“Tonight, I’m in the same room with Kobe and Kevin Durant and I potentially could have all the attention,” said a pre-game MWP, excited to have the hostile Oklahoma crowd focused on him after his technical foul against James Harden. “How many people get the chance to have everyone screaming at them?”
Strong words, but despite equally strong efforts from Bryant and MWP to raise the level of urgency in the Lakers’ game play, the Lakeshow–tired after a grueling 7 game series and only one day of rest, could not deal with the well-rested, deep-benched Thunder. MWP drew first blood with a sweet 3 pointer and Kobe sank a sweet 2—but after Kevin Durant dunked on Bynum to take the score to 6-5 OKC, the Thunder surged ahead–way ahead. Averaging a 30 point lead for most of the game, OKC left LA way way behind.
Bryant being Bryant turned it on and tried to catch it up at the end of the 2nd, and then again at the end of the 3rd…but by the top of the 4th quarter everyone could see the writing on the wall…and Mike Brown pulled out his starters to rest them for Wednesday’s game and let the bench have their way during the last 12 minutes of gameplay.
But what were Gasol and Bynum talking about on that bench during the 4th and after the game? The next 4 games? Or the fact the Bryant is back to playing point guard–running the ball down the court in place of Sessions–whose turnovers have numbered more than his points during the last few games? The great balance the Lakers had created–the great balance that got them to the playoffs in the first place–was thrown off first by MWP’s suspension, and now by Sessions’ performance. Even though #7 has been on the court the past 7 games, he has not been a dominant presence; indeed, he was almost as absent as MWP during this playoff run. True, it is Sessions’ first time getting this far past the regular season–but does that inexperience have no workable solution? Because watching Kobe try to play point and shooting guard last night left us with a familiar song in our ears: The Lakers need better play on point.
And whatever they’re doing now, just isn’t working.
Final Score: 90-119…eek! And the top scorers in the contest?
Bynum 20 Pts, 14 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Blk!
Bryant: 20 Pts, 2 Reb, 2 Ast!
MWP: 12 Pts, 2 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Stl!
Gasol: 10 Pts, 7 Reb, 1 Ast!
Barnes: 8 Pts, 2 Reb!
Sessions: 2 Pts, 3 Ast!
Get Your Game on Wednesday! Game II. Go LA Go!