Lakers 89, Thunder 110: Game 4 Running Diary

60261417Lakers – Thunder Gameday Page
The Lakers looked to rebound from a narrow Game 3 loss at Oklahoma City in Game 4 of their First Round series. We were there to make sure you didn’t miss a thing:

Inactives
Lakers: Sasha Vujacic (ankle)
Thunder: Kyle Weaver, Mustafa Shakur

Starters
Lakers: Fisher, Bryant, Artest, Gasol and Bynum
Thunder: Westbrook, Sefolosha, Durant, Green, Krstic

Game 4 Video Preview
One thing that the Lakers did better than any other team during their 2009 championship run was make adjustments following losses and then execute during next game. Assistant coach Jim Cleamons joined us to detail the team’s plan for Game 4 in OKC. CLICK HERE to watch.

60260420First Quarter
5:15 L.A.’s offense was very patient in the opening minutes, which is precisely what the coaching staff had asked for. Good ball movement had produced open shots, of which the Lakers 6-of-12, including a combined 5-of-9 from Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum. Their back-to-back buckets in the paint cut OKC’s early lead to 13-12, while Kobe Bryant had yet to attempt a shot.

1:15 Then came a poor stretch for L.A., which managed just two points in a 5-minute span to allow OKC to open a 27-14 lead thanks to a 12-0 run. While the Lakers were getting good shots, they had been unable to keep the Thunder from scoring, as they finished a 10-0 run with a Serge Ibaka put back and two Kevin Durant free throws.

1:00 Derek Fisher’s 3-pointer was L.A.’s only bucket in the final five minutes of the quarter, and Russell Westbrook’s pull-up in the lane with 1.6 seconds to go made it 29-17 Thunder after one. The cold spell on offense for the Lakers – 36.4 percent shooting – was uncharacteristic of the first quarter in the series, which they’d lead in all three of the previous games.

Second Quarter
9:06 Bryant’s first shot of the game was a deep, open 3-pointer, which he swished to cut OKC’s lead to 36-24. After four misses, Odom had also begun to find something, connecting on consecutive layups off drives to the rim.

7:05 Bryant continued to effectively find open teammates after drawing attention, getting Fisher and Odom consecutive open triples, but both missed. Bynum did grab the second miss and stuck it back, and then dunked Kobe’s lob pass on the next possession. That was Kobe’s fourth assist (though had shots gone in he could have had many more) while he’d taken just two shots (both 3′s).

2:26 The discrepancy at the free throw line was killing L.A. for the second straight game, as Durant went to the stripe to make the Thunder 18-of-18, while the Lakers had made just 1-of-6 attempts. In related news, OKC led 50-35. L.A. would pull just two points back before the half when Bryant and Artest joined the rest of their teammates in missing at least 1-of-2 free throws (3-of-10 total), while Durant missed OKC’s first in 20 attempts to make it a 55-42 lead at the break.

60261239Third Quarter
10:28 Though Thabo Sefolosha drew a shooting foul on Kobe while attempting a three (Kobe protested that he used the Reggie Miller leg kick), Fisher hit a three thanks to Artest’s penetration (had been working all game, as Phil Jackson had asked for). Fisher, however, then became the sixth Laker to miss a free throw when he had a chance to cut the lead to 10 (0-for-2).

5:16 Things began to get out of hand for the Lakers, OKC opening a 21-point lead after another stretch in which the Lakers couldn’t contain the Thunder in transition or on offense, and couldn’t get shots to fall at the other end. More simply, the Thunder were riding downhill on a sled, the Lakers trying to climb a mountain.

2:18 The Purple and Gold tried to find some life as Odom cut to the hoop for consecutive buckets to reach 10 points, but the Thunder matched with Green free throws and Durant’s 3-pointer. OKC ended up winning a quarter L.A. needed to dominate 31-22 to take a commanding 86-64 lead into the fourth.

Fourth Quarter
9:56 Shannon Brown’s reverse layup was the first make for he and Jordan Farmar, both of whom started 0-for-4. Nothing going right for the Lakers.

6:36 James Harden, meanwhile, had his second straight terrific effort off the bench, capped by a corner three that put OKC up 99-72, likely ensuring that Kobe, Pau and Fisher stayed on the bench (Odom and Bynum were still in the game). Harden, the third pick in the draft, was up to 15 points with five boards and four assists. He’d scored 18 points in Game 3 after failing to score a single point in L.A.

5:27 That would be all. The Lakers waved the white flag in emptying the bench with the Thunder up 104-76. Five minutes later, the game ended with a final of 110-89, L.A.’s pine managing to close on a 13-6 run in nearly the only good stretch of the game.

Up next is a Tuesday evening Game 5 in Los Angeles, where the Lakers also found themselves at 2-2 last season against both Houston and Denver.