March 29, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard James Harden (13) guards Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant (24) during the second half of the game at the Staples Center. Thunder won 102-93. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

Lakers-Thunder Game 3 Preview: Got To Hold Down Home Court


At some point an NBA playoff matchup becomes more of a math equation than a debate of X’s and O’s. The Lakers are looking at the harsh reality of having to beat the Oklahoma City in four of five contests if they’re going to advance to the Western Finals.

Forget about all the talk of superstars, game scenarios and poor performances in the clutch. The facts show that the Lakers have only beaten OKC once in five tries this year and now they’re supposed to reverse that trend overnight. How is that going to be possible?

Well, for one they obviously need to win at least once in Oklahoma City. That should have happened on Wednesday night but we’re not going to go there just yet. Right now all the Lakers need to focus on is holding down home court.

Thanks to L.A.’s postseason sports explosion the Staples Center schedule has called for both the Lakers and Clippers to play an unheard of back-to-back playoff games. For the Lake Show it will either be the opportunity to gain momentum literally overnight or to see their season end as quickly as possible.

That will all depend upon how the Lakers approach Game 3 tonight.

Last time out the Lakers displayed a formula for success in defending Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant. Slowing the Thunder roll looked impossible after Game 1 but to Mike Brown’s credit he put together a game plan that completely reversed the tide.

Too bad Kobe Bryant and Steve Blake couldn’t seal the deal. But the fault is not their burden alone.

To win this series the Lakers must stick with what works best against OKC – that infamous size advantage.

Pau Gasol finally got his ass back into the paint and Andrew Bynum hasn’t shown any of that complacency that plagued him in the Denver series. With the twin towers of Downtown L.A. dominating the post the game becomes a half court battle which favors the Lakers.

Of course you’d expect Scott Brooks to make adjustments of his own. Oklahoma earned a hard fought win in Game 2 but their level of concern has got to be as high as it’s been this postseason. About the last thing you want to deal with is Mamba with a chip on his shoulder. No doubt KB24 is looking to put together a performance that will make his collapse in the clutch a distant memory.

Given the back-to-back games tonight’s contest is extremely vital for the Lakers’ hopes of advancing. A decisive win will push OKC into a corner without any time for adjustment. Another Laker loss of any variety will make this series academic. As mentioned previously, at some point an NBA playoff series becomes a math equation. Plenty of teams have rebounded from an 0-2 deficit. Not once has any NBA team climbed out of an 0-3 hole. That’s just simple math and it’s an equation the Lakers don’t want any part in solving.

Tags: 2012 Nba Playoffs Andrew Bynum Kevin Durant Kobe Bryant Mike Brown Pau Gasol Russell Westbrook Scott Brooks Steve Blake