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Lakers Pass the Torch to the Thunder…For Now Reviewed by Momizat on . Everyone knew going into this series that it was going to be challenging and would test the Lakers as a team. For the second year in a row, the Lakers were elim Everyone knew going into this series that it was going to be challenging and would test the Lakers as a team. For the second year in a row, the Lakers were elim Rating:
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Lakers Pass the Torch to the Thunder…For Now

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Everyone knew going into this series that it was going to be challenging and would test the Lakers as a team. For the second year in a row, the Lakers were eliminated from the playoffs in the second round after reaching the Finals in three consecutive years. Just like last year, the question that will be tossed around until the end of the Finals will be if management should blow up the team or simply make minor adjustments.

This season was like riding the roller coaster at Santa Monica Pier. Mike Brown was hired to replace the legendary Phil Jackson. The lockout during the summer, fall and early winter prevented the team to run a training camp to learn Brown’s new system. The Lakers lost Lamar Odom, which affected the bench and their length. Trade rumors off the court distracted players with their performance on the court.

Yet, through all that the Lakers ended up with the number three seed in the West. Meanwhile, the Oklahoma City were rolling throughout the entire season, without being on that roller coaster.

The Lakers had a tough first round against the Denver Nuggets. At times, they looked like the champion team that the fans want and expect to see on the court. Other times, they were a step behind the Nuggets and were outplayed with little effort and aggression.

The Thunder swept the defending champions, the Dallas Mavericks, behind brilliant performances by Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. By sweeping the Mavs in the first round, the Thunder were able to rest for nine days, waiting and preparing for their next opponents.

This series matched a veteran, half-court team (Lakers) against a young, transitional team (Thunder). We all know too well what happened in each of the five games during this series. The Lakers could do only so much and Kobe could only carry the team on his back so far. Give credit where credit’s due.

The Thunder were just too much for the Lakers in this series and for the entire league for the vast majority of the season. As, Kobe Bryant said after Game 5, the team’s roles were reversed from when they last faced each other in the post-season in 2009. Oklahoma City knows exactly who they are as a team and know how to work as a collective unit to get what they want. On the other hand, the Lakers were still making adjustments and tweaking the system in order to try to find an answer.

The Lakers were unable to close in the fourth quarters as they have been so effective at in the past. Meanwhile, Westbrook and Durant were able to defend, get out in transition and hit daggers to seal the games for them. While Kobe was still Kobe during this series and proved that his end is not as near as critics may think, Durant was able to close out games under pressure.

So, it seems the Lakers may have passed the torch to the Thunder as the favorites in the West and the league. However, never count out Kobe Bryant and the Lakers organization. They have been successful for so long for a reason. Mitch Kupchak and the Buss family know how to get the job done.

Whether this means blowing up the team or making smaller moves (all complying with the new CBA and the luxury tax system), the Lakers will be back. As Kobe said in the press conference after Game 5, “Come hell or high-water, we’re going to be back there again. It’s just something about the Lakers organization.” What names beside Kobe Bryant will be on the roster? We will have to wait for the off-season for that answer.

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About The Author

Elizabeth is a graduate from Arizona State University and has her master's from Duquesne University. She is currently an associate editor at Lakers Nation. To read more of Elizabeth's articles click here. You can also follow Elizabeth on Twitter @Gobibs

Number of Entries : 381
  • MrSuave102

    Wow, no articles about a complete firesale happening immediately.

    Im impressed and, gotta say, didn’t expect that.

    Lets not forget, guys, the real reason our season F’d itself from the start and do ourselves a service and favor in lambasting it for clarity and purity here, not focusing on any other BS.

    DAVID STERNS FAT ASS DECIDED TO TURN US INTO THE ONLY TEAM IN SPORTS HISTORY NOT ALLOWED TO MAKE A FRIGGIN BLOCKBUSTER TRADE WHEN WE FEEL LIKE IT.

    HES JUST MAD HIS KNICKS SUCK BALLS AND ALWAYS HAVE, CAUSE LORD KNOWS THATS ACTUALLY WHERE CHRIS PAUL WANTED TO LAND ANYWAY INSTEAD OF US, (OOOPS I MEAN THE CLIPPERS) THEY WOULD HAVE GOT DWIGHT HOWARD IN THE OTHER SWEEPSTAKES GOING ON LATER IN THE YEAR AND HIS DUMB WOULD SIT IN THE STANDS IN THE FRONT ROW OF MSG WHILE HIS SUCKERBOCKER IDIOTBALL DUMB ASSES BECAME THE ONLY TEAM IN NBA HISTORY WITH 4 SUPERSTARS AT 4 POSITIONS AND 20 WINS TO SHOW FOR IT IN THE END FROM NO FRIGGIN COHESION AT ALL BETWEEN THEM.

    SO THERE YOU GO STERN, YOU GOT YOUR WISH.

    YOUR KNICKS SUCK ARE BACK HOME IN THE ROTTEN APPLE FEASTING ON PRODUCE FROM WHATEVER NYC DUMPSTER PROVIDES IT WITH THE LOVELY MICE THE SIZE OF THE SKYSCRAPERS OUT THERE AS LOFTY DINNER GUESTS WHILE THEY {DUMPSTER}DINE.

    WE ARE STILL ONE TO TWO PLAYERS AWAY FROM OUR 17TH TITLE EQUALING THE BOSTON SUCDIKS AND RIDIN COOL, WITH, THANK GOD SO FAR APPARANTLY AND HOPEFULLY ON FROM HERE TOO, NO PLANS TO THROW IN THE TOWEL, LIKE WE SHOULDNT AWAY.

    Our season was stunted from day one guys, its time everybody realizes it.

    OUT

    THE 2012 NBA CHAMPIONS OF THE WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORLD!!!!!!!!!!-
    THE INDIANA PACERS!
    {Hey Im in Ohio right now on vacation from the madness our lovely capital of the world city (thats actual capital, not “sports and entertainment” only, by the way, for all you ignorant folk out there) brings all the time, maybe Ill go over the state line if I’m out here long enough and catch the parade in Circle City wearing my Doyer hat and Kings shirt I have with me and wearing right now as Im writing this blog, hey, that would be fun, right!!!!!?}

  • Sxcy_princess99

    GET LAMAR ODOM BACK! ASAP! THE LAKERS SHOULDNT HAVE TRADED HIM! I MEAN COME ON, LAMAR IS A AMAZING PLAYER! GET LAMAR BACK! Or goodbye Lakers championship !!!

  • Lindasngltn

    The Lakers passed the torch to OKC …. well, OKC has not won anything yet … they still have some hills to climb in the West and the East … so, let’s see how far they go. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2OZXGDOJDVUUGYJYPZAYKEE2IM Rod M

    Lakers need a few things. A 6th man and the current young players to step up.  James Harden was the difference in the series.  Lakers don’t have a true 6th man coming off the bench. 2nd those young players have to step up.  Next year will be Ebank’s 3rd year. It’s time for him to start playing more consistent.  I like Jordan Hill, I like Steve Blake, and I like Matt Barnes…they just need a 6th man to lead the way.  And they’ll probably need to upgrade at PG and have Sessions come off the bench. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2OZXGDOJDVUUGYJYPZAYKEE2IM Rod M

    As for Gasol, only reason I would say trade him is because he’ll be making $19 million next year. That’s a huge hit on the salary cap. 

  • IHaveFaith

    I hate Russel Westbrook. Everytime he scores, he does this little cowboy pose putting his guns inside his pockets, and most of the time shouts for joy when he’s never really proven anything yet.

    • havefaithtoo

       yea…. but if he played for the lakers we’d love him.

  • THE REAL LAKERS GM

    lakers should trade gasol for IGODALA/LOU WILLIAMS or THADDEOUS YOUNG, then trade bynum for DWIGHT, sign LAMAR back and get a new BENCH

    2012-2013 lakers

    sessions/blake/FA
    kobe/lou or young
    igodala/world peace
    lamar/pick up FA/ hill
    dwight/FA/ draft

    We can be champions with this lineup!! IGODALA to slow down durant, Dwight to protect the paint, kobe and lou for scoring or you get young a good 6th man and defender…plus we can pick up some valuable FA if possible…and maybe get a steal in this deep draft.

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