I don’t remember this in the Big Book O’ Basketball Quotes, but if it’s not there, it ought to be: “You can’t compensate for a lack of defense with a lack of offense.” If they need to illustrate this point, they can show the Staples Center scoreboard with 7:33 left in the first quarter: Los Angeles 14, Oklahoma City 1. The Thunder, evidently taking Pau Gasol’s “that’s all they’re going to get” prediction seriously, obligingly missed their first 13 shots; the Lakers shot upwards of 60 percent until the arrival of garbage time. The final was 111-87, which, noted radio guy Matt Pinto, qualified as a rout.
It’s tempting to blame the atmosphere, or the officiating, or whatever, but the fact is, for the most part the Thunder managed to stink up the joint, and the Lakers were quick to take advantage of every single waft. Gasol, who’d made the most noise, did the most damage: 25 points and 11 boards in less than half an hour.
Meanwhile, OKC shot a terrible 36.9 percent, although it was a lot worse than that early on. (The starters were 14 for 48, less than 30 percent.) The Lakers’ plan to put more pressure on Russell Westbrook worked pretty well: he got his 15 points and served up six dimes, but he also turned the ball over eight times.
On the upside, if you call that an upside, it was over with quick. Game 6 is Friday night at the Ford; you get no predictions from this corner.