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NBA Atlanta Hawks

Thunder Rally Late, Lakers Lose 77-75

 

After a 29 point Game 1 loss, the Los Angeles Lakers, hoped to redeem themselves and draw their series even before heading back to L.A. It looked like that would be the case with the Lakers up 7 with a little over 2 minutes left in game 2. However, the Oklahoma City Thunder rallied late, and defeated the Lakers 77-75 in Game 2 of the Western Coference semi-finals.

Kobe Bryant let the cannons fly, as he has done all season for the Lakers, by hoisting 25 shots, but only making 9 of them. He missed all 6 of his 3-point attempts, and only attempted a measly 2 free throws. He recorded 20 points and also played a team-high 43 minutes. Andrew Bynum also recorded 20 points on 8-19 shooting. Ramon Sessions continues to be irrelevant in this series, as he only played 24 minutes, attempted 3 shots, and had a lousy 2 points. Like I was telling my twitter followers, if Sessions is going to go absent in this series, the Lakers will struggle generating offense. The result of 75 points should be a tell-tale sign of that. Lakers traded for the younger Sessions from the Cleveland Cavaliers in late March to replace old-timer Derek Fisher, but the dividends have not paid off at this point. Kevin Durant led the Thunder with 22 points on 9-15 shooting, including the game winner with 18.6 seconds left. Serge Ibaka was a beast in the paint, recording seven of the Thunder’s eight blocks.

Andrew Bynum made a hook shot with 2:09 left in the game, and the Lakers lead was 75-68. They would fail to record another point after that, and only had 12 4th quarter points as a team. After the Bynum hook shot, Thunder guard James Harden made a nice drive to the bucket to make it a 75-70 game. On the very next play, Durant pick-pocketed Kobe, and it was 75-72 in the blink of an eye. Thunder, would eventually get the lead, on a Durant floater that dribbled around the rim before falling in with 19 seconds remaining.

The Lakers did have the last possession, but instead of going to Kobe, they defered to a WIDE OPEN Steve Blake on the right baseline. His three point attempt was off right and the game was over. After the game, Blake said, “I was open, but the minute it left my hand, I knew it was off right.” The Los Angeles Lakers shot 25% in the fourth quarter, with six turnovers, but still played way better basketball compared to Game 1. Their defense was upbeat, and they were really working hard to defend the Thunder’s pick and roll scheme. They held OKC to a season-low, 77 points, but it just wasn’t enough. Metta World Peace had a poor shooting night, but did flash some pretty strict defense while guarding Durant. The Lakers looked tough and disciplined for most of the game, up until the 2:09 mark. They collapsed. Simple as that, on both ends of the court. Specifically, Kobe Bryant if we all want to be honest with each other. He missed all 3 of his final shot attempts, including an air ball. He turned the ball over, with the lead, with less than two minutes to go. He also took 25 shots and made 9 of them. That’s all the Thunder needed. What should be a tied series 1-1, headed back to L.A., the Lakers now face an uphill battle with a much younger squad in Oklahoma City. Game 3 is scheduled for Friday night at the Staples Center. They better act like Game 3 is Game 7, or Kobe’s quest for ring number six will vanish, like their 7 point lead did tonight.

Game Notes:

  • Los Angeles Lakers are 29-12 when splitting the first two games of a seven-game series and have lost 17 of 19 when falling into a 2-0 hole.
  • The Thunder have won all nine of their series after leading 2-0, dating back to the franchise’s days in Seattle.
  • The Los Angeles Lakers last comeback down 0-2 was in the 2004 West semifinals against the San Antonio Spurs.
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