May 14, 2012; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) handles the ball against Los Angeles Lakers center Pau Gasol (16) during the second half in game one of the Western Conference semifinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-US PRESSWIRE
The Los Angeles Lakers were terrible in Game 1 against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Surely Game 2 will be considerably more competitive?
The lasting image of Game 1 between the Los Angeles Lakers and Oklahoma City Thunder is Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol talking on the bench. Not only had both teams gone to the locker room, but most of the fans had cleared out of the arena while the two Lakers' big men had a civil, but very passionate discussion on the bench.
Most of the conversation was probably about what went wrong in Game 1 and what needs to change in Game 2, which takes place in Oklahoma City on Wednesday night. The Lakers defended poorly and their shot selection left something to be desired in a 119-90 loss. Oklahoma City used all 12 of their players, and the game was all but over less than halfway through the third quarter.
There isn't a single aspect of the Lakers' game that doesn't have to improve for them to have a chance in Game 2. They need to find Gasol for more quality shots, Ramon Sessions has to score more than two points, Kobe Bryant has to shoot better, the entire bench needs to provide more scoring punch, and the Lakers as a team need to defend better. The Thunder shot 53 percent from the floor, a number diluted by the late benching of their top players. Kevin Durant shot 50 percent in just 29 minutes, while Russell Westbrook shot 66 percent in 27 minutes on the floor.
The Lakers were always going to struggle on the road in Game 1 against a rested Thunder team. Now that they have a terrible game out of their system, everyone will expect better in Game 2.