May 14, 2012, 9:34 AM EST
There is very little Lakers fans can take away from Los Angeles’ seven-game series win over Denver that should make them think they have much of a shot against Oklahoma City.
Everything Denver did to the Lakers in transition OKC can do as well and with better athletes.
Bynum vowed to stay focused on defense first, seeing at least four blocks each game from him as a key to advancing now and later….
“We’ll win this championship,” Bynum said, “if we commit to defense.”
First off, instead of “we” Bynum needed to say “I.” While the Lakers as a whole had some off defensive games against Denver that started with Bynum, particularly in transition defense where Denver big men — we’re looking at you, Kenneth Faried — just ran down the court faster than Bynum and got good looks because of it. We’ll get into the games where Bynum didn’t bother with defensive rotations in the half court another time (he was hit and miss in the series and Ty Lawson was the beneficiary).
The Lakers problem is that while OKC is right there with Denver in transition (the Nuggets shot 63 percent in transition last season, the Thunder 60.7 percent, according to MySynergySports.com) the Thunder are far better in the half court if the Lakers do slow it down. Oh, and the Thunder are a better defensive team, also. Los Angeles cannot take a game off and still win this series.
But Bynum is right in the sense that if the Lakers don’t focus and play better defense they don’t stand any chance in this series. He can worry about winning a ring after that.
- Days before he faced LeBron, Paul George said Durant is NBA’s toughest cover 8
- A day later, Kobe didn’t think he played quite so bad 1
- Why question “When did basketball get so bad?” misses mark 18
- Adam Silver: NBA to consider doing away with divisions 15
- The Extra Pass: Five quick ways to improve the league; plus Monday’s Recaps 15
- LeBron says Wade is “getting that Kobe deal” in next contract. Should he? (65)
- Dwight Howard frustrated with Rockets’ effort in recent losses (54)
- Kobe Bryant dunks, looks good in Lakers practice; Friday return possible (47)
- The Extra Pass: Our awards at the quarter pole, plus Monday recaps (43)
- Durant tells “60 Minutes Sports” he’s still tired of being No. 2 (35)