Thunder’s late magic gives them 2-0 series lead
Earvin “Magic” Johnson is sitting in Los Angeles wondering “what if.” What if the twelve time All-Star was still playing for the Lakers? Game two of the Western Conference quarterfinals might have been a different story. However, tonight the magic was on Oklahoma City’s side as they squeaked out a 77-75 win over the Lakers tonight after trailing by seven points with seven and a half minutes left in the game.
With five seconds left and the Lakers down by one point, Steve Blake snuck behind Russell Westbrook and heaved an open three-point attempt that hit off the left side of the rim into the Thunder’s hands. Two fouls and a free throw later by Kevin Durant, the game was over.
“According to nba.com, Steve Blake thought he had a good opportunity in the final seconds.
“My man ran away from me and it was a good shot that got away,” Blake said.
Durant finished with a 22 point performance after having 25 in game one, while Westbrook chipped in 15 points.
Durant said he did exactly what he wanted for himself and to help the team.
“I was letting the game come to me and I think I got every shot I wanted to,” Durant said. “This is the playoffs and every possession is important.”
Oklahoma City head coach Scott Brooks said Durant is a very spirited player.
“Kevin has improved on being a two-way player,” Brooks said. “He has a competitive spirit with length, quickness and the ability to challenge shots. He’s our shot maker and we did a good job of getting him into position in the second half.”
On whether Kobe Bryant should have taken the last shot instead of Blake, Metta World Peace said the play happened the way it did.
“It happens and I’m sure Kobe would take the same shot that was taken,” World Peace said.
Bryant finished with 20 points, but posted a bagel on zero of six from beyond the arc.
Los Angeles Lakers head coach Mike Brown said the play was drawn up for Bryant.
“We set up a flair for Kobe and he was wide open on the back side,” Brown said. “We told World Peace where other guys would be if Kobe wasn’t open, but he passed it to Blake.”
The animosity between James Harden and World Peace might have blown over as the two never showed any physical play between each other. Harden finished with 13 points and World Peace posted eight on just 2 of 10 shooting from the field.
Andrew Bynum had yet another 20 point performance with nine rebounds, while Oklahoma City’s Serge Ibaka only had eight points, but showed some height ability by swatting seven shots.
The Lakers posted another double-digit total in the turnover column giving the ball away 12 times, which definitely led to some of their mistakes. An emphasis coming into game two for the Lakers was to stop the Thunder pick and roll offense, which they did in the first half after trailing by just three at halftime, 48-45.
Now down 2-0, Los Angeles has lost 17 of 19 games when sitting in this hole. The team’s last comeback was in the 2004 West semifinals against San Antonio.
With a bit of a comfortable series lead, Durant said the team can’t look back on what it has accomplished and has to stay focused.
“A win is a win in the playoffs and we have to be prepared for game three,” Durant said.
Game three of the series is scheduled for Friday with a tip of 10:30 eastern in Los Angeles.
By: Tyler Scott
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