This also counts as an open thread, so feel free to post your thoughts during the game here.
Time: 8:30 PM Central Daylight Time
Place: The Ford Center, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
TV: Entertainment Sports Programming Network (ESPN), KCAL-TV 9, Fox Sports Oklahoma
Radio: WWLS The Sports Animal (98.1)
For a full series preview, click here.
Backstory: This is it. Win or go home.
Well, I guess a more appropriate term would be to "stay home", but you get the point. The Thunder have their backs against the wall, and it's time to show the Lakers what they're made of.
The only problem facing the Thunder at the moment is, well, everything. The last game they played wasn't only a loss. It was a hopeless disaster. The one consistent positive for the Thunder, Russell Westbrook, was shut down after being guarded by Kobe. Ron Artest was hitting his threes, and he sufficiently hampered Durant. Nobody else was of much help.
Plain and simply, the Thunder are going to need both Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook in full gear if this game is going to turn out to be a win. Whether that be through a crazy lineup change that puts Durant at SG or through Westbrook beating Kobe on the dribble doesn't matter. All that matters is that both of them get 20 Plus Points and that they do it efficiently.
On the defensive end, the Thunder will have to limit the Lakers to 2 main scorers. Generally, if 3 or more of Bryant, Artest, Gasol, Bynum, or Odom score over 18 or so, it spells massive trouble for the opposing team. But as long as Sefolosha can continue to annoy Kobe, someone can guard Artest's three pointers, and our big men don't develope rigor mortis, it should be possible.
But, after seeing last night's performance, the analyst in me is skeptical, so I'm predicting a heavy loss here. I might be looking too much at what happens right in front of my face, but unless there's a way around the matchup problems the Thunder have been having, this game could get very ugly.