Well, on the plus side, it's almost impossible for there to be any direction to go from here but up, right? And truth be told, a blowout result isn't altogether shocking. The Lakers just wrapped a grueling 7-game series allowing zero time for prep, while the Thunder are well-rested, likely well-versed in Lakers film and... well... better. Remove the purple and gold glasses and this ending wasn't hard to see coming. That said, the Lakers need to tighten up a plethora of items for any chance of heading back to L.A. with a split.
Among the talking points:
- The Lakers looked seriously disorganized -- not to mention tired -- on both sides of the ball. The effort was evident, but the execution ranged from erratic to non-existent. The inability to practice and prepare did them no favors.
- The Thunder's Big 3 (Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden) picked the Lakers apart. The defensive schemes against that formidable trio are in need of serious tweaking.
- Ramon Sessions had a horrible game (two points, three assists, very little defensive presence), and his playoff impact has been, generally speaking, underwhelming. For the Lakers to have any shot at pulling the upset in this series, their point guard needs to pick up his production. And like Sessions, the bench was M.I.A.
- The brightest spot was definitely Andrew Bynum, who notched a double-double and was easily the most effective Laker on the court. Like his teammates, Bynum suffered some defensive lapses, but that was more a byproduct of the overall chaos than anything else. If the Thunder continue to play him as often in single coverage (as opposed to Denver's approach, where Drew was often doubled before the catch), he could do some damage.
- The Lakers need to figure out ways to get Kobe Bryant better shots. Against defenders like Thabo Sefolosha and Harden, iso-heavy looks won't cut it.
- Why on earth did Mike Brown play his starters so late into this game, given their workload over the last week, the series schedule against Oklahoma City, and the unnecessary risk of injury? There was absolutely no prayer of a comeback, so any chance to recharge the batteries should have been taken.
- Devin Ebanks' strange ejection.