Lakers’ charge: Show energy
Bring the energy.
Don’t leave it in Los Angeles. Don’t leave it at Staples Center. Don’t leave it in Game 5 of the Western Conference playoffs.
The Lakers have been told by their coaching staff they must sustain that intense energy in Game 6 on Friday night in Oklahoma City against the Thunder.
The Lakers lead the best-of-seven series, 3-2, and can close out the Thunder with one more victory.
Game 7 would be in Los Angeles on Sunday, but if the Lakers bring the right energy Friday night, Lakers assistant coach Jim Cleamons said they will improve their chances of moving on to the next round.
“They are going to try and exceed the energy we had on our floor,” said Cleamons, who is in charge of developing the Lakers’ game plan in this series against the Thunder.
“You shouldn’t have to bring the energy. It should come naturally because you know what is at stake. You want to get this series over as quickly as possible and that’s Friday night.”
For that to happen, Cleamons said it will take another group effort.
The Lakers got a big lift in Game 5 from three players: Ron Artest (14 points), Lamar Odom (seven points, eight rebounds, four assists, three blocks) and Jordan Farmar (14 points), all of whom had been criticized by former Lakers guard Ron Harper for their poor play in the first four games.
“The only thing you can do is try and be professional and go about your business,” Farmar said after practice Wednesday. “Your commitment is to the team and what’s asked of you out there. It’s not about numbers. It’s not about stats. It’s about playing good basketball.”
Cleamons has outlined some ways for the Lakers to be successful Friday.
The Lakers didn’t allow the Thunder to run up and down the court in Tuesday’s game, limiting Oklahoma City to just seven fast-break points because L.A. made a determined effort to get back.
“We didn’t give them opportunities to run,” Cleamons said.
The Lakers had 27 assists in Game 5. And because they looked inside so much for Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol, the Lakers wound up with 58 points in the paint.
“It was about getting the ball inside to our bigs close enough to the rim so they didn’t have to do nothing else but catch and shoot,” Cleamons said.
The Lakers can’t think the series is over and that the inexperienced Thunder will quit.
Cleamons said the Thunder will look to get Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant off to a quick start, to create offense with its defense and to push the basketball ball up court.
“When you talk about energy, it’s understanding your opponent now,” Cleamons said. “This will be the sixth game and the things that they have done have been consistent in the five previous games. We have to take the most recent game and understand what we did, how we did it and then duplicate that Friday night over in Oklahoma.”
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