Blame Kobe Bryant. Hate on Steve Blake. Loathe Kevin Durant.
However you want to spin it the Lakers lost a game they should have won.
Veteran teams with championship pedigree are supposed to be calm in the clutch. The Lakers panicked.
Kobe Bryant is supposed to give his team the decided advantage when the game is close. He turned the tables and let Oklahoma City off the hook with bad shots and a costly turnover.
When the Thunder only scores 77 points it shouldn’t take a Steve Blake three point attempt to decide the final outcome. But that is the scenario the Los Angeles created and this is the corner the Lakers have painted themselves into.
Blame anybody and everybody wearing purple and gold. The blame game is irrelevant at this point in time. The facts are all that matters.
The facts reveal the Thunder is up 2-0 in a best of seven series. The facts tell you L.A. will have to win four of five against a team they’ve only beaten once in five meetings this year.
Good luck with all of that.
To make this mission even more impossible, the great sports fortune of Los Angeles has created a scheduling conundrum at Staples. Thanks to the improbable play of the Kings, the inspired play of the Clippers and the routine postseason schedule of the Lakers Staples is so booked that the Thunder-Lakers series will feature a playoff rarity of back to back games on Friday and Saturday.
Good luck with that too.
I’m not writing the Lakers off but odds are you won’t hold OKC to less than 80 on their own court again. As impossible as that task is, losing to a high scoring squad during a rare power outage is even more improbable.
But that’s what happens when you have the game in hand with less than two minutes to play and gift wrap a victory for the opponent. There is plenty of blame to spread around. Kobe will bear the brunt but Mike Brown should foot the bill. This is his version of the Lake Show and if you want to play bump and grind ball then you need to allow for a greater margin of error.
Kobe called it early in the season saying the Lakers have no room for mistakes. That was proven true tonight in the most haunting fashion. Now all that’s left is to play for pride. Game 2 of this series was played at L.A.’s pace on L.A.’s terms and they still couldn’t seal the deal. But, hey, you live by Kobe and you die by Kobe.
Good luck with replicating a defensive effort like this again. And while we’re at it best of luck with trying to make this a 2-2 series going back to OKC. These Lakers just don’t have the focus necessary to win a title. We’ve known that all year long and now the proof is being revealed on the biggest stage.
Good luck trying to convince anyone that we’re looking at team capable of advancing beyond the second round. We saw what happened last year and history is suffering a case of déjà vu all over again.