Tag Archive for 'Oklahoma City'

Lakers – Thunder Running Diary

WaltonAs always, feel free to refresh your browser for live updates throughout the game … On second thought, I guess they wouldn’t technically be “live” updates since you have to press refresh. But whatever.

Previous Lakers – Thunder Running Diary/Postgame
Lakers 105, Thunder 98: Postgame
Lakers – Thunder Running Diary 2-10-2009

Inactives
Lakers: Andrew Bynum, Sun Yue
Thunder: Desmond Mason, Malik Rose, DJ White

Starters
Lakers Fish, Kobe, Luke, Lamar and Pau
Thunder Russell Westbrook, Thabo Sefolosha, Kevin Durant, Jeff Green, Nenad Krstic

First Quarter
11:09 After Westbrook’s backdoor layup nearly incited a riot inside the Ford Center, Walton answered with an open baseline three to put the Lakers up a point. This here’s an extreme example of what we’ve seen throughout the season on the road: opponents truly getting up for the Lakers. Just add in some youthful vigor and a first-year crowd happy to have a team, and the noise level raises considerably.

Luke Walton8:56 What I didn’t mention in that last paragraph is the energy in the building is a good thing for the Lakers, who seemed to lull along with a deflated Target Center in Minneapolis on Sunday. It showed after Odom’s triple put L.A. up 10-2 as the Thunder really struggled with their defensive rotations.

4:46 Since the Lakers were scoring so easily off basic ball movement in the triangle, Kobe got a bit bored and leaked out into transition after a Gasol rebound. He then waited for Westbrook to sort of catch up before doing a modified 360 and throwing it down. It was more fun to watch than that description, and it put L.A. up 21-9.

2:22 Some more of that youthful exuberance here in OKC shone through when Westbrook found Durant for a large one-handed alley-oop in transition, an opportunity Durant used to stare at the adoring crowd for a few extra seconds. Point being, it was a nice play, but the Lakers still led 23-16 and were scoring easier than Bo Jackson in Techmo Bowl.

0:08 Jordan Farmar’s triple gave him a quick five points off the bench and pushed L.A.’s lead to 12, though Durant scored his 10th point on a last-second putback that made it 32-22 after one.

0:00 L.A. shot 59.1 percent in the quarter, including 3-of-3 from Walton, while the Thunder struggled to 9-of-24 shooting.

Continue reading ‘Lakers – Thunder Running Diary’

Lakers 105, Thunder 98: Postgame

Thunder Post-GameYou know that ol’ basketball maxim regarding the first home game after a road trip being particularly tough upon which to focus?

Before pulling away from a peppy Oklahoma City squad first in the final six minutes of the second quarter and finally in the fourth, the Lakers fell into that trap for stretches of Tuesday evening’s contest at STAPLES Center.

After casually strolling through the opening stanza to a 25-all tie, the Lakers turned up the juice in the second quarter, clapping the Thunder with a 21-6 run – including 11 points from Kobe Bryant – to take a commanding 60-47 lead into halftime. The purple and gold then took a collective nap as the baby-blue-and-orange clad visitors cut that lead to four near the start of the fourth quarter. No ultimate worries, however, as L.A.’s bench quickly built the lead back to a 10-point comfort zone that the starters would protect in the final minutes.

But why, you’re wondering, would the Lakers not completely hammer a far inferior team featuring two rookies and two second year players in the starting lineup? Certainly, the relative let-down is interesting, if not expected; No matter how tough Phil Jackson and his assistants told their players that OKC was going to play, it was understandably a bit difficult for the Lakers to bestow full respect on a 13-38 team that the holders of the NBA’s best record “knew” they would beat (oh wait … Charlotte … oops!). Hard it is to match the intensity that a team like the Thunder may bring in let’s-test-and-prove-our-worth mode, but surely the result was never in doubt, and getting the win was paramount to keep the momentum train generated during a fantastic 6-0 road trip on the tracks.

One downside of letting OKC stick around for awhile? Pau Gasol played 42 minutes after averaging 43 minutes since Andrew Bynum went down. That’s no good for L.A., particularly not with Utah looming the following day.

Alas, Gasol joined fellow All-Star Bryant and recently-reborn Lamar Odom in filling up the box score: Bryant finished with a game-high 34 points plus seven boards; Gasol chipped in 22 points, 14 rebounds and four dimes; and Odom backed up his 28 and 17 on Cleveland with 12 points and a season-high 18 boards.

More numbers upon which to chew:

1
Kobe Bryant’s rank in “Youngest to 23,000 points” after he surpassed (preceded?) Wilt Chamberlain’s record in the second quarter.

9
Points off the bench from Sasha Vujacic … and Jordan Farmar … and Trevor Ariza. Farmar added five dimes and Ariza three to L.A.’s effort.

18
Rebounds by Lamar Odom to surpass his 17 glass cleans in Cleveland on Sunday afternoon. Eleven of those glass cleans came in the first half, and five on the offensive board.

31
Points for second-year stud Kevin Durant on 10-of-23 shooting, plus 10-of-11 from the line. Durant added 10 boards and four dimes.

39.3
Shooting percentage for the Thunder, who relied primarily on jump shots. L.A. shot 45.5 percent from the field.

42
Points in the paint for the Lakers. In the first half. The Thunder, meanwhile, took nothing but jumpers in scoring just 18 paint points.

60
First half points from the Lakers on 50.9 percent shooting, including 21 in the final six minutes of the second quarter.

Phil Jackson Pregame

Prior to Tuesday evening’s classic “trap game” against the better-than-you-think Oklahoma City Thunder, Phil Jackson’s primary goal was to make sure L.A. wasn’t already thinking of Wednesday’s matchup with Utah.

“(Oklahoma City) found a rotation, they got comfortable under their new coach and started playing with confidence and sharing the ball,” he said. “Defensively they still have a lot to learn, but they’re athletic. It’s a team that can be problematic because they have two very good players (Kevin Durant and Jeff Green) in their second year and they’re feeling a lot of optimism.”

To here the rest of Phil’s comments – such as some Lamar Odom commentary and an update on Kobe’s health – you can listen by clicking the play button below: