It ain’t over till its over.
Never get comfortable.
When a player is shooting, get in position for a rebound.
All things the Lakers should have remembered for 5.7 seconds longer…and they would have won Game II.
It started out as well as could be expected. At the end of the first quarter, Coach Mike Brown was happy that tempo and flow had been established, the defensive work was paying off, and the Lakers were up 22-21. This was due in large part to the getting the ball in the paint to the bigs–making sure one 7 footer was present to rebound when the other was shooting, yes!–and the Thunder were looking scared.
Still, OKC surged ahead in the second until MWP tied it at 33 with a sweet 3 pointer and 5.43 left to play. But after a Thunderous surge, the Lakers lead had dropped to a 48-54 deficit at halftime. Eek!
MWP and Bryant went to war in the 3rd, and the Lakers ended the quarter up 63-60! But the Lakeshow opened the 4th by missing 7 straight shots while KB rested on the bench…and Mike Brown called a time out and put #24 back in. Too bad he didn’t remember to organize a play that gave Bryant the game-winning shot. Instead, after an OKC run fueled by 3 Lakers turnovers, Blake missed a wide-open three…and neither 7 footer nor MWP was there to rebound. The three stood and watched as the ball sailed passed them into OKC’s hands; only KB was awake enough to dodge his triple team and reach for it.
And the Thunder, after being down by 7 with 2 minutes to play, won the game 77-75.
So before you wonder why Blake took this shot, remember that the only other guy besides KB who has consistently made this 3 pointer with seconds on the 4th quarter clock playoff after playoff was sitting on the other bench. But is this missed 3 pointer proof to those who said that Fisher’s leadership and experience weren’t worth those millions that Fisher was worth it after all…or does this ignore the fact that the Lakers wouldn’t have made it this far with Fisher playing point instead of Sessions?
Take it either way, all we know is, when Fisher took an end-of-game-winning 3, he won the game.
Or, is this more proof that despite the advances we’ve seen in Mike Brown’s defensive strategy, his inability to think on his feet and adapt–when combined with the confused offensive play we have seen all season–is simply not enough to guide the Lakeshow to success?
Cause you don’t have to shoot a 3 when you’re down by 1 with 5.7 seconds left to play in the 4th. You can have #24 distract the defense and power Bynum, Gasol, or MWP to the basket for a 2 point shot with possible foul bonus.
Or you can strategize plays to keep that 7 point hard-won lead during the last 2 minutes of the game to prevent this from even happening. Anybody see how OKC surged ahead simply by getting in the paint and driving to the basket…exactly what the Lakers should have done during those last 2 minutes and didn’t do once?
This is serious serious basketball, Mr. Brown. This is a seriously hard loss for the Lakers to swallow.
Seriously. There’s no way you should have lost this game.
The only good news is that OKC better be prepared for how the Lakers bring it in game III. Cause if you saw that look in the Mamba’s eye at the end of the game, one’s things for sure: in game III, there will be blood.
Top Scorers in the Contest:
Gasol: 14 Pts, 11 Reb, 3 Ast!
Bynum: 20 Pts, 9 Reb, 1 Ast. 2 Blk!
Bryant: 20 Pts, 3 Reb, 4 Ast, 4 Stl!
MWP: 8 Pts, 5 Reb, 2 Ast, 3 Stl!
Sessions: 2 Pts, 4 Reb!
Blake: 5 Pts, 2 Reb!
Hill: 6 Pts, 5 Reb, 1 Stl!
Get Your Game On Friday as the Lakers take on OKC in Round II! Go LA Go!