The Los Angeles Lakers were simply throttled by the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday night in the first game of their second round series. While it's believed Kobe Bryant won't let his team get obliterated like that going forward, it was interesting to check out the reaction from the experts following the Game 1 no-show by Los Angeles.
SB Nation's Thunder blog, Welcome To Loud City, warned the Lakers in their recap that it seemed as though the Thunder actually left quite a bit in the tank -- meaning, if it's even possible, the second game of the series could end up even worse.
What Game 1 tells us though is that if OKC is focused in their task at hand, they will always have untapped advantages at their disposal. Westbrook clearly had more in the tank if it was needed. Durant played solid but did not have to play great. Serge Ibaka could have better output. James Harden, as solid as he was, did not shoot great either.
It is not so much that there is room for improvement, because it would be a bit haughty to proclaim that a 29-point win does not feed the basketball soul completely. What it does mean though is that when LA tries to adjust, the Thunder will have options to counter the Lakers' new strategies. OKC is in the lead, and now LA must chase.
In a shocking move, our friends over at Silver Screen and Roll -- SB Nation's blog dedicated to the Lakers -- basically agreed that Los Angeles likely won't have much to offer the Thunder this series. In fact, they're not even counting on a victory the next time out, but rather hoping Game 3 is a possible turning point back in Los Angeles.
Look, I could go on. Tonight was a calamity in every respect. I happen to think this Lakers team doesn't have the talent, the legs or the hunger to hang in this series, but many of you remain hopeful. That's cool. I'm wrong about this stuff all the time and I could be here. To me, the crucial game isn't Game 2 but Game 3 back at Staples. If the Lakers spring a shocking upset on Wednesday night, awesome, but I see their best bet as making a two-game stand back on their home court, turning it into a short series and hoping the pressure gets to the young Thunder. It's nice to dream, I suppose.
It's going to be interesting to watch as this series progresses, but if SB Nation colleague Andrew Sharp is correct and the Thunder finally are the mature team we've all been waiting for them to be, Bryant and the Lakers might see their window slammed shut rather quickly.