And in the end, it was the classic Reverse Cartman: “Screw you guys, you’re going home.” The Thunder were up six after three, and there was just a bit of uneasiness in Loud City. Not to worry: OKC went on an 8-0 run to start the quarter, watching the Lakers burn two timeouts in three minutes and roll up 9 points in ten and a half minutes. At the horn, it wasn’t close to being close: Oklahoma City 106, Los Angeles 90, and the Finals beckon.
Kobe, at least, did what he could, tossing up a highly creditable 42 points on 18-33 shooting. The problem, of course, is that all the rest of the Lakers could manage only 48 points in aggregate. Pau Gasol, who played 44 minutes, spent at least ten of them doing his best impression of the stereotypical cigar-store Indian. Andrew Bynum had more fouls than rebounds, fercrissake. In fact, the Lakers had only 35 rebounds, 16 from Gasol. And while I hate to harp on L. A.’s lack of depth, the bench came up with a whole 5 points.
The Thunder, meanwhile, reeled in 51 boards, 14 off the offensive glass. (The Lakers had three.) Russell Westbrook, struggling early, made it look easy in the second half, finishing with a team-high 27. Kevin Durant tossed in 25; James Harden got 17. (The rest of the bench got 18. Nyah.) But what will be remembered about this game will be the defense: Kendrick Perkins and Nick Collison making life difficult for anyone daring to trespass into the paint, and KD scooping up ten boards just because he’s Kevin Durant.
Well, that and the crowd chanting “Beat the Spurs” on the way out of the roundhouse.