Where KD wins it via 3.
As I was thinking about this game I realized I was starting to wonder how OKC can win the Championship more than how LAL can get back after falling 3-1. I guess you can interpret that as two things. 1.) how unlikely I think LAL can do that, and 2.) how I think OKC looks like they’re on their way.
And I realized I don’t wanna think how LAL can do that, because it’s too hard. I think LAL’s most powerful when it has its twin tower configuration going. How many times did I see Pau / Bynum miss, followed up by a Pau / Bynum offensive rebound and score? The two are interchangeable and its wonderful when that’s going on.
But if you mess up that formula, in this case Gasol had foul trouble so he had to sit for large parts of the 2nd half, it gives OKC the chance they need to get ahead. That’s what happened here and that’s what got them into trouble. Kobe’s, and for today, World Peace’s brilliant play notwithstanding, without those two LAL doesn’t have a lot of options.
Now I’m going to talk about OKC and this is where it gets more exciting.
Why? Plainly because they are a far more exciting team, because they have so many weapons and all of them are so powerful. The only real problem they have is still being unable to have the maturity to properly execute when they have the chance. I think there were at least four opportunities in the 2nd half when Westbrook could score off of an LAL turnover, only to squander it in some way, or take a low percentage shot. The issue with Westbrook and sometimes KD is that they are so awesomely talented that they rely too much on individual ability to take over in crucial parts of the game as opposed to executing some sort of play. You can’t blame them of course. If I had KD’s skill and physicality I would probably try to take over each and every crucial possession. I mean, he won this game via the Hail Mary 3 pic above, right?
But I don’t think that’s what you do in the playoffs. You can get by with individual ability for, say, 90% of the elims and against some teams. But in the 2nd round? You need to be more careful with the ball, and take your chances with the highest percentage options available to you.
The one team that does that is you guessed it, the San Antonio Spurs. They are truly, a beautiful, WONDERFUL team to watch, because they totally play as a team. I can’t emphasize that enough, and I know I risk the chance of becoming boring. But heck it’s the truth.
I’m giving this series to OKC, probably when they’re at home. LAL always has this veil of invincibility that never allows them to be counted out of any contest, but imho this is LAL similar to last year. I never count them out, never count them out, then suddenly they’re eliminated. I’m thinking ditto for 2012.
* Thanks to Mike Yu formerly of Rebound Magazine for pointing out the error in my title, this is Game 4, not Game 3.