Lakers crumble late in Game 2 loss to Thunder
The old, plow-horse Lakers had the game won. They were about to defeat Oklahoma City and send the series back to L.A. tied at 1-1.
Instead, the Lakers spit the bit.
They blew a seven-point lead in the final two minutes and allowed Oklahoma City to steal a 77-75 win at home.
PHOTOS: Lakers vs. Thunder, Game 2Steve Blake missed a wide open corner three-pointer that could have won it for the Lakers, but that wasn’t the reason why the Lakers lost.
The Lakers, who are supposed to be the veteran, experience team, simply collapsed.
The winning points for Oklahoma City came with 18.6 seconds left, when Kevin Durant bounced a shot home off the rim.
“We kept our composure,” Durant told TNT afterward.
Durant led Oklahoma City with 22 points.
Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum led the Lakers with 20 points each.
The Lakers shot 25% in the fourth quarter, with six turnovers, but still should have prevailed.
In a complete reversal from Game 1, a 29-point loss, they showed toughness, heart and discipline on the road but couldn’t close the deal at what should have been a stunned crowd at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Instead of going home 1-1, the Lakers are now two defeats from summer vacation.
The Lakers stayed in the game by getting down and dirty, but folded when it counted most.
The Lakers led 75-68, with 2:08 left, on Bynum’s basket but seemed determined to give it away.
After James Harden scored inside, Durant stole an errant pass from Kobe Bryant and scored to cut the lead to three.
The Thunder then got the ball back when a ball deflected off Bryant.
Harden scored on a driving layup with a minute left to cut the lead to one.
Blake hit a huge three at the 7:47 mark to give the Lakers their largest lead of the series, 68-63.
It was Blake’s first basket of the series.
The Lakers led by three points, 63-60, entering the fourth quarter.
In Monday’s first game, the Lakers trailed by 30 after three quarters and lost by 29.
Lakers Coach Mike Brown told his team all night, during timeouts, that the more physical team would win the game.
The Lakers played much tougher defense after getting torched in the opener, allowing Oklahoma City to shoot 53% for the game.
Games 4 and 5 will be played Friday and Saturday at Staples Center, a tough back-to-back chore for an older team but all part of this year’s unique consolidated season.
Lakers 63, Thunder 60 (end of third quarter)
I think it’s called a “ball game.”
Is it good Laker defense, poor shooting or both?
Oklahoma City, which shot 53% in Game 1, had nine straight misses to start the quarter.
The Thunder ended the quarter shooting 43% for the game.
Remember, Oklahoma City outscored the Lakers by 15 in the third quarter of the first game to take a 30 point lead into the fourth quarter.
It’s not 30 tonight. This game has a chance to be interesting right until the end.
The Lakers started the half on a 6-0 run. World Peace is finally making Kevin Durant work.
The Lakers still need more production out of Ramon Sessions. He still hasn’t scored since making a basket in the first two minutes of the game and also stepped on the baseline while trying to maneuver under the basket.
He then missed a slam dunk on a breakaway which led to a transition slam dunk for the Thunder. That was a big four-point swing.
Oklahoma City is piling up fouls. Ibaka picked up his fourth foul at the 4:58 mark. Thebo Sefolosha and James Harden have three fouls.
Kobe Bryant picked up his third foul late while trying to stop Harden on a drive.
The Lakers took their biggest lead of night, 57-53, on goaltending call that led to Andrew Bynum basket.
Oklahoma City led the NBA in turnovers, averaging almost 17 a game, but had a franchise-low four in the first game.
Through three quarters, the Thunder has 10.
Numbers through three: Steve Blake scored his first points of the series on two free throws at the end of the quarter. Bryant has 16 points on seven-of-18 shooting. Gasol has 14 points and 10 rebounds while Bynum has 16 points and five rebounds.
Westbrook leads Oklahoma City with 15.
Thunder 48, Lakers 45 (halftime)
This is how the Lakers have to play to stay in the series. Keep the pace below the Indy 500 and work their big men inside. Bynun and Gasol have combined for 20. Kobe has 10.
There are still too many lazy passes (that means you, Steve Blake).
The second quarter got real chippy, which favors the Lakers.
Metta World Peace took TWO players down, Nick Collison and James Harden, trying to break through a screen. Marv Albert said it looked like bowling.
It’s the NBA, so it has to be “Bowling for Dollars,” also a show former play-by-play Chick Hearn hosted in the 1970s.
Gasol and Harden also got tangled up and received double technical fouls.
Foul situation: Harden left with his third foul at the seven-minute mark. Perkins picked up his second foul shortly after that.
Jordan Hill has been a spark off the bench for the Lakers, hitting three shots for six points with three rebounds. He also has three fouls.
Yuck moment: Oklahoma City went up 29-24 off a fastbreak cause by a horrible pass from Blake, after he received a horrible pass from World Peace. Just horrible.
Gasol is trying to be more aggressive. He made a nice baseline hook shot but also let Harden knock an offensive rebound out of his hand.
“The most physical team wins,” Lakers Coach Mike Brown said during the media break with 8:50 left.
Don’t let this get out, but it appears the Lakers are listening.
Harden, who scored 17 points in Game 1, was once again the “blazing beard.” He energized the Thunder’s second unit with lashing drives that led to four points, all on foul shots.
Harden scored nine of his 17 points in the first game at the free-throw line, basically, because he knows how to get there.
Lakers 21, Thunder 20 (end of first quarter)
Hey, at least it’s not a blowout and Devin Ebanks hasn’t been ejected or taken off his shirt. He also hasn’t been in the game.
In fact, the Lakers look much, much more engaged.
They took the lead late with 1:28 left but then some old guy named Derek Fisher hit a three, his first points of the series.
But then Kobe Bryant hit a mid-range jumper to put the Lakers back up.
Here’s the low-down: Pau Gasol told TNT before the game Oklahoma City is quicker, more athletic and younger.
After a 29-point loss in Game 1, why did the Lakers even bother to jump it up at center court?
Gasol said his team was bigger, more experienced and needed to control rhythm.
The Lakers did a much better job controlling tempo. Kobe Bryant DID NOT guard Russell Westbrook, which should keep him fresher.
Andrew Bynum got established inside early and scored 10 points. He also took an ill-advised shot from beyond the free-throw line that led to a transition basket by Westbrook.
Injury update: Thunder center Kendrick Perkins was in the starting lineup two days after leaving Game 1 because of a reaggravated hip strain. He got called early for an illegal pick.
Ramon Sessions matched his point total (2) from Game 1 within the first two minutes of Game 2.
Serge Ibaka, who led the NBA in blocks, had three monster swats on, disrespectfully, Kobe Bryant, Sessions and Bynum.
James Harden elbowed Metta World Peace right in the face, but should not expect a seven-game suspension because it was what they were calling “inadvertent.”
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