Why the Lakers Aren’t Afraid of the Thunder

Why the Lakers Aren’t Afraid of the Thunder


Written by: Fernando Rea

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) brings the ball up court as Los Angeles Lakers forward Ron Artest goes for the ball during the first half of Game 5 of their Western Conference playoff series at Staples Center in Los Angeles on April 27, 2010. The Lakers won 111-87. UPI Photo/Lori Shepler Photo via Newscom

Coming into the season the NBA pundits pegged the Thunder as the team most capable of knocking the Lakers off their throne. Much of that exuberance came from the Thunder’s performance in last years first round series where they gave the Lakers everything they could handle and then some. The Lakers needed a last second tip in from Pau Gasol to finish off the Thunder in Game 6 of the series.

The post game quotes from the Lakers were that of much praise for the young and upcoming Thunder. Kobe for one sounded incredibly relieved with post-Game 6 comments of “I’m glad we’re done with you” and “We won’t see another team that’s as athletic as they were the rest of the way”.

The hype didn’t stop at the team either as the media jumped on the Kevin Durant bandwagon as well. Many even making the statement that he had supplanted both Kobe and LeBron James as the best in the game coming into this season. As it stands right now, Durant is the odds on favorite to win the NBA MVP award this year. Everybody needs to seriously slow their role. Keep in mind that all of this adulation and far fetched prognostication is for a team that made their first playoff appearance in 5 years by grabbing the 8th and last spot in the playoffs.

The emergence of the young Thunder is a nice story but lets be completely honest. The Thunder beat a barely awake Lakers team in last year’s playoffs and the close margin of victory in the series had more to do with the Lakers notorious complacency than the Thunder’s play. While I do believe that the Thunder are a very good, young team that have the making of being a force in the West for years to come, now is not their time and they actually have a ways to go. Here are some of the glaring holes in the Thunder’s game:

Next: Outside Shooting and Inside Power