Updated playoff series matchups

By Mike Baldwin, Staff Writer, mbaldwin@opubco.com Modified: April 27, 2010 at 12:06 am •  Published: April 27, 2010
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Most matchups have played out as expected, but a few surprising twists have emerged after four games. Here’s an updated look at the matchups between the Lakers and Thunder:

Point guard

Russell Westbrook vs. Derek Fisher

This is the one matchup that gives the Thunder a shot at a shocking upset. Fisher, 35, has been the most potent 3-point shooter in the series, but he can’t contain Westbrook, who can get to the rim almost anytime he wants. Westbrook is shooting 55.2 percent in the series, averaging 21.8 points. If Westbrook continues to dominate the matchup, the Thunder can win the series.

Edge: Thunder

Shooting guard

Thabo Sefolosha vs. Kobe Bryant

Kobe, shooting 38.4 percent, has been an enigma. He looked like the 2008 MVP in Game 2, taking over in the fourth quarter (scoring 15 of his 39 points) but struggled in the fourth quarter (2-of-10) in Game 3 when Kevin Durant guarded him. Kobe turned down shots in Game 4. Bryant has admitted he’s less than 100 percent because of finger and knee injuries. How Kobe plays the rest of the series is the critical variable whether the Lakers win the series.

Edge: Lakers

Small forward

Kevin Durant vs. Ron Artest

The playoffs have been Durant’s coming-out party nationally. He’s shooting only 38.4 percent, a tribute to Artest’s defense. Artest, though, is contributing very little offensively (7.0 average, shooting 30.0 percent) while Durant is averaging a series-leading 26.8 points. Durant also grabbed a career-high 19 rebounds in Game 3. And Durant’s defense on Kobe in Game 3 is proof he’s evolving into a two-way player.

Edge: Thunder

Power forward

Jeff Green vs. Pau Gasol

The Lakers constantly say they need to work the ball inside, but Gasol has averaged only 12.5 shots a game. Nick Collison and Serge Ibaka have done a solid job on Gasol and LA’s big men when they come off the bench. Green is slumping offensively (11.8 points, shooting 26.3 percent) but has played solid defense. If Gasol busts out, the Lakers probably win the series. Continue to limit Gasol to 18.3 points and the Thunder has a shot.

Edge: Lakers

Center


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