By Matthew Hildreth, Contributing Writer and Loyal Lakers Fan
Game, set, match.
It’s all over. No more Los Angeles Lakers until Fall. No more of Kobe Bryant’s fist pump. No more of Pau Gasol’s scream. No more of Mike Brown’s clueless facial expressions on the bench.
We’re going to have to sit through and attempt to enjoy the rest of these NBA playoffs. Without the Lakers.
Very few expected LA to actually come in and beat the Oklahoma City Thunder on the road, not to mention in a close out Game 5.
OKC was going to come in fired up and give it their all. LA was going to leave it all out on the court. No way will Kobe tolerate less than 110% effort from his teammates in Game 5.
For the most part, effort was there. Results? Nope.
The Thunder crushes the hearts of Laker Land, closing out the semi-finals series by winning 106-90.
(RELATED: Heading to Game 1 of the Conference Finals in San Antonio? Check out Fanzooloo’s Spurs page)
Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden: these three combined for a whopping 70 points Monday night. Westbrook lead the Thunder in scoring with 28. Durant had 25 points and 10 rebounds. And Harden chipped in 17 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists off the bench.
They were just too much for LA, especially in the fourth quarter. The Lakers’ worst enemy this entire series has been the final quarter.
Heading into the fourth, OKC had an 83-77 lead over LA. Sure, things weren’t looking superb for the Lakers. But they were still in the game. They still had the opportunity to come out victorious. I continued to watch once the third quarter came to a close. I said to myself, “Kobe’s got this. No one’s stopping him.”
Number 24 finished with 8 points in the final quarter. Not too shabby. The Lakers as a whole? Had 13 points. That’s, umm…..shabby. That’s pretty appalling, actually. Unacceptable.
Where is the help? Andrew Bynum – 10 points, 4 rebounds on 4-10 shooting. Are you kidding me?! If your shots not falling, at least don’t get outrebounded by your starting point guard.
Speaking of LA’s starting point guard…
Ramon Sessions. What a mid-season acquisition. Perhaps one of the worst players for the Lakers in these 2012 playoffs. Tonight’s stat line? 8 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 6 turnovers, 5 fouls, 16% FG. Yikes.
“Finally, a point guard!” This is what many Laker fans rejoiced once they saw Sessions average 12.7 ppg, 3.8 rpg, and 6.2 apg on 47.9% shooting for the remaining 23 games of the season.
There is obviously a valid reason, however, why Sessions has been bounced around the league so much in his young NBA career. He reeks of inconsistency. And he wasn’t ready to battle in the playoffs. He has holes in his game. But he’s already 26 years old. You wonder how much he can really improve. You wonder if he’s actually a starting caliber point guard on a playoff team.
Just some things Laker management will have to ponder over. As well as many other aspects about this team.
We know Kobe will be in purple and gold next season. But the rest of the players and coaching staff? It’s up in the air. Who leaves? Who gets traded? Who stays?
Let’s find out this summer.