First-Round Fever: Game 5

APRIL 27| TUES |ROUND 1, GAME 5 | (8) Thunder vs. (1) Lakers : Series tied 2-2

With the series tied, L.A. faces the turning point in Game 5 to take control of this series.

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The Lakers were pummeled on Saturday in Oklahoma and suffered a 110-89 loss to the Thunder.

Kobe tried to help the offense flow, but at the cost of his own offense. He finished with 12 points on 5-10 shooting. Four of the Lakers’ five starters were in double figures besides Ron Artest, who was 2-9 with 5 points.

The Thunder have shown resilience against the defending champs and have a chance to take a lead in the series.

But the Lakers won all Game 5’s in the playoffs last year, and will look to extend that streak in this critical game of the series.

If L.A. loses, they will be down 3-2 and will have to go back to Oklahoma to avoid elimination. A place where they’ve dropped three straight, including the regular season.

But the champs are confident they can bounce back after such a poor all-around effort.

And with 2 days of rest for their ailing superstar, the Lakers may take this game.

Russell Westbrook is the measuring stick for the Thunder, as Lamar Odom is for the Lakers, and will try to exploit their advantage at the point position.

Phil may look to have Shannon Brown, who 3 1/2 inches taller than Fisher, to matchup up with the athletic Westbrook. Brown is more of a shooting guard and usually backs up for Kobe, but he’s faired well in comparison when guarding Westbrook.

The Lakers will need to establish dominance throughout the game. Use Oklahoma’s aggression against them and continue to force Kevin Durant to shoot jumpers.

Durant has shown some poise in the series. But he still hasn’t shot the ball well at all. He’s averaging about 22 shots a game & 7 made field goals. Not that efficient, but he shows up at the right times.
The keys are mostly the same. As its mainly about execution. Here are the keys for the Lakers to pull out a win.

KEYS FOR THE GAME:

Slowing it Down

The Lakers are still getting beat on the open floor. They won’t be able to outrun this team, so they’ll need to slow the game down to limit the breaks as much as possible.

Twin Tower Dominance

As said before, the Twin Towers are the key for the Lakers in this series. Bryant doesn’t have to look dominate. Oklahoma may be a young and athletic team, but essentially, their frontcourt is too small to compete successfully against the two 7-footers. Pau & Drew will need dominate on defense if shots aren’t falling for them.

Brain-over-Brawn

L.A. will need to use their experience and intelligence to beat this young Thunder team. Oklahoma’s been relying on their athletic ability to tie this series.

Offense Efficiency

Due to the multiple injuries to the Lakers’ lineup, they may need spread the offense more to ease the pressure from each other. Kobe will be looking to have a big game, but the team should try to make as easy as possible for the offense to flow.

Lamar Odom

Lamar is still a key. He showed signs of his offense coming back to him. But it was a case of too little, too late.

PROJECTED STARTERS:
LAKERS:
(C) A. Bynum
(PF) P. Gasol
(SF) R. Artest
(SG) K. Bryant
(PG) D. Fisher

X-Factor: Lamar Odom and bench play. Kobe Bryant’s perfomance.

THUNDER:
(C) N. Kristic
(PF) J. Green
(SF) K. Durant
(SG) S. Sefolosha
(PG) R. Westbrook

X-Factor: Russell Westrbook & Fast break opportunities.

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