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Lakers Cannot Avoid Elimination; Lose Game 5 Reviewed by Momizat on . The Los Angeles Lakers faced elimination tonight against the Oklahoma City Thunder and had to try to for a Game 6 in front of a hostile crowd. The Lakers blew a The Los Angeles Lakers faced elimination tonight against the Oklahoma City Thunder and had to try to for a Game 6 in front of a hostile crowd. The Lakers blew a Rating:
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Lakers Cannot Avoid Elimination; Lose Game 5

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The Los Angeles Lakers faced elimination tonight against the Oklahoma City Thunder and had to try to for a Game 6 in front of a hostile crowd. The Lakers blew another late-game lead in Game 4 and very easily could have been up 3-1 in the series instead of being down 1-3.

Kobe Bryant criticized his teammates, especially Pau Gasol, after the previous loss and wanted to see them play more aggressively. The Lakers have not played well in road elimination games in the past, but they had to tonight if they wanted to return to Staples Center for another game.

First Quarter

The Lakers made an effort to get in the paint and tried their best to slow the pace of the game. The guards and big men were focusing on attacking the basket and get a nice flow to the offense. The Thunder have a great defensive lineup, but the Lakers saw the most success when getting inside. However, at the 9:50 mark, the Lakers were down 4-2.

Both teams struggled on the offensive end to begin the game and the shots that usually fell were not going in. Luckily for the Lakers, they were the ones who broke away from the slump first. With 6:05 left in the quarter, the Lakers were up 9-8 despite 41 percent from the field while the Thunder were at 26 percent.

Still, the Thunder used their speed and athleticism to spark a little run. Their half-court offense was not generating a lot of points, so they relied on on the fast break to get on the board. The Lakers hit a little snag, but to make matter worse both Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum picked up their two personal fouls in the period. At the 3:40 mark of the period, the Lakers were down 18-13.

Kobe Bryant was dominating the ball on the offensive end and he was carrying to scoring load for the Lakers. Kobe shot the ball very efficiently in the first quarter and he was doing whatever he could to will his team to victory. In the first 12 minutes, Kobe had 15 points on 6-9 shooting. The Lakers shot 38 percent as a team and were down 26-21.

Second Quarter

The Lakers began the second quarter with Bynum and Gasol on the floor, something that has not happened a lot this season. As a result, the Lakers got most of their points off post passes and tip-ins. Bynum and Gasol were controlling the paint and the Thunder had trouble against the big men. However, the Lakers had issues stopping the Thunder and generating any sort of run. At the 9:50 mark, the Lakers were down 32-28.

With Kobe Bryant on the bench due to the foul trouble, the Lakers had to rely on the other players to contribute. At first they played well and even gave the Lakers a three point lead. However, the Thunder once again used its explosiveness to regain control of the momentum. Los Angeles began to miss its shots and that allowed the Thunder to get into the open-court.

The Lakers eventually fed the ball to Metta World Peace who used his size to punish smaller defenders. World Peace was getting inside the paint and that allowed him to score near the basket or at the free-throw line. The Lakers made 13 of their 16 free-throw attempts and that allowed the to come within one, 46-45, with 4:01 left in the half.

The half ended with a little testiness as World Peace picked up a flagrant and technical foul, while Kobe picked up a technical foul also. After 24 minutes, the Lakers were down 54-51 behind 19 points from Bryant and ten from Gasol.

Third Quarter

The Lakers opened up the second half well and were shooting the ball with success. Kobe Bryant continued with his hot shooting and the Lakers were getting a lot of point thanks to that. The team also fed the ball to Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol, who were having their way with the Thunder. At the 8:49 mark, the Lakers were up 59-58.

Both teams exchanged baskets and the lead was being flipped constantly. Bryant kept on burning the Thunder with his offensive attack, but the Lakers still had trouble preventing the Thunder from scoring. The lead for the Lakers would not exceed five points as the Thunder answered back with their own buckets. After a Kobe Bryant dunk with 5:49 to play, the Lakers were up 68-66.

The Thunder made their run in the quarter and it was sparked by the young Russell Westbrook. Once again the Thunder relied on their speed to hurt the Lakers and fed off the crowd to gain the momentum. At the three minute mark, the score was tied at 73.

After 36 minutes of play, the Thunder were up 83-77 thanks to a 17-7 run. Westbrook scored 12 points in the quarter and was the catalyst to the surge. As for Kobe Bryant, he had 34 points on 14-24 shooting.

Fourth Quarter

The Lakers began the fourth quarter with Kobe Bryant on the bench while the Thunder had their best three players on the court. The Thunder took advantage of the absence of the players and punished the Lakers with Bryant sitting on the sidelines. Just one minute into the fourth, the Thunder went up 11, 88-77.

The Thunder used an 11-0 run to open up their lead and they were in complete control of the game. The momentum was on their side and the Lakers had to do something in order to save their season. Nothing was going right for the Lakers, while it seemed like everything was falling for the opponent.

At the 6:33 mark of the period, the Lakers were down by 13, 97-84. Kobe Bryant was doing whatever it took to save the Lakers, but his teammates just couldn’t match his level of productivity.

At no point in the fourth quarter did the Lakers have a chance to retake the lead. From the moment the period started, the Thunder were on top and they never allowed the Lakers to get back into the game.

Kobe Bryant (finished the game with 40 points) did not quit on the Lakers and fought to the very end; however, one man could not beat the Thunder. As the final buzzer rang, the Thunder won Game 5 and eliminated the Los Angeles Lakers from the 2011-12 NBA Playoffs, 106-90.

Even though the Lakers season has come to an end, make sure you log onto LakersNation.com all throughout the off-season for news and rumors.

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About The Author

Ramneet is a senior writer for Lakers Nation and has been contributing his thoughts on the Lakers and the NBA since 2010. Follow Ramneet on Twitter @Ramneet24.

Number of Entries : 1374
  • IHaveFaith

    Kobe did everything he could. I had faith. We had faith. LA had faith. But Kobe cannot win the game alone. Its surprising how the Thunder can suddenly make a run and the Lakers cannot. I mean, what’s the difference between these two teams? Thunder can make a run, and the Lakers, cannot? They would’ve won this game and take it back to LA for Game 6, but they just couldn’t help Kobe in the closing minutes in the 3rd Quarter and 4th Quarter. Maybe Pau Gasol needs to leave, maybe not. Even with the addition of Ramon Sessions, up to this point, the only problem of the Lakers was the point guard position. Sure it did improve, but it wasn’t enough to match Westbrook and other fast-paced and athletic point guards. Maybe we need to move Gasol? There are only three players who could solve the Lakers point guard problems: Chris Paul (very excellent perimeter defender, excellent playmaker, can shoot), Deron Williams (can do pretty much everything), and Rajon Rondo (triple-double machine “Floor General”). 

    Maybe, just maybe, we could move Pau and try to sign one of these three players. My best bet is Rajon Rondo. He’s totally fast, he can set up for his teammates, he’s athletic, he’s a total threat, and can take some of the burden off of Kobe, Rondo’s a superstar after all and he can defend very well. We could also move Steve Blake and Darius Morris. And if Rajon Rondo signs, then Ramon Sessions can back him up off the bench.

    What’s the situation with Lamar Odom like? We can bring him back, and start Jordan Hill. He can  definitely come off the bench for either Jordan Hill or Andrew Bynum. Then again, I think Lakers lost this series against the Thunder because of point guard problems, and because of lack of bench, lack of energy off the bench that is.

    Andrew Bynum is a work-in-progress, he will mature. He will. He should learn to play physical, not only rely on his physical strength but also his mental and emotional strength, just like how Shaq did in his time with the Lakers. He pushed players all the way to the rim not only because he was strong and big, also because he knew he can push them and he believed he can push them back.

    We also need a guy off the bench to back up Kobe. Steve Blake is not a Kobe-backup and neither is Matt Barnes, because he should backup MWP. We need someone like JR Smith. A feisty defender, physical player, intimidates the opposing team with his intensity and energy off the bench. If a player like him comes off the bench to backup Kobe, and a Rajon Rondo starting point guard backed up by another energy point guard in Ramon Sessions, and another one backing up the bigs in Lamar Odom, we’ll be back in track and win another championship.

    • Jaytie3426

      I agree with what  you are saying , I have faith in the Lakers and always had . Even though OKC is a good team i never lost faith in my team , I’m a true fun of the LA  Lakers . I was very upset when  they lost but i still love my Team . Maybe next year will be the year we win it all . #LakersNation 

  • Thunder

    So glad the Lakers lost.  Now, its time to knock out the Spurs.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=785354826 Johnny Mars

    Lakers lose; Kobe can go back to trolling for white girls to rape in the off-season.

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