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Lakers face end of season tonight in Oklahoma City

May 21, 2012|By Mike Bresnahan
  • Metta World Peace, Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol leave the court after Saturday's loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder put the Lakers on the brink of elimination from the NBA playoffs.
Metta World Peace, Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol leave the court after Saturday's… (Mark J. Terrill / Associated…)

Oklahoma City — The Lakers' season, defined widely by inconsistency and inability, could finally end Monday night against Oklahoma City.

The Lakers have blown two substantial fourth-quarter leads and trail the Thunder, 3-1, in the Western Conference semifinals.

They're 0-3 at Chesapeake Energy Arena this season, which leaves them with ... hope?

"Every game is a different story, as we experienced throughout the playoffs, so we're tuning in to this one and understanding that our life is on the line," Lakers forward Pau Gasol said Monday. "To be able to stretch this out and have an opportunity, we have to win tonight here in Oklahoma with all the momentum that they have right now."

The Lakers pointed a few fingers after their 103-100 loss Saturday in Game 4. Kobe Bryant said Gasol wasn't aggressive enough and erred with a late turnover. Gasol said the ball didn't move enough, a hint to Bryant, who took 10 fourth-quarter shots and missed eight of them.

Andrew Bynum also seemed upset, declining to disclose names but noting that "I couldn't get the ball. I wasn't part of the game."

Bryant did not speak to reporters after the team's Monday morning shootaround.

Gasol tried to sound optimistic even though only eight teams have ever come back from a 3-1 deficit to win an NBA series.

"We're confident that if we do things the right way and consistent throughout the 48 minutes, we have a good chance," Gasol said. "Obviously, if we play in spurts, it's probably not going to work out. If we're not solid enough in our coverages defensively, they're going to find a crack and they're going to attack and they're talented enough, athletic enough, gifted enough to be effective against that."


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