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After playing only 17 minutes in the Oklahoma City Thunder's dominating Game 1 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday, Thunder center Kendrick Perkins is still a game-time decision for Wednesday's Game 2 due to a hip strain he suffered in Oklahoma City's first-round sweep over the Dallas Mavericks.
In comments with the media, Thunder coach Scott Brooks said he knew that Perkins would be eager to play, so he would lean more on the opinions of his medical staff as to whether his center should play.
While he only scored four points on 2-2 shooting in Game 1, Perkins' post defense on Andrew Bynum is still vital for Oklahoma City. At 6'10 270, he's the only one of the Thunder big men who can hold his position in the low post against the gargantuan Bynum.
While many players are reluctant to talk to the media after the type of blowout loss the LA Lakers suffered in Game 1 to the Oklahoma City Thunder, Metta World Peace has never been someone who could walk away from an open mic.
Peace's main assignment in this series is Kevin Durant, and he was lit up to the tune of 25 points on 8-16 shooting on Monday night. However, he insisted that he's not all that concerned with Durant's offensive production in an interview Tuesday with The Oklahoman:
"Durant has a great gameplan over there on the offensive end," World Peace said. "And his teammates are setting great screens. They're doing a really great job as a team. That's why I'm not as concerned with the numbers he's getting. It's more about what the team is doing."
The problem is that the Thunder have been screening LA's big men, who are reluctant to defend the pick-and-roll, to free up Durant and the Lakers haven't had the overall team speed on the perimeter to compensate.
And even if Peace isn't concerned, you can bet that Mike Brown is.
Game 1 between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Lakers was all Thunder as they easily won 119-90 to take a 1-0 series lead. SB Nation's Ben Golliver goes deep in breaking down the first game of this series.
Golliver quickly points out the point guard situation, noting that the Lakers do not have the defensiver personell to slow down both Russell Westbrook and James Harden. If the Lakers can not slow down Westbrook and Harden then this could be a quick series win for the Thunder.
Some other red flags for the Lakers is their lack of bench play which the Thunder outscored 50-24 and multiple players lost their exposure late in the game when the lead was hovering around 30 points.
The Oklahoma City Thunder had little trouble blowing out the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals on Monday night, but Thunder center Kendrick Perkins was limited in the game.
Perkins, who was listed as a game-time decision after suffering a hip strain in the Game 4 win over the Dallas Mavericks in the opening round of the 2012 NBA Playoffs, played 17 minutes on Monday against the Lakers, picking up four points and two blocks before leaving the game.
According to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports, Thunder coach Scott Brooks announced that Perkins re-aggravated his hip in the Game 1 victory on Monday and will be a game-time decision once again for Game 2 in OKC on Wednesday.
The Thunder have been able to pick up two wins with a limited Perkins, but they would certainly like to see him back at full strength should they make it to the Western Conference final.
The Oklahoma City Thunder have several players who can take over a game to the point where they are the focus of every sportswriter responsible for a recap. Kevin Durant is the primary option, having ned the NBA in scoring each season. James Harden took over in the final game of round one against the Mavs. This time, it was Russell Westbrook’s turn.
Westbrook had an incredible game with 27 points, 9 assists, 2 steals and 7 rebounds. Everyone was looking for quotes about Westbrook after the game, and his coach gave him all the accolades he could ever hope for.
“Russell has improved every year since we drafted him,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “His midrange game is as good as any player in this league. He’s athletic, he can get to the spot, he can stop on a dime and he can shoot that shot. It’s hard to guard Russell. He comes at you with a lot of force.”
At this point, it seems as if a team that waned down the stretch is turning it back on at the right time. They made quick work of the 2011 NBA champs by sweeping round one and now they dominate the first game of round two by nearly 30 points. With so many options to score, it’s going to be tough for anyone to bring them down.
When a team loses by nearly 30 points in the second round of the NBA playoffs, there's typically something wrong on the losing end that goes far beyond the box score or a bad night. Kobe Bryant begs to differ.
Instead of hanging his head or complaining about the 119-90 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder last night by the Los Angeles Lakers, Bryant, who scored 20 points, knew he just needed to be calm and collected and come back ready to play on Wednesday at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
"We're going to have to make our adjustments," Bryant said. "We'll talk about it today and tomorrow. I've been on the receiving end [of playoff blowouts]. I've also been on the end we're dishing it out. My experience is telling me to stay patient and think the game through. We can come up with a different strategy."
Bryant would certainly have reason to complain. For a head coach supposedly on the hot seat during round one, Mike Brown isn't doing anything to temper those calls for his head. The adjustments weren't there from the outset against the Thunder and OKC looked thoroughly more prepared despite the lack of experience.
Bryant and company have Tuesday off to practice and rest before tomorrow night's game two.
If anyone was concerned that the Oklahoma City Thunder were going to be rusty coming off of a week's worth of rest, last night's dominance early on showed that the Los Angeles Lakers were in for a very long night. In the end, the Thunder took game one of the second round series 119-90.
The return of Metta World Peace was met with a chorus of boos and the Lakers were up early in the first quarter. But by the end, the Thunder had established a lead they would never surrender. Russell Westbrook paced all Thunder scorers with an incredible night of 27 points, 9 assists and 7 rebounds.
The Thunder went up by 7 at the end of the first quarter and they were up 59-44 over the Lakers at halftime. The downward spiral for Mike Brown's team only continued from there. The Lakers committed 15 turnovers to just 4 for the Thunder, and it was clear that Scotty Brooks had his players ready and in control from the outset.
Kevin Durant finished with 25 points and James Harden added 17 off of the bench. Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum each had 20 for the Lakers.
Game two is on Wednesday night.
If Game 1 is any indication, we may be in store for another short series for the Thunder. Oklahoma City had little trouble against the Lakers on Monday night, blowing past LA for a 119-90 win in the first game of their second-round series.
The Thunder might have shown some rust early, as the teams were within six points of each other for most of the first quarter, but as the half wore on, the Thunder started to pull away with little resistance. Oklahoma City led by seven after the first quarter and extended the lead to 59-44 at halftime. The only reason the Lakers kept it close for a while was because of a rebounding. The Lakers had a 25-19 edge at halftime, including 10 on the offensive end.
The second half quickly became a rout. The Thunder opened the third quarter on an 18-4 run to turn the game into a blowout. OKC led by 35 at one point and led by 30 after the third quarter. The Thunder shot 53 percent from the floor, while Los Angeles shot 42.3 percent.
The Lakers could only wait for it to end. Although Devin Ebanks couldn't wait until the end, getting ejected late in the fourth quarter after a little scrum.
Russell Westbrook led the Thunder with 27 points on 10-for-15 shooting, along with nine assists and seven rebounds. Kevin Durant scored 25 points on 8-for-16 shooting with eight rebounds. James Harden scored 17 points and went 9-for-10 from the free-throw line.
The Thunder are now 5-0 in this year's playoffs.
The Thunder got off to a slow start in the first game of their second-round series against the Lakers, but woke up and lead 59-44 at halftime.
Neither team led by more than six until there was 1:31 left in the first quarter. But the Thunder finished the first on a 14-5 run, capped by a buzzer-beating jumper from Daequan Cook to give OKC a 30-23 lead after the quarter. The Thunder extended the lead to double-digits and finished the second quarter on an 11-6 run to grab a 59-44 lead at halftime.
Russell Westbrook leads OKC with 17 points on 6-for-11 shooting, along with six assists. Kevin Durant has 12 points on 5-for-11 shooting. The Thunder are shooting 53.3 percent, compared to 42.9 percent for the Lakers, but Los Angeles stuck around for much of the half because of a 25-19 rebounding edge, including 10 on the offense end.
Andrew Bynum leads the Lakers with 14 points and nine rebounds.
Here was Cook's buzzer-beater:
There was one problem: The Thunder didn't exist in 1995, so the old Seattle Supersonics are back in action.
Want to know who is going to win the series? Watch below:
It's the most predictable response that everyone knew was coming, but yet we were all still waiting to see it. How would the home crowd at Oklahoma City's Chesapeake Energy Arena respond to the arrival of the Los Angeles Lakers and specifically Metta World Peace? You have your answer below in the form of a chorus of boos.
Scotty Brooks, the head coach of the Thunder, has specifically stated that his players will not retaliate, so apparently the crowd has to carry the burden for the team to make him feel bad in some way. Maybe it's a harsher punishment to make him really feel it on the inside. Like when your parents refuse to punish you but simply say, "We are just really, really disappointed in you."
Check out the OKC crowd response below:
Perkins suffered a hip strain in Game 4 Oklahoma City's first-round series against the Dallas Mavericks. In the four-game sweep of the Mavs, Perkins averaged 3.8 points and 6.3 rebounds. He only played eight minutes in Game 4, but got plenty of rest as the Lakers had to play seven games against the Denver Nuggets in the first round.
In the regular season, Perkins averaged 5.1 and 6.6 rebounds
Game one of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Lakers kicks off tonight and if the Thunder play as efficiently as they did against the Mavericks, they can be finished by this weekend against Kobe Bryant and company. Of course, pulling that off would be an incredible feat and not likely considering the star power the Lakers bring.
Whether you're tuning in for the star power of Bryant and Kevin Durant, the startling play of Russell Westbrook or the tension between Metta World Peace and James Harden, there's a lot to like about this series. Here's the way the full series looks laid out over a full seven game stretch.
LAKERS vs. THUNDER - COMPLETE ROUND TWO SCHEDULE
Game 1 - May 14 (Mon) L.A. Lakers at Oklahoma City 8:30PM TNT
Game 2 - May 16 (Wed) L.A. Lakers at Oklahoma City 8:30PM TNT
Game 3 - May 18 (Fri) Oklahoma City at L.A. Lakers 9:30PM ESPN
Game 4 - May 19 (Sat) Oklahoma City at L.A. Lakers 9:30PM TNT
Game 5 * May 21 (Mon) L.A. Lakers at Oklahoma City TBD TNT
Game 6 * May 23 (Wed) Oklahoma City at L.A. Lakers TBD ESPN
Game 7 * May 27 (Sun) L.A. Lakers at Oklahoma City TBD TNT
The Oklahoma City Thunder have been watching and waiting. The Los Angeles Lakers have been battling and hoping. OKC fans will find out tonight if that week of down time has been good for their home team as the second round series between the franchises kicks off tonight at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Kendrick Perkins was dealing with some injury issues, so having the extra time was likely a good thing for team health and rest in a crazy NBA season. Still it's been a while since they've played a meaningful game, so it will be interesting to see how they respond in the first half. In addition, the return of Metta World Peace to OKC after being suspended for hitting James Harden with an elbow will be a present source of tension for the entire series.
Whether it's Kobe or Kevin, the Artest-Harden match-up or the presence of other stars like Russell Westbrook and Pau Gasol, it's going to be a loaded series.
This Oklahoma City Thunder-Los Angeles Lakers Western Conference playoff showdown has been a long time coming, particularly for the Thunder players. It's an open secret that the Thunder and Lakers have developed quite a rivalry, one that was heightened when Metta World Peace struck James Harden with a monstrous elbow to the back of the head late in the regular season.
The Thunder have been waiting on the Lakers, after disposing of the defending NBA champion Dallas Mavericks in four games while the Lakers struggled to put away the Denver Nuggets in seven games. But the wait is over, much to the relief of the Thunder.
"I'm definitely ready to play," guard Russell Westbrook said following the Thunder's shootaround on Monday. "We've just been waiting on them to finish and now we get a chance to play."
"We definitely are ready, we're excited," head coach Scott Brooks said. "We had a great week of practice. Guys were really into it. We know what they do and they know what we do. It's going to come down to how hard we play, how well we execute and making them miss. Rebounding the basketball is going to be a big part of this game tonight."
Read more about the Thunder at Welcome To Loud City.
Perhaps it’s the rest. Maybe it’s how they dominated the defending NBA champs. Maybe it’s the trio of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden. No matter what reasons they cite, one thing is clear: the experts, by and large, believe that the Oklahoma City Thunder will defeat the Los Angeles Lakers in the second round of the 2012 NBA Playoffs.
ESPN’s recent panel of experts came out with 13 of 14 of them predicting the Thunder over the Lakers. That’s pretty much the same across the board with most NBA analysts calling now as the time for the baton to pass between the two teams. The last time the two met in 2010, the case was different. But Durant has established his greatness at the pro level and others around him have matured.
Still the drama will be there between Harden and Metta World Peace. It’s hard to count Kobe Bryant out of anything at this point, and Andrew Bynum has been an incredible force at times. It will be a fun series to watch, but if the Thunder aren’t standing at the end, it will be a big surprise.
Thunder center Kendrick Perkins went through the majority of shootaround today and is a game-time decision tonight against L.A.— Darnell Mayberry (@DarnellMayberry) May 14, 2012
Perkins suffered a hip strain in the first quarter of a Game 4 victory over the Dallas Mavericks. The rest time for the Thunder of course has been critical for Perkins' recovery, with Oklahoma City taking care of its business in four games, while it took the Lakers seven games to put away the Denver Nuggets.
Playing against the Lakers, having a healthy Kendrick Perkins is paramount of the Thunder defensively, while it is suspected that acquiring Perkins in the first place was about matching up with teams that have post presences like L.A.
All eyes will be on Metta World Peace and James Harden when the lights go on and the ball is tipped for tonight's opening game of the Lakers-Thunder series. There's just no way around it.
While there are many other stars and even legends playing tonight at Chesapeake Energy Arena, the tension between Harden and MWP will be hard to ignore after the hit and ensuing suspension that everyone is talking about. But how will the other players respond? How will OKC use it as a possible motivator? J.A. Sherman says one player can control the Thunder's response:
When MWP walks onto the court tonight, we have an idea of the type of reception he will receive from the OKC fans. We do not yet know how he will be received by the Thunder players though. If we're talking about exacting revenge however, there is only one guy on the court who has the ability to do it, and it just so happens to be the guy MWP will be guarding - Kevin Durant.
The lust of revenge is natural. The longing for a win must be greater. The Thunder have had several days to watch and wait and they are likely ready with their response. It will be interesting to see if KD can dominate against MWP and to what level he takes his game.
One team battled over seven games to get here. Another quietly swept their opponents and have been waiting for some time. The betting odds for the Los Angeles Lakers-Oklahoma City Thunder series reflect the methods both teams used to advance with the Thunder opening as 7.5 point favorites in tonight's game one action.
The Thunder swept the Dallas Mavericks, the defending NBA champions, in four games, so they should be well rested and quite confident. The Lakers, on the other hand, needed the entire series to put away a surprising Denver Nuggets team that could have LA tired and frustrated. Then again, there's plenty of great storylines to keep this series active for some time.
The game tips off tonight at Chesapeake Energy Arena at 8:30pm CT.
The Oklahoma City Thunder are prepared for their second round series against the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday night. After their game four victory over the Dallas Mavericks on May 5th, the Thunder have had over a week to prepare for its round two opponent.
Story lines are abundant in this second round series, including Metta World Peace first game against the Thunder since his suspension for elbowing James Harden in late April. Eyes will be set on both of these players when they are on the court at the same time. Derek Fisher will also be facing his former team for the first time in a playoff environment as a member of the Thunder. And last but not least, two of the NBA's best scorers, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant will be going head to head against each other.
Game time/date: 9:30 p.m. PT / Monday, May 14th
Location: Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma, OK
TV: TNT (National)
As the Los Angeles Lakers roll into Oklahoma City to play the Thunder on Monday night to open the second round series between the two franchises in the 2012 NBA Playoffs, the Lakers realize they will be walking into a very hostile arena. Not only are the Lakers among the more polarizing franchises in the NBA, but it's also the return of Metta World Peace to play James Harden after being suspended for hitting him with his elbow.
"That's not my concern," World Peace said. "That's their concern. Freedom of America, freedom of speech, freedom to really do what you want to do. That's why it's a great country."
The Lakers biggest star also acknowledged that the crowd's response to the hit and suspension will play a role. He just hopes to focus on playing well.
"It's going to be intense," Bryant said. "The crowd is obviously going to have a field day with that. I'm sure their players will generate some type of energy from it. For us, we just got to keep our poise and do what we do."
The game starts at 8:30pm CT on Monday.
"How is he going to handle it?" is the likely question, or some semblance of it, when Metta World Peace takes the court for the Los Angeles Lakers against the Oklahoma City Thunder for the second round series of the NBA Playoffs. After beating the Denver Nuggets in game seven on Sunday night to advance, the Lakers were immediately asked questions about how Metta World Peace would handle playing against James Harden. The answers can only come when tip-off takes place.
"My concern is executing the coaches' game plan and that's what my concern is," World Peace said when asked if he had any thoughts about facing Harden for the first time since hitting him with an elbow and causing a concussion. World Peace served a seven game suspension for the blow.
"I don't want support for what I did," World Peace said. "I still love my fans, but I don't want to be supported for (that). Even though he came and ran up behind me and he's done that before to Tyson Chandler and other players and he flopped even in the series (against Dallas) in the first round, but I don't want support for that."
The series kicks off Monday night at OKC.
While there's some bad blood in the water between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Los Angeles Lakers when they meet later this week to start their second round series, two players who won't be at odds are Kobe Bryant of the Lakers and Derek Fisher, now the back-up point guard for the Thunder. Fisher spent a number of seasons with LA and Kobe says seeing him will be like seeing family.
"It's like brothers," Bryant said of Fisher. "You compete with your brother. Somebody has got to win, you rather it be you. Somebody has got to have bragging rights in the summer time. In terms of what he brings to the team, his experience, his leadership. I don't really know what their locker room dynamics are over there but with us, he was a true inspiration for the entire ballclub."
In total, Fisher played most of 13 seasons with the Lakers in his career in addition to smaller stops with Golden State and now OKC. There's no doubt that many in the Lakers franchise have a lot of love and support for Fisher.
Fisher has averaged 4.9 points per game with the Thunder this season.
Storylines abound in the NBA's biggest second round match-up in the 2012 playoffs.
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