Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.
Oh, prescient ones: How many games is this Lakers-Thunder series going? Why do you see it that way? And who wins?
Steve Aschburner: It’s a five-gamer. Lakers eke one out at home. They needed Game 2 badly and didn’t get it. Kobe isn’t Kobe anymore, not like we think of him. And it’s all OK, TV ratings be darned. A Spurs-Thunder West showdown would be Tombstone at high noon.
Fran Blinebury: Thunder in five. They’re younger, better deeper. Best case is Kobe will explode in one home game to get a win. Another end-of-the-road sweep for the Lakers isn’t out of the question after gagging up Game 2 so ignominiously.
Scott Howard-Cooper: The Thunder will beat the Lakers in six games. I would have liked to see this series include a Laker team playing with urgency, but no sign of that. The Thunder are better, but the Lakers are still good enough to make it interesting. Said the man who said Dallas would never sweep L.A. in the second round a year ago.
Shaun Powell: OKC in four, and I mean a convincing four. The Lakers can’t keep up with these young boys. Besides, Bynum doesn’t want to play, Gasol is headed down the other side of the hill and Kobe is ready to blow a fuse. At least this is the evidence we’ve seen so far in the postseason. There’ll be some soul-searching going on in Lakerland in the offseason, which begins in five minutes.
John Schuhmann: I’ll stick with my pick of Thunder in five. The Lakers should be able to get one game at home and if they had held onto that lead last night, I’d say the series goes six or seven. But I just don’t think they can hold the Oklahoma City offense down for more than a game or two. They made a defensive adjustment in Game 2 and certainly showed some fight after Monday’s beat-down, but the Thunder have too many offensive weapons. If you take one thing away, they can go elsewhere for points.
Sekou Smith: I picked six games before the series started and even in light of recent events, the 29-point blowout in Game 1 and the Houdini performance in Game 2, I’m sticking with that. The Lakers still have the tools to give the Thunder trouble, as they showed for 46 minutes last night. And if they win Game 3 Friday night, they’ll have set themselves up for a series and potentially season-defining Game 4 Saturday night in Los Angeles. Of course, I would like to reserve the right to change my mind completely if they can’t hold serve in Game 3. Because if they stumble, this series doesn’t make it out of the weekend.