Ted Green: Lakers are Thunderstruck | The Fabulous Forum | Los Angeles Times
The word of the day: Thunderstruck.
All of Lakerdom is Thunderstruck, or better be, after the Lakers got run over by a Thunder truck, 110-89, in a Game 4 that was both a shocker and a laugher, tying the series at two games each. The Thunder the Lakers now hear rumbling in the distance could be the imminent end to their season, one-and-done NBA titlists.
Now prepare to be dumbstruck. It says here the Lakers are indeed going down in six games, first-round knockout victims, their NBA title so richly earned in 2009 barely defended at all less than a year later.
Getting even: Thunder sends message, ties series with Lakers at 2-2 | NewsOK.com
Before he could corral a loose ball late in the first quarter, James Harden got tangled up with Pau Gasol and was tugged and tossed in every direction by the Los Angeles Lakers’ 7-foot forward.
Harden stood tall. He took on the tussle with his own tenacity. He flung his arms right back to show he wasn’t about to stand for any strong-arm tactics. Gasol was whistled for a foul on the play, and the sellout crowd of 18,342, dressed in a sea of white T-shirts inside the Ford Center on Saturday night, showed their appreciation for the rookie’s fight. And as Harden stepped to the foul line, the Thunder’s message had been sent.
Thunder's James Harden thrives off the bench - Los Angeles Times
The awe of playing against the very Lakers he had watched as a kid growing up in Southern California faded long ago, James Harden maintained.
The awe of playing against Kobe Bryant, one of his favorite players while attending Lakewood Artesia High, has been a thing of the past, Harden claimed.
"Obviously, that first game in the regular season was one of those games where, 'I'm out here playing the Lakers,' " Harden said. "But now, we've played them several times, so it's not about the Lakers anymore. It's about the Thunder and what we do."
Free-throw shooting a major issue for Los Angeles Lakers - ESPN Los Angeles
The story from the free-throw line in Game 1 for the Lakers was Kobe Bryant making only seven of 12 attempts. In Game 2, the focus was the sheer amount of attempts for both teams with L.A. taking 32 and Oklahoma City taking 33. The Game 3 free-throw tale was the Thunder's uneven 34-12 advantage in attempts and the fact Bryant didn't shoot one. Game 4 had the worst elements of Game 1 (the Lakers missed 11 of their 28 attempts) and Game 3 (Oklahoma City had 20 more attempts than Los Angeles did).
The 42 made free throws for Oklahoma City are the second most freebies ever made against Los Angeles in a postseason game. The Boston Celtics made 43 against the Lakers in Game 7 of the 1984 NBA Finals and L.A. lost that game too.
Daily Dime: Oklahoma City Thunder clobber Los Angeles Lakers - ESPN
Despite getting quality looks, the Lakers made only 36 percent of their shots in the first quarter. Pau Gasol converted four of his first six but turned into a liability during the course of the game because he wouldn't come out to guard Jeff Green. The Thunder forward made two 3-pointers and scored 15 points, in addition to outrebounding Gasol 9-4. Gasol had a plus/minus of minus-22, worst on the Lakers.
The Thunder have turned all their negative attributes into positives. They're shorter, but they're faster down the court and to the ball, which translated into 24 fast-break points and 23 second-chance points Saturday. Their youth had them looking much fresher after the teams played four games in seven days. But the pace slows now, with two games in the next six days. And home-court advantage swings to the Lakers, with two games in Los Angeles if the series goes the distance.
Fast Breaks: Lakers-Thunder, Game 4 - Chris Mannix - SI.com
Center is widely considered the Thunder's biggest weakness. But the trio of Nenad Krstic, Nick Collison and Serge Ibaka combined for 19 points and 14 rebounds, while playing tough D on Gasol and Andrew Bynum (13 points). Like most of Oklahoma City's role players, Krstic, Collison and Ibaka know their weaknesses. They don't try to do too much, have diverse skills (Krstic, shooting; Collison, banging; Ibaka, shot blocking) that blend well in Scott Brooks' rotation.
NBA PM: Bosh-Durant Intriguing | Hoopsworld
And actually, the deficit is larger, because before free agency begins the NBA Draft will place multiple cap holds on top of their $40.2 million in contracts they already have on the books. OKC holds two first-round picks; their own at #21 and Phoenix's at #26. They will also have large cap holds for Matt Harpring and Etan Thomas, but renouncing those wouldn't be an issue to clear the cap space.
What the Thunder can offer the Raptors is a very, very enticing sign-and-trade scenario. Because of their cap space available and their plethora of young talent, they can offer the Raptors decent value and cap relief – and they wouldn't have to touch their core if they didn't think it was necessary. It might make sense to offer up forward Jeff Green as bait, since he plays the same position as Bosh, and point guard Eric Maynor, center Byron Mullens, or forward D.J. White could be offered, as well as whomever the Thunder draft. OKC could also decide to trade this year's picks for future picks in anticipation of making a trade.