Lakers had no answer for Russell Westbrook

THUNDER 119, LAKERS 90 — Oklahoma City rolls in Game 1 behind its point guard's dominance. Not even the great Kobe Bryant could slow Russell Westbrook.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: May 15, 2012

When Westbrook made his playoff debut in his second season, he torched the Lakers and carried the Thunder to a thrilling six-game series. But when Bryant switched onto him, Westbrook struggled to have the same success.

Monday night, Bryant was no match.

“I thought he was good,” said Lakers coach Mike Brown. “I thought he was good in pick-and-rolls early on. And then I thought he was good in the post as the game went along. So he had a great performance on both ends of the floor.”

Going into the series, Bryant appeared to be a sufficient answer for slowing Westbrook. Even in the last regular season meeting between these two teams, Bryant helped to hold Westbrook to a 3-for-22 shooting night in L.A.'s eight-point double overtime win.

With Lakers bulldog defender Metta World Peace attached to Durant, it seemed James Harden would be the matchup nightmare for the Lakers this time around.

But Westbrook's decision-making and pace quickly proved he's still a problem for L.A.

Perhaps most impressive was Westbrook's assist-to-turnover ratio. His nine assists against one turnover mirrored his team's effort in a department that has been problematic all season.

But in Game 1, the Thunder had 20 assists and just four turnovers.

“We played good basketball,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “Like I told the guys, it's one game. It's the first team to four that will win this series. And come Wednesday night, regardless of you won by one or 20, it doesn't have an impact on Wednesday night. We have to come back with the same energy. We know the Lakers are going to play much better.”

by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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