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Aging Lakers have no answer for OKC Thunder

COMMENTARY — Showtime has become Old Time, as the veteran Lakers can't keep up with OKC's young legs.
by Berry Tramel Published: March 6, 2013

With 5:06 left in the game, the whistle blew, and referee David Jones called Russell Westbrook for traveling.

It was the Thunder's second turnover of the game. And the Thunder's last.

Yep, two turnovers. The whole game long. Tied the NBA record for fewest in a game. Usually, the high-flying Thunder produces more turnovers than Brown's Bakery at morning rush. Not this night.

The Thunder routed the Lakers 122-105 Tuesday night and showed that if the capable Lakers scratch their way into a playoff series against OKC, it's going to be a short fortnight for the Purple and Gold.

Purple and Old is more like it.

The Lakers still can play, especially offense, but not for long stretches of time. The Lakers are part all-star roster, part old-timers roster.

They just can't keep up with the Thunder. There's no substitute for young legs.

The Lakers can't put defensive pressure on the Thunder, which means no turnovers, which means Russell Westbrook (37 points) or Kevin Durant (26) or heck, even Older Than Dirt Himself Derek Fisher (10 points) is getting off a shot every time down court.

“Who would have thought we'd only end up with two turnovers,” asked Scotty Brooks. “We work on it. Just one of those things. It's not like we're not aware we turn the ball over 15 times a game.”

And it's not like the Thunder slowed the pace to take better care of the ball. The Boomers might need to do that against the Heat or the Clippers or the Nuggets. But not against the Lakers.

The Thunder had 22 fast-break points, got up 96 shots and 24 foul shots. The 122 points came without any fouling at the end, which can pad a team's point total.

Nope, this was mostly about the Lakers' inability to match up. During one two-minute stretch, Laker coach Mike D'Antoni used a lineup of 39-year-old Steve Nash, 36-year-old Antawn Jamison, 34-year-old Kobe Bryant and 33-year-old Metta World Chaos, along with 25-year-old Earl Clark.

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by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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