I’ll start with the points before talking about the games.
3 votes – Russell Westbrook. Westbrook is the key for the Thunder in this series. The Lakers can trot out Metta World Peace to keep Durant in check but in doing so they have no one who can defend Westbrook. Combine this with the Lakers’ struggles against the high screen and he could have three more games like this one – 27/7/9 was his final box score. Other than CP3 and Rondo, not many point guards are capable of such a line.
One thing I’m beginning to realise about this Thunder team is that when things go right, it’s either Durant or the team’s effort – when things go wrong, it’s probably going to be dumped on Westbrook. I can understand the reason for this, given that Durant is probably the most popular superstar in the league right now. I don’t know anybody who hates Durant in the way they hate Kobe, LeBron, Dwight etc – even people who don’t like OKC always seem to strive to point out that they like KD personally. But it does mean that Westbrook often goes ignored, just like Pippen often did on his best nights with the Jordan Bulls.
2 votes – Kevin Durant. Westbrook was probably more important to his team tonight but Durant still did his thing, with 25 points and 8 rebounds. He did settle for jumpers a bit more than one would be comfortable with at times, but today they were raining it down from everywhere and we know he can get to the rim otherwise.
1 vote – Lavoy Allen. Hard to pick a standout from the Sixers tonight given that this win was predicated on gritty D and Boston’s inability to convert their chances. So I’m gonna give some love here to Lavoy Allen, a second round draft pick this year who’s carved out a place for himself on this Sixers bench as a rebounder/enforcer type. 10 points and 8 rebounds in 30 minutes of a playoff game isn’t bad for a 2nd round rookie.
On the Lakers-Thunder game – yes OKC got lucky with their shooting tonight, but that doesn’t mask the fact that the Lakers are done. I said they would lose it in five but I really think they might get swept in the second round for the second year running here. Kobe just looks gassed, and even with Bynum putting up a 20/14 tonight the entire team either looks flat or mismatched.
Last year we almost saw the team blown up – this off-season it may actually happen. Pau Gasol in particular looks like he needs a fresh start somewhere else. I can see a potential sign-and-trade deal with New Jersey for Deron Williams happening, or maybe Houston cash in again.
As for the Celts-Sixers…I don’t really want to talk much about this game. It was ugly as hell, just like Game 1. This is the only way Philly can beat Boston, but it’s working. If they can do it and win again in Game 3…it might be time for the Cs to get very worried.
I typed this whole thing up in a lecture. Now that it’s over, I’m off to stuff my face with Taco Tuesday. Peace out.