Saturday, April 24, 2010

Western Conference Round 1: Lakers vs. Thunder, Game 4 Recap

Old school, new school, need to learn though...

Word to Biggie Smalls, we just got burned like disco inferno. This game gave me flashbacks of the Finals in 2004 when the Pistons steamrolled the Lakers in what's been dubbed the "5 game sweep." They beat us so bad the series might as well be 2-3 right now. Before this series, the talking heads were saying the Thunder were too young to match up with the veteran Lakers. Now the question is can the old Lakers keep up with these young whippersnappers? They most certainly can, but only on one condition. Like Guru said: "Who's gonna take the weight?"

The Lakers aren't playing like they want to win. They certainly aren't playing like defending champions. As one ESPN commentator said tonight, the Lakers play with a minimal sense of urgency. They put in just enough work to succeed. That's slacking. I'm calling them the L.A. (S)La(c)kers 'til they get their business in order. Like I said previously, the Lakers have one of the strongest front court one-two punches in the league in Gasol and Bynum. They're not playing hard enough. Funny thing is, Pau and Drew were the Lakers' top scorers tonight. That's a problem. Ron Artest got a tough job because he's defending the scoring champ. The more work he puts in on defense makes it harder for him to re-up on offense. That's where Kobe, Lamar and the rest of the team need to step in... and they're not. In this entire series, Lamar's been wearing an invisibility cloak. He's nowhere to be found. Kobe ain't helping either. He scored 12 points. Three of those points came in the first half. Three points in twenty-four minutes? That's not MVP basketball.

Bottom line: Lakers need to get into the paint. I feel like a broken record saying this, especially because the proof is still in the pudding; check the box score for tonight's game: Lakers shot 28 free throws. Thunder shot 48. The Thunder shot 87.5% on their free throws. The Lakers made 'em 60.7% of the time. That's horrifying and completely unacceptable. The series heads back to Staples on Tuesday night. We must win. We gotta be playing each game like it's the 7th in a series.