Los Angeles Lakers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder Series Preview
The last time that we saw the Los Angeles Lakers and the Oklahoma City Thunder square off on the hardwood, Metta World Peace was busy throwing his elbow into the side of the head of James Harden. Fortunately for Harden, he is just fine and is back and ready for this series, and the suspension for World Peace is said and done with. Both teams will be flying high coming into this highly anticipated second round matchup, and our NBA preview for this series is one that you don’t want to miss out on!
The Thunder are legit for sure. They were able to take the defending NBA champs, the Dallas Mavericks out of the playoffs in just four games, and now, they have been resting on the sidelines for nine days waiting for this series to begin. It should be no surprise that Harden, Russell Westbrook, and Kevin Durant were really able to get the job done in the first round. Durant averaged 26.5 points per game, while Westbrook was at 22.2 points per game. Harden, as always, is one of the key men off of the bench at 18.2 points, 5.5 boards, and 4.2 assists per game.
Serge Ibaka was once again a force defensively, and he was good for 11.0 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 3.2 blocks per game. He could have an even more important role in this series with Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum on the other side of the court.
This is also going to be an important series for Derek Fisher, who spent years and years with the Lakers before essentially getting released at the trade deadline. Fisher averaged 8.2 points per game in the first round, and though he really wasn’t a bit time passer, he was able to get those shots to fall when he took them, and he could come back to bite his old team.
It was Kobe Bryant and the idiots essentially for the Lakers in the first round of the playoffs. Sure, Andrew Bynum averaged 16.7 points and 12.3 boards per game, but he was one of the many that underachieved in the seven-game series against the Denver Nuggets. Gasol had 12.9 points and 9.1 boards per game. Ramon Sessions was probably the best player outside of Kobe Bryant in the first round. He averaged 11.7 points per game.
And then there was Kobe, who put up 29.1 points, 5.0 assists, and 4.6 rebounds per game. We would like to see him shoot the ball a bit better than the 44.8 percent that he managed in the first round, but hopefully he is fully over the flu bug that nearly cost him Game 6 and might have hampered him a bit in Game 7 as well.
This is the second time that these two teams have met in the playoffs. In the first ever playoff series, the Thunder made a name for themselves as the No. 8 seed in the West. After Games 1 and 2, they competed and won Games 3 and 4 against the then-No. 1 Lakers. LA did finish the series off in six games, but that was a real sign of things to come, showing that this Oklahoma City squad was up and coming.
This time around though, the Thunder are the team favored by a comfortable margin. They are -430 favorites on the NBA playoff betting series lines, while the Lakers are considered to be nearly 4 to 1 underdogs at 5Dimes Sportsbook.
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