One round into the 2010 NBA Playoffs, and the defending champs have already been tested. After the Thunder took game four to tie the series 2-2, I wrote how the Lakers needed to take care of business at home in Game 5 if they wanted to avoid flirting with disaster heading back to Oklahoma City’s Ford Center for Game 6. Well, Los Angeles did that both at home and on the road to seal the series and advance. They beat the youthful and resilient Thunder 95-94 on a tip-in by Pau Gasol with a half-second remaining in Game 6. The ball was in the hands of Kobe Bryant for the final shot — of course — who missed his jumper but was bailed out by Gasol who was there to clean up the glass. The ending was a fitting one, as Gasol had dominated the boards all night with 18 rebounds. In case you missed it, here’s the video of Pau Gasol’s tip-in that won the game and in turn series for LA, courtesy of YouTube via Guyism.
Despite losing, the Oklahoma City Thunder should have a ton of confidence in their team headed into next season. They surprised the basketball world by even making the playoffs and doing well — really well — in the regular season. Then, as an eight seed, they proceeded to give the defending NBA Champions a serious scare by showing they are one of the tougher teams in the league to play at home. They have a great young core that starts with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, and if they can keep their current roster in tact there’s no reason to believe they can’t be a championship contender in a few years.
As a funny side note, here’s what Phil Jackson had to say following the game when asked why visiting teams seem vulnerable.
You have to remember these men are out there in their underwear, in their shorts. These aren’t like the old days but they are pretty scantily clad, and they are, you know, in front of their fans. If you’re at all self-conscious, there you are.”
Man, that guy’s weird.Google+