It took exactly one quarter to expose the chink in the Lakers' armor. While most of Oklahoma City fought their nerves, Russell Westbrook took over using his best asset: speed. Now all the Thunder have to do is keep Los Angeles from finding a way to slow down Sonic.
Derek Fisher may be able to hit a big shot, but he has no chance of stopping his opposite number. Depending on how OKC's other weapons are faring, Phil Jackson may have no choice but to start doubling the UCLA product.
Westbrook looked right at home slicing and dicing his way through the LA defense on his way to making Sam Presti look even smarter for his draft strategy. While the pieces are there for a repeat performance, Jackson is sure to have some new tricks up his sleeve. Here are the two most likely ways that the Thunder will need a Plan B.
1) Clog the lane -- realistically this the most likely scenario since the Lakers have a huge advantage inside. By having Gasol and Bynum focus on the middle, RW0 will have to knock down his shots or find his open teammate. Either way it would be a change from Game 1, something I'm sure LA fans would like to see.
2) Kobe's problem -- because KD will have to prove he can shake Artest, Kobe will be tasked with trying to get in the way at least. Not to say any one player on roster can truly slow down Westbrook, but Bryant is their top backcourt defender. If this is the chosen method, expect Scott Brooks to try and get his shooters open on the wing more.
Well there you have it and Silver Screen and Roll agrees for the most part.
I tried to make it difficult but the truth hurts for the defending champs. They can't find any positives from Game 1 in trying to change things up for tonight. Kevin Durant and Co. have a huge opportunity to bring the series back to Oklahoma tied, and the home court advantage may very well be in Westbrook's able hands.