J.A. Adande: ”Coming home helped. The Staples Center crowd, which Jackson called “laid-back” as he doubted it could provide the same edge as the vociferous Oklahoma City fans, responded to the moment as well as the Lakers did. “The crowd was a lot better than it was the first two games here,” Kevin Durant noted. Another benefit from the change of venue: The Thunder didn’t own a time-share at the free throw line the way they did in Game 4, when they had 48 attempts. It was a loosely whistled game, in which a lot of contact on Thunder drives went uncalled. (The Thunder still wound up with more free throws than the Lakers in the first half, but like the Lakers in Game 4 Oklahoma City couldn’t convert on the few opportunities they had. Final attempts: 31-24, Lakers).”
Lee Jenkins of SI: “The defending champions finally showed up to Staples Center on Tuesday night, fashionably late as always. They limped in looking old and tired and beaten. They sprinted out looking unstoppable. The Lakers, convalescent compared to the puckish Oklahoma City Thunder, seemed to find their legs all at once. They led 10-0 after four minutes. They led by 20 in the second quarter. They led by 30 in the third. Whether the Lakers go on to repeat as champions is anybody’s guess, but in a 111-87 thumping of the Thunder in Game 5, they at least showed they are still capable.”
Darnell Mayberry: “By defending Russell Westbrook from the opening tip, Bryant eliminated the player who had been the Thunder’s best and most consistent competitor throughout the first four games. Westbrook was held to 15 points on 4-for-13 shooting to go with six assists and five rebounds.”
Berry Tramel: “Why can’t the Lakers play like this every night? “We ask the same question,” said backup point guard Jordan Farmar. “It’s tough; they do a great job at home. They come out really firing and their crowd gives them a different kind of life. We have to try to come out the way we did tonight and take the crowd out of the game.”
Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com: “The contrast between the Lakers of the first four games and Tuesday was obvious in execution and approach. This was what they were capable of all along — not wasting early leads, holding the Thunder to 26.2 percent from the field in the first half, getting the ball inside to capitalize on a size advantage they too often gave away before, and forcing the desired tempo. Oklahoma City went from 24 fast-break points in Game 4 to seven and from leading by as many as 29 points to not leading once.”
Darius of FB&G: “In the end, this was just a fantastic game. As I said in the preview, this was as close to a must win that the Lakers have had in a long time and they responded with one of their best performances of the year. The other day I asked if it was a reach to think that one day soon the Lakers would have more than one player play well in a game; if it was too much to ask to have both our bigs play well, Kobe shoot well, and have at least one of our shooters have a good night from deep. In game 5, my wishes and hopes were answered by a Lakers team that erased fans’ frustration and replaced it with pure joy. This was the Lakers team that we all have been wanting to see and they delivered. They now lead the series 3-2 and have put themselves in prime position to advance to the 2nd round. Here’s to them taking care of business on Friday.”
The Tulsa 66ers fell in Game 2 in the D-League Finals. But what a great season for them. Congrats for sure.
Tommy Dee of Knicks Blog giving some love to Russ: “First, after watching Russell Westbrook over the past few weeks, and the time he came to the Garden against the Knicks and calmly just missed a triple-double by a single rebound (31 pts, 10 assists, nine rebounds), I think that he’s established himself in Derrick Rose’s class in terms of guards on the cusp of superstardom.”
Just like Laker fans said after Game 4, we probably saw the Lakers play about their best game and OKC play their worst game. This thing isn’t over yet.