First-Round Fever: Game 6

First-Round Fever: Game 6

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APRIL 30| FRI |ROUND 1, GAME 6 | (1) Lakers vs. (8) Thunder : LAL lead series 3-2

The Lakers took care of business at home. And now can close out the series with a win tonight in Oklahoma City.

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The Lakers handled the Thunder very well in Game 5, winning 111-87. Kobe Bryant only had 13 points and 7 assists, but he controlled the game in other ways.

Bryant took it upon himself to guard Russell Westbrook, who had 15 points as opposed to his series average of 21 points. He also had 8 turnovers.

L.A. was committed to feeding the Twin Towers. Pau Gasol had 25 points, 11 rebounds and 5 assists, and Andrew Bynum finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds.

Lamar Odom and Jordan Famar ignited the bench, Famar had 14 points as Odom had an all-around game with 7 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 blocks.

Artest also attacked the basket, and had a much more efficient game with 14 points on 6-11 shooting, including 2-4 from 3.

But the test will come in closing out this young, resilient Thunder team. They have, in fact, won 3 straight home games against the Lakers, including the last game they had in the regular season.

Oklahoma seems unscathed by the champs comeback.

Thunder Head Coach Scott Brooks even said he has a plan for Game 6, but he chooses to keep the detail of said plan within discretion.

Westbrook is also confident that the matchup against him and Bryant will not be an issue. Kobe did a great job of differing the engine to the Oklahoma offense.

Russell Westbrook is the measuring stick for the Thunder. If he’s not going, the team suffers.

Kobe and the Lakers seem to understand that. They know if they remain focused, contain the two stars, and feed the inside, they’ll end this series in Oklahoma tonight.

The keys are mostly the same, as it is mainly about execution. Here are the keys for the Lakers to close out this series tonight.

KEYS FOR THE GAME:

Slowing it Down

The Lakers did an excellent job of pacing the game by limiting fast break opportunities for the Thunder. This will be critical for the Lakers to keep control of.

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 offensively, he can just push the offense in the paint. 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.

Experience Trumps Inexperience

L.A. has been here before. Their knowledge of the pressure will come in handy to close out the series. Oklahoma City is a scrappy team and won’t be eliminated without a fight. The champs will anticipate that and will deliver the knockout punch.

Spreading the Wealth

The Lakers had an efficient Game 5 and had multiple players score in double figures. They should look to continue that effort to force the Thunder to pick there poison against the versatile L.A. team.

Lamar Odom

When Lamar plays with initiative, the Lakers play well. He doesn’t have to score a ton of points as long as he’s aggressive and attentive to what Oklahoma City plans to do.

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.