Lakers Have A Plan, Are Aiming To Slow Thunder Down In Game 2 … Good Luck!

HANG TIME PLAYOFF HEADQUARTERS — The theory makes perfect sense for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Slow the game down, make the Oklahoma City dial it back a few notches and play the half court game that favors the Lakers’ and big men Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum in Game 2 tonight (9:30 ET, TNT) at Chesapeake Energy Arena and all will be right in the basketball world.

The only problem with that theory is that it requires the cooperation of a Thunder team that has been anything but accommodating this postseason. And it also requires an opponent that can exploit the Thunder’s perceived deficiencies in a slow-down game.

The Dallas Mavericks had similar ideas  in the first round after dropping Games 1 and 2 by a combined four points. All they had to do was lock in on Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden and force the  Thunder into the uncomfortable position of a grind-it-out, half court, possession-for-possession series. The Mavericks headed back to Dallas for Games 3 and 4 with the blueprint in hand. They never saw Game 5.

The Thunder’s energy and effort overwhelmed any plans the Lakers had for Game 1 to the tune of a 35-point lead and a 119-90 blowout win. It served as a wicked opening statement, too, that the Western Conference semifinals are going to be played on the Thunder’s terms.

The Lakers cannot match the Thunder’s youth, fleet feet or resilience — a day of rest at 23 or 24 is much different from that same day of rest when you are 32 or 33. And according to Kobe Bryant, the Lakers have no intention of trying to do any such thing.

“It’s not a big deal. We don’t worry about matching their energy,” Bryant said. “We just think about slowing them down and playing our style.”

If that “style” includes playing inside-out through Bynum and Gasol, then the Lakers might actually be on to something. Thunder center Kendrick Perkins is a game-time decision with that strained hip.

If the Thunder are vulnerable anywhere, it’s inside. And the Lakers have the frontcourt personnel in that 14-plus feet of All-Star big men to apply the proper pressure offensively.

But their biggest problems in Game 1 were on defense. They couldn’t stop the Thunder — particularly Durant, Westbrook and Harden — from getting whatever they wanted against L.A. The Thunder committed just four turnovers, a franchise playoff record, and have shown all season they are capable of playing at whatever pace and style the game dictates.

There was a time (last year at this time, actually,) when foes could basically dare Westbrook to shoot it from outside and hope to knock the Thunder off their game. But that’s not an option now, not with Westbrook shooting the way he has this postseason and creating for others as he did in Game 1.

“We tried a lot of different things on Westbrook and we could never solve him,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said on ESPN Radio this morning. “He has that ability to rise up on his jump shot and he’s shooting it so pure right now … Oklahoma City has a lot of answers. The thing that concerns me about them is Perkins and his health. As the series goes on and they have to deal with Bynum and Gasol inside … they need Perkins. Nazr Mohammed is a good player, but they need Perkins.”

But if you’re the Lakers, you cannot plot a strategy around whether or not Perkins plays when the crux of your problem is an inability to deal with Durant, Westbrook and Harden.

The Lakers will no doubt tweak some things to try and limit that trio. A wholesale change in plans, however, is not something Lakers coach Mike Brown sounds comfortable with.

“They don’t turn it over a lot because they keep the ball in one guys’ hands quite a bit and then they set a screen and they’ll set a rescreen and another screen,” Brown said. “We’re not a deny team anyway, we don’t get up and pressure the passing lanes and all that, because that’s not our strength with our personnel. So we just have to play solid team defense. If we play solid team defense and are in the right help positions, turnovers will happen during the course of the game. But we have to play with some juice, too.”

That “juice” was sorely lacking in Game 1.

Some of the Lakers’ Game 1 struggles can be attributed to their lack of preparation time for that first encounter. They won Game 7 of their first-round series against the Nuggets Saturday night and had roughly 36 hours to recover, rest and ready themselves for an emotional opening punch from a Thunder team that rested for nine days.

But you can’t put it all on their lack of preparation time. And they haven’t had any more time to get ready for Game 2.

Lakers forward Metta World Peace has his own theories about how to shake off those Game 1 struggles and prepare for a Game 2 that looms as a defining moment for these Lakers — a team that has experienced the extremes in their past two playoff series. (They were swept in the semis by eventual champion Dallas last season and needed that Game 7 at home to pass Denver.)

“It’s the same thing like a man has five wives. He’s been divorced once and he got married again,” World Peace said, using a rather peculiar metaphor to illustrate how the Lakers recover from Game 1 in time for Game 2. “You’ve got to move on. He didn’t want to get divorced, she didn’t want to get divorced. But hey, she said, ‘OK honey, I want half.’ She said that. You know she said that.”

“She got married again, he got married again. Moved on and it’s a new life. That’s how the game is. It is a fun game. At the same time, still a lot of passion involved. She will love her husband. We will love the game, too. Have fun, play with passion and it’s a whole new day.”

Strange as it seems, it sounds like a plan …  in theory.


  1. NBAfan says:

    They are getting closer. They had it but lost it in the last 2 minutes…IF they keep this up they’ll win the next two games

  2. Eaglos says:

    Another loss and another bad performance by Bryant. 9 of 25 and 0 of 6…
    This is beyond selfish, Bryant is either bored or he started to lack confidence.
    I still think Bryant should have taken that last shot,

  3. LakersRus says:

    The only way the Lakers can win is to slow the game down! Not an easy task! At least the refs are on our side! At least that’s what some idiots are saying! Nothing surprises me here!

  4. Adam says:

    I think the Lakers might win I don’t know. Westbrook, Durant and Harden were looking really good last game. Anyways I hope the Lakers win. If only one person has the ball all the time then they need to start double-teaming him and forcing more turnovers. Who has the ball all the time? Westbrook? I think fatigue may be an issue. The Lakers were looking kind of tired in that game. I think they can match on speed if they have rested long enough. It almost seems like they should be given a couple of days rest in order to make it a fairer series. I mean how can you expect a team to come off of a seven game series and start another one in 36 hours?

  5. willis says:

    how long does it take to moderate a comment?

  6. willis says:

    I just want to hear Ronny Artest speak some more – that ish is pure gold!

  7. Jao says:

    when MWP retires, he has a future in reality shows. put him together with Dennis Rodman and just watch mayhem and hilarity ensue.

  8. A says:

    2 words. stop westbrook

  9. Anyone else notice that it says Kobe Bryants name when they show Ramon Sessions?

  10. Lakersfans says:

    When facing team like Thunder, the coach should realise the need of using young players the starting line up. I would suggest using ebanks to replace world peace and allow world peace to guard westbook instead. Durant could be guarded by by Barnes or ebanks and sometimes even hill. As for harden, I hope kobe and Ramon have the ability to guard

  11. Ziek says:

    Good luck eLbow Lakers…

  12. Barry Lird says:

    The only “Lake Show” is gonna be Kobe & Bynum’s scraggly, gray afro-hairs casting their lines in Lake Silver.

    Lird Man, out!

  13. Randy austin says:

    Tha thunder will demolish tha lakers if that’s tha only game plan tha have they haven’t figured it out yet okc is HUNGRY they will tear up anything that’s in tha way or should I say on their plate they got come smarter than that they’ll do them like they dis Dallas lmbo

  14. Phil Jackson says:

    Kobe should guard Westbrook. Artest should guard Durant. And put Matt Barnes on Harden. That’s probably the best defensive option that the Lakers have.

  15. OKC fans are Bandwaggers says:

    Omg here we go again with the fake laker fans if you are a true laker fan you would support them and not say that they are going to get swept and all you okc bandwaggers please get off okc balls and stop bandwagging. i wonder how many of you liked them when they were the super sonics zero!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. smallnotch says:

    the lakers only gonna win if they still have shaq..

  17. Lakers4ever says:

    Win or lose…. go lakers team!!! Everything is possible. Basketball is team game. Collectively if all the players will work and play together as a team, I still believe that the lakers could still pull out a major upset. The pressure is on OKC because they are the favorites. Its the first time that the lakers are playing as underdogs. Who doesn’t love an underdog? I know I do. Its only game 1 folks. The series has just started. Seat back, relax and just enjoy the game. All this predictions is killing all the fun out of it. As the saying in the Philippines goes….”The ball is round anything can happen” GO LAKERS!!!!

    • 16going417 says:

      You are correct and only game one has been played and the series has just started, but here is the truth. The series for the Lakers will be determined tonight. Here is how:

      1. Lakers win tonight then they have a chance at winning the series as they are heading home tied.
      2. Lakers lose by a few points tonight then they can probably tie the series at home and possibly steal the Thunder’s mojo and make it a series. Then it could go either way.
      3. Lakers get blown out again tonight and it is over. They are done. No way LAL can beat OKC 4 out of 5 games if they get dominated again tonight.

      So, the series will be determined tonight IMO.

  18. charles says:

    Lakers only advantage is playing in the middle. It’s not small forward, it’s not point guard and it’s not even guard. Kobe is a fantastic player, but OKC has two great defensive guards in selfoosha and Harden. So it maybe an edge for lakers but not a significant one. One the other hand, Bynum and Gasol, when focused, are a significant upgrade over the OKC frontline. Furthermore, on a fast pace Westbrook will eat lakers for lunch. Slowing it down will allow Bynum and Gasol to attack while they have Kobe to bail them out if the 24 second violation is in view..

  19. Itsmyopinion says:

    Its disheartning to see that kobe has no heart whatsover in this series……yeah he played through a stomach virus….but i really dont think it was as bad as the media made it out to be… just dont see that look on his face anymore…..that look when he just zones out and rizes above the opposition like in his previous playoff runs……kobe needs to believe in his teamates and his teamates have to stop expecting him to bail them out every game……if the lakers play with enough heart they have a chance….GO LAKERS.

  20. OKCWillWin says:

    @ astroboy

    While I agree it is early, I would like to point out that the Miami bandwagon that
    I believe you are referring to started near the beginning of the season.
    I’m commenting on OKC’s play as of late which would blow Miami out of the water
    right now IMHO. I think if OKC is able to continue this level of play that only the Spurs might
    stand a chance at giving them a hard time.

  21. W/E says:

    the lakers might win a game vs okc only if hollywood kobe the brick bryant stops shooting the ball,12 field goals AT MOST and thats TOO MUCH if he is under 50%

    • Laker Fan with sense says:

      Kobe can shoot as much as he wants IF he is hitting. But the Lakers win only win if the Bigs are shooting at a high percentage regardless of how many points Kobe scores. Kobe can go for 50 tonight and shoot over 50% but it won’t be enough without the bigs and the bench. OKC is just that good.

  22. astroboy says:

    It will be very hard to beat OKC if Durant, Westbrook and Harden will score 20+ poinsts each game. But it’s still early to say that Lakers stand no chance. Remmeber the Miami bandwagon last year. Many people think that Miami will win the championship since they got Lebron, Wade and Bosh (which I think is slightly better offensively and defensively to OKC’s big three). But then, Dallas showed their true heart and got the ring.

  23. NorthPole says:

    How in the world are the Lakers going to win 4 out of next 6 games in order to win the series??? Not gonna happen… maybe 4 out of 14…

  24. OKCWillWin says:

    Let’s face it.
    I’m a Lakers fan and even I have to admit that if OKC continues to play this way.
    The Lakers have little to no chance of winning.
    It really depends on OKC choking if the Lakers are to stand a chance.

    • Laker Fan with sense says:

      I agree. OKC is the better TEAM in this series and the only way they can lose is if they fall apart AND the Lakers play perfect ball for 48 minutes. Lakers will definitely have to win tonight or they’re done.

  25. loso says:

    OKC is the best team since the Jordan era bulls… yeah, I said it

  26. danstanly says:

    I think the Lakers won’t be able to solve Westbrook as they didn’t last season with JJ in the Mavs, as the big men are the key for offense it’s also their weakness on D because the screens for Wesbrook and KD are killing them and the big men are unable to step on them to make their shots hard. Probably the Lakers will win 1 or 2 games tops, too bad cuz I’m a laker fan but that’s the truth.

  27. lord p says:

    LA go fishing soon=

  28. Johnd says:

    This is not Lakers’s fault. It is David Stern’s fault. Didn’t he ban the transfer of Chris Paul to the Lakers? This is completely autocratic to say the least!!! Good by NBA!!!! There is a lot of vibrant sport to watch on TV out there!!!!

  29. Jammin says:

    The Mavricks won last year because Dirk cheated and turned on God Mode. Not that I have a problem with that. I think they deserved a ring. But I don’t think they were better than OKC or Heat. Maybe OKC actually.

  30. prix says:

    god must be smiling cuz both Lakers and Heats lost. well…lakers are too obvious a sweep is inescapable

    • sbfern805 says:

      Hey stupid!!!! you are the one that said Lakers will lose in first round!!! do yourself a favor and get lost!!

  31. famo west says:

    throughout the lakers title runs of being in the finals 3 str8 years they never lost when they had homecourt. this is why theyll lose

  32. hitler says:

    During the chicago bulls first championship, they faced the a detroit pistons team that is also a back to back champion and is full of experience. That team knows the ins and outs the curves but in the end they lost. Same thing in this series. OKC in 4.

  33. TTKIN says:

    Lakers are so screwed. Laker fan for almost 2 decades and I think it’s pretty clear they wont get past OKC. And even if by some miracle that happens, SA hasnt lost since Bynum raped them for 30 rebounds, in fact they blew the Lakers out twice since then. So even if they get past OKC, they wont get by SA.

    Remember, the game Metta got ejected from, they were down by 18. They were getting blown out then finally realized Harden wasnt on the floor and came back. That wont happen. Honestly, I am calling sweep right now.

    But this isnt completely awful news…Im a huge Laker fan but even I can say that the next round with OKC facing off against SA will be epic. That series might go 7 games the way theyre both playing right now, and that 7th game will come down to the wire.

  34. Slick says:

    I am a BIG laker fan but I have to admit that we are not good enough this year to beat OKC. I think OKC are a Championship team this year. Even if OKC does not shoot the ball well, they still have enough depth on the bench. The bench has been huge for them. Our bench is not looking too good… Barnes is struggling with his shooting, Blake is inconsistent with his shooting and Hill is not strong enough to contend with Nazr Mohammed. I just can’t see us winning this series. I am sure the Lakers will give it their best shot but I don’t think they will go through to meet the Spurs.

    • 16going417 says:

      I’m a BIG Lakers fan myself. However, I respect people like you who are a fan of the GAME and understands exactly what is happening. Lakers can win the series, but it is a serious uphill battle and the odds are against them. So, anything is possible, but, like you, I do not see the Lakers getting past the Thunder this year for the exact reasons you listed.

  35. Kobe can do whatever he wants to. That is it. Any wanker who doesn’t believe this is a wanker. Kobe will win game 2 and will go on to win the series. Thank you.

    • BFoulds says:

      I like that you have my name in your name, but you’re a dip for thinking Lakers still have a chance at beating OKC in 4 games. Y’all barely squeezed by DENVER. C’mon man, I know you love your Lakers, but just be real.

  36. Volodos says:

    Though the thunders had a blowout game, I still believe that the lakers will make this series a close fight. No matter how good OKC is this year, Kobe will always be Kobe, meaning he will be a constant challenge for the Thunders throughout the series. No doubt that the odds for advancing in the next stage are against the LAL, but never count them out. Four games should be won in a best of 7. But until them, we still got a game baby.

  37. spelkey55 says:

    It’s a good theory only problem is the Lakers aren’t TEAM enough to deal with the Thunder. THEY ARE GOING DOWN!

  38. KOBE 5 Rings says:

    Seems like the lakers are always going through some type of trouble… It’s a big feat to beat the thunder as they are playing right now right those top 3 scorers in harden west and literally durant…. But I think it can be done… maybe this year and the next with this team.. but our guys have to play. .

    And kobe has to be the kobe of Old.. and not a sorta old kobe.. Which is very conceivable from his play this year in the season..

    kobe has to stick westbrook.. and we have to win 2nite.. if not 2nite.. must win both at home..

    i’M A LAKER FAN.. kobe fan mostly but this will be his biggest test. This is the finals for the lakers.

    • uoykcuf says:

      Thing is, kobe can still get his on offensive but defensively he’s pretty lazy these days. And talk about setting good example!” Mr. I do not take charge kobe” How can you still be a fan of a lazy rapist?

  39. NBAfan says:

    OKC is a heck of a team. Durant, Westbrook and Harden is a heck of a young big three. Sefalosha, Perkins, and Ibaka are a heck of supporting cast. And you kow D-Fish cane hit a big shot when it really counts. They are young and they are hungry and they’ve been working up to this.

    Kobe is a bit too old to play hero for 48 minutes for 7 games, and Bynum is a bit too young/immature to do it. You never know when Pau or Metta will show up, if at all. They are old, tired, and injured.

    It’s gonna be very tough for the Lakers, but they have a fighting chance. For them to win this series, three things need to happen:

    1. Kobe goes lights out in a game or two forcing the Thunder to adjust (35-40 pts, 45-50% shooting)
    2. Westbrook needs to get into a shooting slump a game or two (Pau and Bynum needs to bother his shots)
    3. Bynum needs to be dominant with defense and rebounding (15 boards, 3 blks, and setting the tone on defense)

    Good luck to both teams. Whoever gets out of the series deserves it I’m sure.

    • 16going417 says:

      Number 2 on your list is the concern. LAL needs help, by Westbrook shooting poorly, in order to win. That means their own destiny is not in their hands. VERY tough to win when you need the other team to perform poorly in order to have a chance.

      Hope they can pull it off though. GO LAKERS!!!!

    • Steve Blake says:

      THE LAKERS DON’T NEED ANY OF THOSE STEPS TO BEAT OKC. All they need is to force OKC to play a halfcourt game.

      • TWizz says:

        The only way to “force” a team to play a half court game would be to make shots or get back on defense fast enough. You can’t do both, so good luck with that. And Denver proved that even if you make shots, they can still play fast. I go with OKC sweeping LA, unless Durant and Westbrook both have a bad shooting night and no one else picks up the slack.

  40. hooplover says:

    i wouldn’t count the lakers out so soon, nor would i sleep on them. they’ll bounce back and take this series as another win. okc has speed true enough but LA has experience in winning championships and have been down this road before. they know the ins and outs, the curves, the trenches, obstacles in the lane and potholes! they’ll shine when it’s time.

    • Nada says:

      It’s true that lakers know the in and out but the problems is that can they or do they have the energy to run after these young legs. Two years ago when they were playing the playoff, OKC probably too young and too inexperience and they extend the series to 6 games, today the storey is completely different ! Laker will probably give a good fight but won’t survive…

    • uoykcuf says:

      I agreed with the plotholes, it’s the refs, they are paid by the lakers. just asked the kings, the bibbys and the boys.

    • dizhwar says:

      basketball is not always about star players and individual accomplishments. basketball is about chemistry. the core of the OKC,the star players and coaching staff, have been together for 2 playoff runs. And their system is running on all cylinders. They are young, experienced and hungry. I almost forgot, OKC has the 3-time NBA scoring champ in KD, Westbrook is one of the top 5 leading scorers this season, they have the sixth man of the year, the runner-up for DPOY and yes their back-up point guard has 5 rings on his resume. C’mon, do the Lakers really have a chance against OKC. The Lakers is a young team, compared to OKC. Young, because they have a new coach, new system and their bench with the new acquisitions. Kobe, Pau, Andrew and Metta may have been champs but most of their teammates are not. The only reason they are where they are right now is because of the black mamba, and he is no longer the player he used to be. I say OKC with another sweep.

  41. Jones17 says:

    Artest is really coming out with some crazy things lately. He may be losing it again…

  42. Kay says:

    Ummm…? OK Metta World War.

    • Andrew says:

      Lol, why didn’t I think of that?

    • scott m says:

      Ron, please man, i love you. BUT FOR YOUR OWN GOOD, PLZ STAY QUIET and let ur agent or teamates speak.
      ahahahahahahahaha wow!!!!
      Im the biggest lakers fan in Canada and as much as i hate to say it and it pains me deep(almost as deep at 08 finals) the lake show and mamba will be lucky not to get swept……..