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Thunder-Lakers: Who says Game 2 was too close for comfort?

COMMENTARY — The Thunder's 77-75 victory over the Lakers was way better than its Game 1 rout because of what it says — and proves — about this team.
by Jenni Carlson Published: May 17, 2012

Kobe Bryant grabbed furiously at his jersey and wheeled angrily on his heel.

Want to know what frustration looks like?

His reaction after the Lakers missed their last shot to save themselves from a late-game, road-playoff collapse said it all.

Thunder 77, Lakers 75.

No doubt it was great for the Thunder to throttle the Lakers in Game 1. It was grand fun. It was a high time.

But winning by rout was nowhere as good as winning the way the Thunder did in Game 2.

Down seven points with two minutes to go? The Lakers seeming to have all the answers? The Thunder looking to have none? Some fans at The Peake heading to the exits early?

And to come away with a victory and a 2-0 lead in this Western Conference playoff series?

This is better than a blowout.

“I've been around for four years with this team, with this group of guys, and one of the things they won't do — they won't quit,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “That's not in their DNA. They're not wired that way.

“If they were, they wouldn't be here.”

Still, the boys in blue had every reason to think this wasn't going to be their night. Shots that were falling Monday night were clanking off the rim Tuesday night. Loose balls that were ending up in their hands in Game 1 were settling in Laker hands in Game 2.

You could see the energy draining out of these guys. For a fairly long stretch during the second half, they looked like a defeated bunch.

But then Brooks took a timeout with a little over two minutes left.

“We're down seven,” he told the guys in the huddle. “You don't have to play perfect basketball, but you'd better be pretty close.”

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by Jenni Carlson
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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