Another year, another epic Lakers collapse. The Lakers, one of the NBA's most storied franchises again have been unceremoniously booted from the conference semi finals by the up and coming Oklahoma City Thunder 4-1.
The game was lost early with Andrew Bynum again bumbling his way through foul trouble to finish with a paltry 10 points and 4 rebounds. Is this the supposed best center in the game? Please.... that still goes to Dwight even with his sulking which ultimately ended up with Orlando's coach and GM both fired today. Bynum was in foul tropuble for much of the game, slow in his rotations and was beraten time and time again to his spot. He looked tired and disinterested, not a good look when on the biggest stage in an elimination game. The Black Mamba struck, but one on five basketball will never win out. 42 points is a massive effort, problem was the Thunder let him score and just shut everyone else down. [caption id="attachment_6799" align="alignright" width="200" caption="Kevin Durant has been a standout leader for the Thunder so far in the Playoffs"][/caption] Kobe ended up with 42 points, 2 steals, and 5 rebounds but had no assists in the game and as a result get's an early break to start resting up for the Olympics with another early exit from the playoffs. Interestingly coach Mike Brown also sat him down with LA down by 6 in the 4th quarter. Once done this lead for OKC went to 11 and the game was essentially done, you have to wonder what coach Brown was thinking here? Will he keep his spot next year? I'm not so sure. The Lakers bench again was awful, 5 points compared to OKC's 35. That my friends is what winning basketball looks like. James Harden and Nick Collison again have been so consistent for this young team and continue to make the tough plays down the stretch to ensure OKC would complete the series and move onto the Spurs for the conference finals. The Lakers showed they were a one trick pony, while it was a good trick it just wasn't enough. Kobe looks like he can be at an elite status for a few more years to come and his desire and passion for the game is second to none, pity it's not enough. Durant and Westbrook were again key for the Thunder, scoring 53 in this close out game. They have shown that they are the one two punch that OKC needs to take on the heavy weights of San Antonio. KD will be a match up nightmare for the Spurs and will likely be matched up with Kawhi Leonard. Russ will be matched up with MVP candidate Tony Parker but is a far more physical guard than Parker so providing he can stay out of foul trouble he should have the advantage. The battle will be with the bigs though with Duncan and Diaw in fine form for the Spurs. Fresh off of two sweeps in the post season so far, the tempo is about to rise up a notch and I would have to give the advantage to the Thunder. Don't get me wrong though SA have been fantastic and have thoroughly dismantled their opponents to date, I can see a brutal 7 game series on the cards. What are your thoughts? Leave your comments below. Photo Credit (top): www.msnbcmedia.com (inset) www.hosted2.ap.org