The Lakers didn’t lose the series last night in OKC. They lost it in Game 2, and in Game 4 in Los Angeles. The Thunder’s series-clinching 106-90 win last night was merely a formality, and even as Kobe Bryant (42 points) tossed up three quarters of a throwback performance, no one could truly convince themselves this thing was still in doubt. There were no answers whatsoever for Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden, who combined for 70 points, and by the fourth quarter, it felt like one big party … Kobe held up his end, taking nine shots and scoring 15 points in the first quarter. But the last thing you really want as a Laker fan on the road is to see Kobe dominate early. Andrew Bynum was absolutely invisible because of foul trouble. He was doing all he could to back up his closeout game quote from earlier this year when he said, “Teams tend to fold if you come out and play hard in the beginning.” Yes AB, you folded. Serge Ibaka had two ruthless power jams in the lane in the first quarter while OKC secured 15 of the first 21 rebounds. Then there was Pau Gasol (14 points, 16 rebounds), who was letting Nick Collison push him out to the three-point line for post position. This is a fact with these Lakers: they won’t follow Kobe. He has to bring them along, and when he jumped out early, doing it all himself, we knew it was already over. Once Bryant went out and the rest of the Lakers started to get their flow, we figured he’d come back in and fall back a little bit. Nope. Immediately the Thunder went on a 12-4 run, which directly coincided with Kobe forcing two or three more stupid shots … Despite all of that (as well as Ramon Sessions morphing into Lil Duval and stinking up the joint), the Lakers were right there at the half. But then the refs called a BS flagrant on Metta World Peace, who proceeded to pick up a T. Bryant also picked up a technical trying to defend his teammate. That four-point play boosted OKC going into the second half … With the Lakers holding a small lead in the third quarter, Russell Westbrook (28 points) made two incredible plays in a row, the second being a three-point play where he countered Sessions’ foul by throwing in a shot off the glass from past the free-throw line. That nearly started a riot amongst the 6,000 psychotic Thunder fans lined up outside the arena. Westbrook began dropping buckets at will, enough to stave off Bryant. And in the fourth quarter after a couple of KD (25 points, 10 rebounds) daggers, L.A.’s wheels fell off. Once the Thunder smelled blood, it was all over … There’s a reason we never got down with the “Andrew Bynum is better than Dwight Howard” movement. It’s because of games like last night when Bynum (10 points, four rebounds) refused to show up outside of a two minute second quarter stretch. No defense. No rebounding. No postgame handshakes either. At one point, he even let Nazr Mohammed dribble right by him and dunk. There’s no excuse for the way Bynum played last night, and he’ll have a whole summer to think about it in-between building computers and telephones … To prepare themselves for a potential closeout win, the Thunder were reportedly chilling in the locker room during the pregame trading lines from Superbad. Can’t you just imagine Kevin Durant walking into the room with his hipster glasses on and declaring to everyone: “You know how many foods are shaped like dicks? The best kinds!” Saturday Night Live needs to do a skit of this just like the recent one where they laid waste to the caricature of Stephen A. Smith …. Keep reading to hear about the unexpected guy who might’ve saved Boston’s season …
On a night where Boston fans were feeling nostalgic – they really started chanting Scal-a-brine! in the fourth quarter of a playoff game… dude hasn’t played for them since 2010 – Brandon Bass really took it back. He took it back to high school. Bass outscored the Sixers by himself in the third quarter, 18 to 16, and finished with an out-of-nowhere 27 points. Because of that, the Celtics moved to within one game of the conference finals, 101-85. Then there was Rajon Rondo. The game was finally put away in the fourth quarter when Rondo reasserted himself for the first time since the first quarter, and completely dominated Jrue Holiday, Doug Collins, Will Smith, and anyone else the city of Philly could’ve thrown out there. The Celtic point guard (13 points, 14 assists) also orchestrated a 14-2 Boston run in the middle of the third quarter. It was capped off by two massive Bass dunks, two straight Philly turnovers and then a fast-break layup from Jesus. Over on the bench, it seemed like everyone was following Marquis Daniels‘ lead and flexin’ at will. We’re not 100 percent positive on this, but we think it might’ve just been Philly’s third quarter gameplan to give Bass wide open dunks. Because seriously, he was getting them for 12 straight minutes. The only thing that would’ve made the explosion better would’ve been if Bass had started slobbering all over himself in a tribute to Big Baby‘s miraculous Game 4 in the 2010 Finals. By the end of the madness, after Paul Pierce hit the same pull-up jumper he’s hit 5,089 times in his career, Boston had a nine-point lead going into the fourth quarter … The last time these two teams played a Game 5 in Boston with the series knotted at 2-2 was 10 years ago. A few things that were similar: the Sixers had ugly uniforms and played ugly basketball, the Boston Garden was probably 20/80 in terms of sober to drunk, Boston won, and Paul Pierce played exactly the same. And a few things that were different: Allen Iverson actually mattered and Elton Brand wasn’t almost completely washed up. Speaking of Brand, he played out of his god damn mind last night, hitting all types of jumpers. It was as if he took a trip to Germany to see Kobe’s doctor during those two days off between Games 4 and 5. At one point, he even pulled out a killer crossover. By the fourth quarter, we were asking him to save some of those points since we know he only has so many. He had 19 last night; over the rest of the series, he has 17 … We’re out like the Lakers.
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