The Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Los Angeles Lakers 119-90 in Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals.
The Thunder were playing their first game in nine days after sweeping the Dallas Mavericks in the first round and they did not look rusty at all. It was clear they would be eager to get on the courts but sometimes that can result in less than sharp play.
Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook were more than up for the challenge last night though. They had a game plan coming into the game and executed it to perfection. They shot extremely well from the field but they worked hard to get good looks and they were shots they usually are hitting.
The amazing thing is that it felt like the Lakers didn’t play that bad, at least on offense. They were doing a good job of getting Andrew Bynum going early inside and they were also taking advantage of the mismatches Metta World Peace presented.
While this was going on and the Lakers were warming up into their game, the Thunder was surging past them, focused and poised for the kill.
It’s no secret now how talented this Thunder team is. They are young but have three bonafide stars in Durant, Westbrook and Harden. They are three of the best scorers in the entire league and can all do it in slightly different ways.
They’re surrounded by great role players who know their role very well. Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka have no problems playing the Lakers bigs straight up and Thabo Sefolosha can essentially lock up Kobe Bryant on the perimeter.
Kobe shot just 30 percent against the Thunder in the regular season and the defense of Sefolosha has a ton to do with it. Kobe doesn’t have the same first step he used to and Sefolosha has the “student of the game” feel to him the way he approaches his assignment with Bryant.
The great thing about the Lakers usually is they have three players that are extremely difficult to handle on offense. Not for the Thunder though. This is the biggest reason why OKC may sweep LA.
The Thunder come to play every night. They have all season long and that’s one of the best things about this team. They’re good and know they’re good and aren’t interested in wasting any time not getting better.
A loss is a loss even if it’s by 29 points. If there’s a team that can probably shrug off this kind of loss it’s probably the Lakers but the Thunder smell blood right now. They know how to beat this team and take advantage of their strengths.
So that’s what’s going to happen. OKC will win this series and do so impressively because that’s who they are. There are still some legitimate doubts about the Thunder winning a title this year but they won’t come up during this series.
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 Serge Ibaka Thabo Sefolosha Western Conference Semifinals