How to beat the Los Angeles Lakers

By Mike Baldwin and Mike Sherman, The Oklahoman, mbaldwin@opubco.com, msherman@opubco.com Modified: April 17, 2010 at 12:05 am •  Published: April 17, 2010
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They are the defending champions. And they are 6-5 in their last 11.

They are overpowering — when healthy — in the paint. They haven't been healthy in a while.

They're a favorite to return to their third straight NBA Finals. And the last time they were here, they were lucky to make it out of the Ford Center with their purple jerseys.

Conventional wisdom says the Los Angeles Lakers are a flip-of-the-switch away from blowing through their first-round series with the Oklahoma City Thunder. But what if they don't find the switch?

What if Derek Fisher's odometer is rolling over? What if Kobe Bryant's ailing, crooked index finger won't let him shoot straight? What if Andrew Bynum is just a big tease?

What if Phil Jackson's defensive tactics and Zen mind games can't stop Kevin Durant's historic marches to the free-throw line and NBA scoring records?

What if the Thunder continues to shock the world and makes this a series?

A look at how that could happen, and why the odds are stacked against it.