The Oklahoma City Thunder could not have played any better Monday night in Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Thunder thrashed the Lakers to the tune of a 29-point blowout victory.
Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook made it look easy scoring 25 and 27 points, respectively. They combined to go 18-of-31 from the field and 13-for-14 at the line. Westbrook also finished with nine assists and seven rebounds.
The Thunder were focused from the start and it showed as they turned the ball over a franchise-low four times in the game.
Kendrick Perkins started the game and looked fine until he seemed to reinjure his hip on a dunk in the third quarter and left for the locker room.
Oklahoma City started off strong but the Lakers countered early taking advantage of their size down low.
Andrew Bynum got started early with 10 points and five rebounds in the first quarter. He would finish the game with 20 points and 14 boards.
Metta World Peace heard the boos once he entered the arena but it seemed to motivate him more than anything as he hit two 3-pointers in the first quarter and played well getting position down low over smaller Thunder defenders.
World Peace did have an incident during the second half when he got tangled up with James Harden and took him down with another near elbow to the head.
Harden played great though for the Thunder scoring 17 points and getting to the line to make 9-of-10 free throws.
The greatest strength for the Thunder against the Lakers is that they don’t have to double team Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum or Pau Gasol. Kobe scored a pedestrian 20 points in the game on 7-of-18 shooting.
It looks as if Thabo Sefolosha will have no problem checking Kobe for the rest of the series and while the Lakers bigs had some success in the game it simply did not faze the Thunder.
Oklahoma City shot extremely well in the game but they were also getting a lot of open shots for them. The Lakers are going to really have to change their defensive game plan to slow down the Thunder who had everything seem so easy on offense.
It’s just one game but a 29-point victory feels like it means more. It was a statement win and a message not just to the Lakers but the entire league. The Thunder aren’t playing around anymore. They’re ready to win a title.
The Thunder and Lakers will play Game 2 Wednesday at 9:30 p.m. EST.
Tags: Andrew Bynum Game 1 James Harden Kendrick Perkins Kevin Durant Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers Metta World Peace Oklahoma City Thunder Pau Gasol Russell Westbrook Thabo Sefolosha Western Conference Semifinals