What is your initial reaction to tonight's result?
Once again, the Thunder somehow saved themselves from a massive hole. It's almost surreal at this point. I'm reminded of one episode of the Twilight Zone I watched. There was this guy who was a lifelong criminal, died, and went to hell. In hell, he robbed casinos over and over again, and despite impossible odds, he would never get caught.
While I would never call a 6-0 playoff run taking place in reality a living hell, I'm starting to think something fishy is going on. How the heck can the Thunder have missed so many shots in the second half and win the game?! They were down by 7 with 2:08 to go and somehow managed to pull a win out of you know where with some stunning defense.
What was tonight's turning point?
The Thunder's 9-0 run to close out the game. The Thunder finally focused on getting into the paint. Before the 2:08 mark, it seemed like the Thunder were back in mid-season mode, losing form against a crappy New Jersey Nets team. Or even in April mode, where they would have second half dips against playoff teams. They were throwing up terrible jumpers right in the face of the Laker defenders, and they kept telegraphing their offensive plays, leading to stupid turnovers.
What was, overall, the main reason the Thunder won?
Defense. The Lakers were atrocious tonight. Gasol and Bynum were relatively efficient, but everybody else crapped the bed. Kobe Bryant kept missing jumpers that he normally makes against Sefolosha and Harden. Metta World Peace was airballing jumpers and hitting the side of the backboard. Ramon Sessions blew an open dunk and walked out of bounds. Steve Blake was bricking open threes. They couldn't shoot worth a lick, and the Thunder capitalized.
What is a key statistic to understanding tonight's game?
There were 39 fouls tonight, but only 30 free throws taken. That just shows you the kind of game it was, especially in the second half. Slow, lots of stoppages in play, no shots going down, stupid mistakes, lots of frustration.
What does this game mean for the Thunder today and moving forward?
The win puts the Thunder up 2-0 and gives them huge confidence heading into the next two games in LA. The Lakers have to be phased after getting so close to victory, and pushing the Thunder to the brink. Then again, they do have Kobe Bryant, one of the greatest clutch players of all time. Still, the Thunder have won 6 straight games, and look utterly amazing heading into Game 3.
Thunder Wonder: James Harden, for beasting through in the end.
Thunder Down Under: Kevin Durant, for leading the team in boards and assists, and a solid all-around performance.
Thunder Blunder: Kendrick Perkins. Clank.
Thunder Plunderer: Pau Gasol with an efficient, if not amazing, performance.
Next Game: At the Los Angeles Lakers, Friday, May 18th, 9:30 PM Central Daylight Time