Weren’t we supposed to dominate the undersized Thunder big men throughout the first round matchup? The final tally on the boards from Game 4 (50-43 in favor of OKC) don’t even begin to tell half of the story. It’s not always about how many rebounds you give up, but more a matter of when. It seemed like every time the Lakers were even beginning to show minute signs of life and attempting to chip away at the early deficit, inexcusable offensive rebounds were given up to the Thunder – two to Westbrook that led to easy dunks.
Bynum and Gasol are playing at an unacceptable level on the glass. They are both getting out-worked by Serge Ibaka alone much like last year’s series against the Rockets when Carl Landry was giving us massive headaches. This is the playoffs where every single possession is so valuable and things like offensive rebounds give young teams a lot of life, especially at home.
Our bigs need to shove some smelling salt up their noses and realize that the “length” that all analysts refer to when discussing the Lakers’ advantage against the rest of the league is not going to allow rebounds to magically fall into their hands. Crashing the boards is all about attention to fundamentals meaning, box your man out! There’s nothing more frustrating than watching Bynum and LO try to grab rebounds by tipping the ball to themselves or seeing Pau get pushed out of position by the likes of Ibaka and even Jeff Green.
In addition to the meager, heartless effort being given towards rebounding, I find it absolutely incredulous that our bigs can’t even gain decent offensive post position against Krstic, Green, Collison, and Ibaka. All of the Thunder big men are fronting Drew and Pau and to think that they can’t work a little bit harder and fight for space just makes me want to rip off my fingernails. The rest of the team can even perhaps help with this as Stu Lantz even harped on it during the game saying that if the Lakers want to make an entry pass over the top, they can’t just go for it directly, but rather make a couple of ball fakes towards the ground, get the defenders’ hands down and lob it over the defense.
If you’re going to tell me that we can’t even figure out a way to accomplish simple entry passes into the post to Drew and Pau, then I’d say let’s just pack it up and go fishing because what’s the point of even playing the rest of the series? It’s obvious that something’s got to change, whether it’s an effort issue where our bigs must simply jockey for position with more ferocity or if it’s a technical issue where the angle and type of entry passes must be revised. Whatever the case, Game 5 cannot see the Thunder’s big men dominate the Lakers on the glass and defense like they have been for most of the series.
Just “pounding it inside” is not going to get it done, especially when our bigs aren’t even in good positions to score anyways. The spacing on the floor has to be improved because OKC is just collapsing every time and most importantly, we must hit shots when the ball is kicked out.
NEXT: Give us a little offense Ron!
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