April 22, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder small forward Kevin Durant (35) makes a shot past Los Angeles Lakers power forward Pau Gasol (16) in the first half of the game at the Staples Center. Lakers won in double OT 114-106. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

Some Oklahoma City Thunder fans fear the Nuggets more than the Lakers


With the Lakers having taken a commanding 3-1 lead over their first round foes, the Denver Nuggets, it seems like a foregone conclusion (though don’t tell that to these Lakers) that L.A. is making its way towards a date with the powerhouse Oklahoma City Thunder.

At the very least, the Lakers are a tough out (even though I hate that phrase). With the skillset that our two seven-footers have, as well as the tenacious defenders and, of course, megastar Kobe Bryant, you’d think that, though we’re beatable, many teams would rather take an alternate route to the NBA Finals.

Not some OKC fans, though. While I’m not one to complain about blog posts and such, I felt this one stung, even if a little. From Welcome to Loud City:

But one team scares me much more than the other. And yes, the team that scares me isn’t the one only a season removed from a championship with three of the best players in the game. The team that scares me is none other than the team we nearly swept in the first round last season. And here’s why.

1. These Aren’t Last Year’s Nuggets. [...] My point is, last year was a year of transition from one set of players to the next, and George Karl didn’t even have his rotations set yet. Now, this unit (more or less) has had a chance to work together and iron out the kinks.

[...]

2. The Thunder can’t slow down the Nuggets’ scoring attack. In two of their three games against the Thunder this year, the Nuggets have scored over 100. The other game, in which they scored 80, was played without Nene or McGee. They have no go-to option, but they have 7 guys who average at least 10 points per game, and all of them are capable of going off on any given night.

Don’t get me wrong: I like Welcome to Loud City (heretofore known as WtLC) almost as much as I like our fellow Fansided OKC blog, Thunderous Intentions.

But these guys are so, so wrong.

Before we get into that, we have to make something clear: These L.A. Lakers are not yet done with the Denver Nuggets, and we cannot look ahead. The Thunder are officially finished with their first-round opponent, the Dallas Mavericks, and we are not.

But the reasons for fearing Denver more than the Lakers? Those are really inaccurate. Last year’s Nuggets did have to undergo a short transition period, to be sure. Teams need more time to be cohesive to be more effective in basketball, and the Nuggets are no exception.

But the Lakers have exploited the piles and piles of kinks that Denver has, nearly flawlessly (when they want to). And if Thunder fans don’t have faith in slowing down the Nuggets’ scoring attack, then they better be afraid of the Laker defense, which held the Nuggets to under 100 points three out of the four games, and under 90 points in two of them. The Lakers have also held the Nuggets to under 45 percent shooting all four games and to 40 percent or lower in two out of four.

We know that WtLC is making this more about their fear of the Nuggets than their apathy towards the Lakers.

But, in the NBA, size still matters. The Thunder have no offensive post threat and are totally reliant on dribble penetration and outside shooting, something that just doesn’t work in the playoffs. They have some elite defensive bigs, but none with enough size to match the skillset of Andrew Bynum.

But we’ll wait to analyze that series when we finish off the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday at Staples.

There’s no real story here, I know. But perhaps the anticipation of the team that will be heavily favored to dismantle — if not, sweep — us is getting to me.

Plus, I’m really, really bored of the Denver Nuggets.

 

 

Tags: Andrew Bynum Lakers Nuggets Oklahoma City Thunder

  • MarkBurdman

    The lakers will have another second round exit as Kobe continues to see his skill set erode.
     
    Remember what Branch Rickey the Dodger GM who signed Jackie Robinson used to say. Better to trade a player a year to early then a year to late.
     
    Kobe will get 30 million in the last year of his contract That is half of the Payroll. If you want to sign Bynum long term then Gasol has to go for an Expiring contract or Kobe has to be dealt for the same.
     
    The players should have never approved this contract. They shot themselves in the foot.

  • GoJoeBruinUCLA

     @MarkBurdman We’re going to be neck-deep in the luxury tax, but to get rid of Kobe is absurd, at least this offseason. We do need to trim fat. 
     
    But this franchise isn’t like your typical “get expiring contracts and build for the draft” team. The front office knows that the fan-base isn’t that patient. 
     
    if anything — and this is SO CRAZY — Kobe gets amnestied not this offseason, but next. 
     
    Gasol has like, no trade value. He’s 30 years old, makes a ton of money, and isn’t as good as he was in 2009. Teams will want him, but you’re right, only for expirings. Something I’d be really upset at. I’d rather try and make whatever title runs I can and let him leave when his contract runs out. 
     
    The players had no choice; its either what they have now, or they lose the season and their paychecks. The owners put them in a bind. We’ll see if this whole “phase-type” luxury tax BS actually gives us more parity, but I doubt we’ll see the Bucks contend for a title for at least eighteen decades.