The Lakers seemed this close, but in reality they were really far away. Photo by Sue Ogrocki (AP)
A win would have put them in the mix, but a blown lead has them on the verge of being out of the series.
By Jason Lewis
Sentinel Sports Editor
This Lakers loss hurt for a few different reasons. It did not just hurt, but it stung. It hurt in the sense that the Lakers chances of winning this series against the Oklahoma City Thunder has been greatly diminished, but it stung because the Lakers had the win in their hands and they were on the verge of being in this series.
Entering the series the Lakers needed to win Game 2. Because they only had one day of rest compared to the week that the Thunder were given, the Lakers nearly had no chance at winning Game 1. Over the past 15 years a team entering a series on six or more days rest that is playing a team with only one day rest, the rested team is a perfect 7-0 and has won by an averaged of 23 points per game. That includes the Lakers 29-point Game 1 loss and the Clippers 16-point Game 1 loss against the San Antonio Spurs.
So Game 1 was chalked up to a loss before it even started. A rested Thunder team played a perfect game against a tired Lakers team. But for the Lakers to win this series, they had to get a split in Oklahoma City, and Game 2 was going to be it. And for 46 minutes, Game 2 was played exactly how the Lakers needed it to be play. The game was slow and low scoring.
The Thunder shot 53 percent from the field in Game 1 as they scored 119 points. But in Game 2 the Lakers defense stepped up and limited the Thunder to only 42 percent from the field and 77 points. That has a Lakers win all over it.
The Lakers were so close to making this a series, but after blowing a seven-point lead with less than two minutes to play, the Lakers are now really far away from actually winning this series.
Historically, when the home teams win both Games 1 & 2, they go on to win the series 94 percent of the time. That’s why the Lakers needed the split on the road. Now they have to win both games in Los Angeles or this series is pretty much over.
The Thunder showed why they are now the better team. The Lakers wanted to win, but the Thunder had a combination of want and being better. That trumps desire by itself. The Lakers are up against a better team and even playing a slower tempo, defensive game, the Thunder still has their number.
Many people thought that the Lakers did not have much of a chance in this series, but they would have made a huge statement with a win. But instead they are on the verge of being completely out of it.
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