May 19, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder power forward Serge Ibaka (9) fouls Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant (24) in the second half of game four in the Western Conference semi finals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at the Staples Center. Thunder won 103-100. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

Lakers-Thunder Game 5 Preview: Getting Series Back To L.A. The Goal

The end is near for the Lakers. If beating the Thunder in four of five contests was unlikely then winning three straight over OKC is impossible.

Blowing fourth quarter leads in two of the last three games has sealed the deal for the Lake Show. Their inconsistent nature has finally got the better of them. This isn’t Denver we’re talking about here. Kevin Durant and company are true title contenders who won’t fall into the Andrew Bynum close-out mentality.

At this point we’re all just hoping not to see a repeat of Game 1. More importantly we’d prefer not to see our season end in any way similar to how last season concluded. Hopefully Bynum will wear his jersey all the way to the locker room this time around.

At this point our best case scenario would be the Lakers giving us at least one more game in Staples.

Right about now that’s all there is to play for as the one-game-at-a-time clichés start flying around.

Kobe Bryant’s questionable shot selection. Pau Gasol’s costly turnover. Steve Blake’s brick.  Bynum’s fourth quarter vanishing. All that and then some has created this conundrum. For the Lakers to make it to the Western Finals it’s going to take one of the great turnarounds in NBA playoff history.

This series has been anything but one-sided with a narrow margin being the difference between a 3-1 advantage for the Lakers over the Thunder instead of the opposite reality.

But no matter how or why the Lakers find themselves on the wrong end of a 3-1 series standing the fact of the matter is all they’ve got is tonight. Playing for pride is another cliché that will be tossed around.

Pride isn’t good enough.

The Lakers have got to want to be practicing again on Tuesday. They can’t be content to keep it close in Game 5. Mike Brown needs to motivate his team to extend their playoff stay.

In keeping with out clichéd perspective, if the Lakers can get this thing to go the distance then anything is possible in the one-game scenario that Game 7 offers. But first the Lakers have got to make sure the Thunder will be joining them in returning to LAX.

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

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