YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Five things to take from Lakers' 103-100 loss to Thunder

May 20, 2012|By Mark Medina
  • Andrew Bynum reacts to a foul call in the second half of Game 4.
Andrew Bynum reacts to a foul call in the second half of Game 4. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles…)

Some things to break down from the Lakers' 103-100 Game 4 loss Saturday to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

1. The series is over. Of course, the Lakers are going to say they're confident they can overcome a 3-1 deficit. They'll tout their experience, their poise and the fact that they easily could be up 3-1 in this series. Who cares. Only eight out of 208 teams have overcome such a deficit, and the Lakers are in no position to become the ninth team. For the second time in three games, the Lakers collapsed in the fourth quarter. They'll meet an energetic crowd Monday during Game 5 at Chesapeake Energy Arena. And the Thunder will waste no time ending this series when it smells blood.

2. The Lakers collapsed in the fourth quarter. Lay blame all across the board. Pau Gasol committed a costly turnover by passing up an open shot and having a pass out to Metta World Peace intercepted. After shooting lights out in the first three quarters, Bryant shot two of 10 from the field on looks when he was way off balance and out of the offensive rhythm. The Lakers suddenly went away from Andrew Bynum, who only had two field goals, because he felt persisting double teams in the post. The Lakers went scoreless for a three-minute stretch. It's unfair to lay blame on any specific party, but clearly the Lakers' lack of ball movement and purpose created a cyclical affect at the most inopportune time.

3. Kobe Bryant played out of his mind for three quarters. After salvaging the Lakers' season in Game 3 through sheer will power, Bryant dropped 38 points on 12-of-28 shooting in Game 4 by putting on a clinic with his footwork. He attacked the rim for three consecutive possessions in one third-quarter sequence. By constantly using his pivot foot, Bryant made timely fadeaway jumpers. He also used Gasol's effective screens to free him up for pull-up jumpers by the elbows and free-throw line. And then there were times that Bryant just performed those ridicuously tough shots that somehow go in the bucket.

As mentioned before, Bryant's high productivty spurred him into taking too many difficult shots in the fourth quarter. But you still have to give him credit for what he did for most of the game. Time and time again, Bryant demonstrated how he used his footwork to give himself enough slivers of separation to give him the looks he needs.

4. The Lakers had solid contributions from various role players. On paper, it looks like Kevin Durant lit Metta World Peace up for 31 points on 10-of-18 shooting. In reality, World Peace at least made him work for his shots. He also provided some timely scoring on the perimeter with 14 points on a four-of-eight clip from three-point range. For the second consecutive game, Ramon Sessions showed aggressiveness by attacking the rack (10 points). Lakers reserve big man Jordan Hill provided tons of energy with his four rebounds. In a way, this makes the Lakers' loss even more disheartening.

5. Staples Center looked too slippery. The arena personnel maintain no shortcuts were made in switching the Clipper and Laker courts during the doubleheader Saturday. But it's fair to wonder to what degree the Staples Center hosting playoff games for Kings, Cippers and Lakers games did to the floor. Bryant slipped when he drove to the basket. Sessions fell down early in the game. And worst of all, Russell Westbrook landed awkwardly on his hip just before halftime when his feet slipped and he nearly did the splits, requiring him to get treatment in the locker room. It seemed way too often that a catastrophic accident was just waiting to happen.


Lakers vs. Thunder: Game 4 live updates

Lakers-Thunder series: Five things to watch in Game 4

Kobe Bryant refusing to back down against Oklahoma City

 E-mail the Lakers blog at Follow the Lakers blog on Twitter.

Five things to take from Lakers' 103-100 loss to Thunder

Los Angeles Times Articles