At certain times I caught myself wondering how OKC was gonna matchup against the Heat. I realized that this possibly means I’m counting LA out, which isn’t a good idea even at the worst of times, but isn’t totally impossible either. LAL looks tired and ragged, and they are looking weaker by comparison at the guard position, with Blake not being a good defender and Sessions not looking completely comfy playing his.

All I can say about this game really is that I’m excited to see how they counter this and how they play better after rest. That’s not the LAL we know, so it’s silly to think ahead of yourself when you haven’t seen them play the way they usually do.

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