Qs and As about Thunder-Lakers series
Wanted to give you a sneak peek at something that we’re working on as we’re gearing up for the Thunder’s playoff series against the Lakers.
Everyone that’s a part of our NBA coverage team is answering these questions. You’ll see all the answers later today on NewsOK.com and tomorrow in The Oklahoman. But because I know everyone is talking about this series, I wanted to share my answers.
And hey, feel free to post your questions! I’ll try to get to them as soon as possible.
Matchup that most favors the Lakers: Anything involving Kobe Bryant. I know Thabo Sefolosha held him in check when the Lakers came to town last month, but this is the playoffs. And Kobe is, well, Kobe in the playoffs. No matter who matches up on him, it will be advantage Lakers.
Matchup that most favors the Thunder: Anything involving Kevin Durant. This might be K.D.’s first playoff experience, but the guy is growing up right before our eyes. He seems to figure out a new way to score every week. He’ll be a handful for whomever guards him.
Biggest cause for concern from the last two games: The lack of energy and defense late in the game. Everyone knows that the fourth quarter is where games are won and lost in the NBA. Yet against the Warriors and the Blazers, the Thunder couldn’t stop anybody from getting to the rim. Too many easy baskets in crunch time is troublesome.
Possible silver lining from the last two games: Motivation. This team has been pretty darn good about bouncing back from bad performances. They have a pride about them that shines after poor stretches. Perhaps they bow up and fight back. Do that in the series opener in L.A., and the Thunder could score a rare playoff road victory.
Why are opposing point guards torching the Thunder?: No doubt opposing point guards are sticking it to this team in April. Deron Williams. Chauncey Billups. Andre Miller. Monta Ellis. All have had big nights. But Williams and Billups are understandable. They’re two of the better point guards in the league. And considering the Thunder followed up games against those two by holding Steve Nash to 11 points, it didn’t seem like opposing point guards were a problem at that point. The last two — Ellis and Miller — are more troubling. They illustrate again that struggling defense. Guys are able to get to the rim with ease, able to get great looks at the basket. When that happens, even the Monta Ellises and the Andre Millers of the NBA will score. The defense simply has to be better.
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