He’s been the best and most consistent player in this series. Lakers guard Derek Fisher can’t guard him, and neither can Fisher’s younger, more athletic backups. Westbrook has gotten to the rim at will, posed problems with his pull-up jumper and has been a steady playmaker.
→A banged up Bryant:
A fractured finger, wobbly ankle and a rickety knee have taken a toll on Bryant and grounded the game’s ultimate closer. Bryant no longer can knife his way to the basket or rise to shoot over defenses with consistency. Without him as his normal self, the Lakers have lost their safety net.
OKC’s bench has outscored L.A.’s by a combined 93-80 in the first four games, including a 69-49 margin in the last two games.
James Harden and Jeff Green are starting to step up offensively, while Nick Collison and Serge Ibaka continue to provide resistance defensively. On the other side, Ron Artest, Lamar Odom, Andrew Bynum and Shannon Brown have yet to show any consistency on both ends.
The Thunder owns a 139-94 advantage in free-throw attempts, an average of 11.2 more foul shots than the Lakers. It’s a stat that shows which team has been the aggressor.
He’s become a game-changer with his rebounding, shot-blocking and overall hustle. Ibaka is averaging 6.3 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.8 blocks in four games and has given the Lakers’ frontline fits at both ends.
The Thunder genuinely thinks it can win this series. The Lakers, meanwhile, are admittedly so rattled they’re no longer sure of what to expect.