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Thunder vs. Lakers: Breaking down the individual matchups

Darnell Mayberry takes a look at the matchups for the Thunder-Lakers series.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: May 14, 2012
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/articleid/3675283/1/pictures/1719558">Photo - L.A. LAKERS: Oklahoma City's Thabo Sefolosha (2) guards Lakers' Kobe Bryant (24) during the NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Los Angeles Lakers, Sunday, Feb. 27, 2011, at the Oklahoma City Arena. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman  ORG XMIT: KOD
L.A. LAKERS: Oklahoma City's Thabo Sefolosha (2) guards Lakers' Kobe Bryant (24) during the NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Los Angeles Lakers, Sunday, Feb. 27, 2011, at the Oklahoma City Arena. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman ORG XMIT: KOD

EDGE: Gasol

CENTER

KENDRICK PERKINS VS. ANDREW BYNUM

ANALYSIS: How healthy is Perk? That's the question we all want to know. And it's potentially the one factor that could determine the outcome of this series. If Perk is fully healed from a strained right hip muscle, he's the best defender anyone has for Bynum. If not, things could get ugly. Then again, which Bynum will show up? That's another pressing question. Ask any Lakers fan about how hot and cold Bynum can be. If the Lakers get anything close to a hot Bynum, the Thunder could be in for a long series on the low block.

EDGE: Bynum

BENCH

ANALYSIS: The Thunder has Derek Fisher, James Harden, Daequan Cook, Nick Collison and Nazr Mohammed. The Lakers have Steve Blake, Jordan Hill and not much else. It's really not even a debate. You could throw in Matt Barnes, Troy Murphy and, perhaps, Devin Ebanks for the Lakers. But none of those three are game-changers. Barnes and Ebanks can supply stretches of solid perimeter defense, and Murphy can knock down 3s. But no one on the Lakers can match the impact of Harden.

EDGE: Thunder

COACHES

SCOTT BROOKS VS. MIKE BROWN

ANALYSIS: Brown has more experience. He owns a 46-32 playoff record and has an NBA Finals appearance under his belt. Brown has coached 51 more playoff games than Brooks. That gives Brown an advantage. But neither is known for being a master of Xs and Os. Brooks, however, is more likely to make in-game adjustments and deploy different lineups so that his team has the best chance at success.

EDGE: Brooks

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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