Skip to content

Is Game 3 must-win for the Lakers? Yes, yes it is.

May 18, 2012, 3:53 PM EST

Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant AP

One last time we can thank the lockout for the joys of a condensed schedule — the Lakers and Thunder are going to play the rare playoff back-to-back the next two nights.

Which clearly favors the younger legs and better athletes of the Thunder. It’s going to be a lot harder for the Lakers to control the tempo and limit the Thunders transition points in Game 4.

With the Lakers already down 0-2, that makes Game 3 basically a must win.

Los Angeles feels it should have won Game 2, up 7 with two minutes left, but a Kobe Bryant turnover that led to a Kevin Durant dunk, a Steve Blake turnover, a Durant three and… it snowballed.

Thing is, the Lakers need to basically have the same game again and this time just close it out.

The Lakers did a great job dictating the tempo of Game 2. Big men Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol did a great job being aggressive on the pick-and-roll cutting off Russell Westbrook’s path to the basket. The result was an isolation heavy, disjointed Thunder offense. The second best offense in the NBA regular season (by points per possession) was held to 77 points.

Look for OKC to counter by just trying to get out and run, and to have better counters on their pick-and-roll. And I just have a feeling the answer will be more James Harden, their best playmaker.

Oklahoma City is the better team. History says that teams that start a series winning the first two win nearly 95 percent of the time. But expect a desperate Lakers team on Friday night. This is still a team with rings, a team with pride that believes they still can win it. Win it all. They are not going to roll over.

And they know this is must win.

Latest Posts
  1. Jeanie Buss promises ‘changes’ if Lakers aren’t contenders again soon

    Mar 6, 2015, 8:30 PM EST

    Jeanie Buss

    Lakers are desperately trying to get back to the level of title contenders.

  2. Report: Marc Gasol has already ruled out joining Knicks in free agency

    Mar 6, 2015, 7:30 PM EST

    Memphis Grizzlies v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

    Gasol will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, but is more than likely to remain with the Grizzlies.

  3. Kendrick Perkins ready to play enforcer for LeBron James. He’s looking at you, Jonas Valanciunas.

    Mar 6, 2015, 4:50 PM EST

    cd0ymzcznguwzdbhnduynddiytjhm2yyzthlmtjjotqwyyznptm2n2zjzda4nzewmdi2odvizmm0mdc3nzjkyzfjogi1 AP

    It’s starting to feel like the playoffs are coming, play is getting chippy.

  4. Royce White says he’s not done playing basketball

    Mar 6, 2015, 3:12 PM EST

    Royce White AP

    It would be a long road back for White, but there is a road.

  5. Kyle Lowry returning from injuries after ‘trash’ self-assessment

    Mar 6, 2015, 2:37 PM EST

    The Toronto Raptors took on the Golden State Warriors at the ACC Getty Images

    Raptors need their All-Star point guard to get on track

  6. Wesley Matthews’ injury will test Trail Blazers’ spacing

    Mar 6, 2015, 10:34 AM EST

    Wesley Matthews, LaMarcus Aldridge, Damian Lillard, Robin Lopez, Nicolas Batum AP

    Portland can overcome loss of shooting guard, but it won’t be easy

  7. Larry Bird talks trash about Dominique Wilkins’ statue

    Mar 6, 2015, 9:07 AM EST

    Dominique Wilkins Statue Unveiling Ceremony Getty Images

    Former Celtics star continues what he began Wilkins’ rookie year

Featured video

Is Derrick Rose the next Penny Hardaway?
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. R. Westbrook (8894)
  2. K. Durant (7901)
  3. D. Rose (6687)
  4. A. Davis (6628)
  5. K. Lowry (6598)
  1. D. Howard (6542)
  2. P. George (6307)
  3. D. Cousins (6172)
  4. L. James (5785)
  5. J. Butler (5783)