Just when you thought the Los Angeles Lakers could not be any more humiliated after losing game 1 of their series to the Oklahoma City Thunder by 29 points…
The Lakers choked BIG TIME and handed the Thunder the game 2 victory on a silver platter.
With 2:08 remaining in the game, it looked awfully grim for the Oklahoma City Thunder, so Thunder head coach Scott Brooks called time out.
The score was Lakers 75, Thunder 68.
The Thunder were down 7 points, which in this game represented more than 10% of all the points the Thunder had been able to score thus far.
To win, the Thunder would have to overcome that 7 point deficit, plus any points the Lakers will score in the closing 2 minutes of the game.
This is because for 46 grueling, gut-busting minutes, the Lakers played old school, grind-it-out, smash mouth basketball, and had totally controlled and frustrated the Thunder with it.
As unlikely as it seemed before the game, with just 2 minutes to go, the Lakers were on the verge of a huge victory on the Thunder’s home court, holding the second highest scoring team in the playoffs to just 68 points.
A Laker win would have been huge, stealing home court from the Thunder, stealing the momentum of the series, and quite possibly stealing the Thunder’s swagger. The Lakers forced the Thunder to play half court basketball, and were about to beat them as a result.
Unbeknownst to the Thunder however, when the time out was over and the teams took the floor, the Lakers had already quit playing.
On OKC’s first possession after the time out, James Harden drove the ball from half court right through the Lakers’ so-called defense and scored a layup completely untouched.
On LAL’s first possession, Kobe literally passed the ball to Kevin Durrant who ran it for a 100% uncontested dunk.
What was once a 7 point lead, more than 10% of the points the Thunder had been able to score all game… was now a 3 point lead.
On LAL’s next possession, Ramon Sessions passed it to Kobe who let it slip through his hands and out of bounds.
On LAL’s 3rd possession, Kobe forced up a bad baseline shot that was blocked by Harden.
On LAL’s 4th possession, Kobe put up a rushed, well guarded, ill-advised 3-pointer with 6 seconds still left on the shot clock.
Notice that in all these possessions since the 2 minute mark, neither Gasol nor Bynum are being given shot opportunities…
But then again, Gasol and Bynum aren’t trying for them either.
In this same 2 minute time span, the Lakers were out rebounded by the Thunder 5 to 1. With the game on the line and 2 all-star 7-footers on the floor, the Lakers did not have enough heart to grab even 1 of the last 4 rebounds of the game, all 4 went to the Thunder.
All those rebounds led to shot opportunities which led to the Thunder scoring the last 9 points of the game. Again, they can’t score if they don’t have the ball, and if you rebound, they won’t.
On LAL’s last possession, Steve Blake missed a corner 3… why was the ball thrown to Blake anyway? In fact, why was Blake even in the game? The Lakers needed only 2 points for a win, and Blake was 1 of 5 from the arc that game. Even Lakers head coach Mike Brown was walking dead those last 2 minutes.
For the last 2 minutes of game 2 of the 2012 Western Conference Semi-Finals series between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Oklahoma City Thunder, the entire Lakers team, including (and especially Kobe Bryant) played like the game was in the bag.
On the bright side for the Lakers, they have the most definitive evidence possible (without having an actual win) that they really can beat the Thunder — and on their home court no less. Of course, they’ll have to tweak their game plan to play until the ACTUAL end of the game. 😉The Lakers wasted 46 minutes of impressive, gut-busting work by quitting 2 minutes before the game ended, thus letting the down-and-out but still hungry Oklahoma City Thunder off the ropes and into playoff lore.
The Thunder are the lucky beneficiaries of the biggest choke in Lakers playoff history.
On the bright side for the Lakers, they have the most definitive evidence possible (without having an actual win) that they really can beat the Thunder — and on their home court no less. Of course, they’ll have to tweak their game plan to play until the ACTUAL end of the game. 😉
And it remains to be seen if the Lakers can force this game plan on the defiant Thunder for 48 minutes and win 4 out of the next 5 games.
See the video below for the game ending highlights. 😉