“I just want this game to end before someone dies,” tweeted @TheLostOgle with about four minutes left, and shortly thereafter, Kobe Bryant and Serge Ibaka spilled into the first row trying to snag a loose ball. That’s the kind of day it was, starting with 1:37 left in the first half, when Metta World Peace, belying his placid surname, threw an elbow at James Harden’s head. Harden went to the locker room to be checked for concussion; Peace-y went to the locker room with an ejection and a Flagrant Two. The Thunder, irked, ran up the score over the next fifteen minutes, eventually taking an 18-point lead; but the Lakers gradually whittled it away and finally took control in the waning moments on back-to-back Kobe treys. Russell Westbrook dropped a couple of free throws to tie it at 91, and overtime ensued. Four minutes and forty-five seconds later, it was still tied, 97-all, and overtime continued; the Thunder couldn’t buy a bucket in the waning moments, and the Lakers finally won one against OKC, 114-106.
“Steve Blake,” said radio guy Matt Pinto, “has been an influential influence.” Well, yeah; he contributed three treys, all coming in the fourth quarter or in overtime, and became something of the go-to guy when Thabo Sefolosha had Bryant in a box. With Andrew Bynum phoning it in, bigness was contributed by Pau Gasol (20 points, 14 rebounds) and Jordan Hill (14 and 15). L.A. was utterly dominant on the boards (67-54, 25-14 offensive). But nobody is likely to be impressed with the offense of either club: the Lakers put up 106 shots and missed 65, the Thunder sent up 101 and missed 64. (OKC was slightly better than L.A. beyond the arc, if 8 of 24 is actually better, other than in sheer percentage points, than 5 of 16.)
Batman and Robin again seemed to be working at cross purposes: yeah, they got 49 points between them — Kevin Durant 35, Westbrook 14 — but they went a combined 14-56 from the floor. That’s 25 percent, boys and girls. You have to figure Harden would have made some of these, had he been able to play in the second half. If there’s an upside, it’s that Durant will sneak ahead of Bryant in PPG by a fraction of a point. At least OKC has regained its swag at the free-throw line, nailing 24 of 28. (The Lakers hit 27 of 40.)
So the likely #3 seed wins one against the almost-certain #2 seed. The people I feel for are the Staples Center crew; after this thing ran well past all understanding, they have to de-Lakerfy the joint to make ready for Hornets/Clippers in a few hours. Let James Harden be well — and let Ron Artest (I can’t say “World Peace” with a straight face) be thrown to the NBA’s regulatory hounds. It’s time to go home.