The Lakers looked like an animal with the spirit beat out of it. Kobe all but gave up trying to motivate his big men to play with passion and the Thunder just wore them down on Monday night, closing the series with a 106-90 win.
The Lakers came out with some energy and were only down five at the end of the first quarter and three by half time, but the writing was on the wall. The entire game felt like a precursor to a confetti shower waiting to drop in Oklahoma.
The Thunder went off in the fourth quarter outscoring the Lakers 23-13. Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum both had unmotivated games with Gasol only getting 14 points and Bynum a pathetic 10. Most of these points were either on put-backs or largely great passes from Kobe. Neither player did much to create offense. Kobe looked too disgusted and exhausted to continue to yell at his big men to care more about the game. Instead, Kobe simply went out and did Kobe to the tune of 42 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists.
I don’t know who keeps chirping about Bynum being the best center in the game, but if he is the best, the NBA has a bunch of horrible centers. As far as Gasol goes, he appears incapable of playing against true centers or 4-men with any size or strength.
The Lakers big three will not survive this off-season. Look for Gasol to be traded at the very least.
The Thunder continued to do what they’ve done all series: play their game. Russell Westbrook got the offense going with 28 points, Kevin Durant had 25 points and 10 rebounds, and James Harden put in 17 points of his own. The attitude difference between the Thunder’s big three and the Lakers is obvious. The Thunder looked hungry and the Lakers looked uninspired.
In a move of true classlessness, Metta World Peace picked up another flagrant foul and a technical foul. I’ll admit, he probably didn’t deserve the flagrant-1, but it’s Metta World Peace. He’s got to realize that his track record isn’t forgotten when he goes in there and delivers hard fouls.
Kobe picking up a technical on the same play was absurd. This is a Lakers team that confuses chawing at the refs with intensity on the court. Dive on the floor or box out if you’ve got that much energy to argue with the refs for 10 minutes.
The Oklahoma Thunder now move on to face the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Finals. Most believe this will be a seven game series that will come down to the wire. The popular pick right now is Oklahoma, but San Antonio has its believers too.
The one consensus appears to be that whoever wins the west, wins the ring.
Photo Credit: AP