No Pau Gasol. No Dwight Howard. How are the Lakers’ chances looking? Not too good. Especially since they are on a five game losing streak looking to play the defending Western Conference Champions, Oklahoma City Thunder. So if the Lakers don’t play on playing defense tonight, things will get ugly. At least the Lakers will have point guard Steve Nash this time around. Last time these two teams met in Oklahoma, Nash and Gasol were both out and the Lakers lost 114-108.
This won’t be a close game, UNLESS that team that played Brooklyn showed up. However, that seems highly unlikely. There is much else to say about this game considering how badly injured this Los Angeles team is and how poorly they have played. OKC definitely wins this one and puts the Lakers even further down in the standings. Lakers or Thunder, who you takin?
Kevin Durant has always had the persona of a nice guy on and off the court. He always seems to maintain his composure. However, in recent games we have seen frustration get the best of the three time scoring champion. Over the course of three games, Durant has been given three technical fouls including two technicals against the Brooklyn Nets that resulted in his first ejection ever. Feeling that he let his fans down, Durant took to his Twitter and apologized for his recent performance. “3 techs in 3 games, not like me…@KendrickPerkins is a bad influence on my life lol jk..I will be better, sorry guys.”
It was a classy gesture by a great player and guy. However, could it be frustration setting in? Most likely. During that Brooklyn game, the Thunder weren’t playing well. They actually played horrible. I wouldn’t dwell on this. Durant is still a great player and more importantly respects the game of basketball. I wouldn’t look too into this. The Thunder still sits atop their division at 26-7.
This NBA finals season has been one of the most exciting years in quite awhile. Playoffs are always intense, but this year seems to be different. The Western Conference is a great example for that. In one series we saw a veteran sweep a bunch of new, exciting players and in the other we saw the “King” be dethroned by his successor.
The Lakers-Thunder series was definitely my favorite by far. It had all the drama that you would expect with an aging Lakers team and all the excitement of a young and very athletic team. Kobe dominated Game 5, however, it might have been his fault for Games 2 and 4. Did the veteran leader take responsibility? Not quite. He pointed his finger at every other player he possibly could, except of course Metta World Peace because I think Bryant is a little too scared to get him angry. This postseason has left many Lakers fans puzzled. Will Pau Gasol stay? Most likely not. I have never been a huge Gasol fan and this is why. He could be much more dominate if he wanted. There should be no reason why he did not step up this series and have 20-20 games. This is the same with Andrew Bynum. He should have exploded, but he looked like a match waiting to be lit. OKC is without a doubt a better team and played like one. The tension on the Lakers is obvious. No one really seems to like each other and it shows. The front office has some serious moves to make because they will never be able to compete again with teams like OKC in their way.
Now onto the most underrated team in the league. They are not showy. They do not do high flying dunks. They just play incredible fundamental basketball with impressive ball movement. The San Antonio Spurs. They took care of business in both rounds, only playing eight games and never losing one. In fact, this team has not lost in months. This team has continued to impress yet do not get the press they deserve. It certainly does not seem to bother the veterans who are playing almost as well as they did a decade ago when they were an unbeatable team. I do think OKC will give them trouble and this series will not end as quickly. I am going to stick with my original prediction and pick the Spurs to take the whole thing. OKC might be younger and way more athletic, but down the line it is more about playing better basketball and I think that goes to San Antonio.
As if he was not already one of the top candidates for the honor, Kevin Durant showed just how good he really is. This time it did not even involve him scoring. In the video below, you see one of the most unbelievable alley-oops from Kevin Durant to teammate Russell Westbrook. This play makes you forgot about that Lebron James dunk over John Lucas III or the Blake Griffin dunk over almost every player in the league (Pao Gasol and Kendrick Perkins just to name a couple). It is almost unbelievable how athletic these two really are.
Russell Westbrook, point guard for Oklahoma City, has reportedly signed a five-year/$80 million contract. The 23-year-old has come under fire a lot for his lack of maturity on the court. Maybe it has something to do with playing second fiddle to Kevin Durant. However, he has the drive to win and is hungry for a title. He is one of the league’s top guards. He has great ball handling skills, but that is counteracted with poor shooting decisions. Was this a smart decision for the Thunder? Well, yes you get a player who can compete with the game’s most elite and he is still young and can be molded into a superstar. But then with this exorbitant contract then how much do you give Kevin Durant? Will there be any cap space to get any other players? It does not seem very likely. Then again, nothing ever seems likely in the world of basketball.