Los Angeles Lakers (20-13, 6-11 road) vs. OKC Thunder (26-7, 14-1 home)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 108.9 (2nd), Lakers– 103.3 (15th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 102.4 (14th), Lakers – 100.7 (11th)
Pace: Thunder – 93.8 (3rd), Lakers – 88.9 (22nd)
View from the enemy: Forum Blue and Gold
The goal before this five-game homestand started was at least 4-1. Well, now that that’s already in the bag, it kind of feels like it needs to be 5-0. One, because otherwise that would mean a loss, and losing is never fun. And two, because it’s the Lakers and losing two the Lakers is never fun.
As for Nick Collison, he’s a gametime decision for tonight. The Thunder certainly could use him as the L.A. frontcourt is a big one.
The Lakers coming in: They played last night too, winning a tough game in Dallas.
Three Big Things
1. The bigs. The Thunder went and got Kendrick Perkins just for nights like this. In the one meeting last season post-trade, Perk and Ibaka did a great job on the inside against Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol. Perk has prided himself on being a Bynum stopper, so you know he’s pumped. I’m curious about Scott Brooks going small some though. I think KD can defend Gasol in the post decently and it would create a major mismatch on the other end.
2. Kobe. There’s no Thabo to defend him, but I think Daequan Cook and James Harden will be up to the task. Harden has shown in the past he can defend Kobe well and Cook isn’t a bad defender. I assume Kobe will defend Westbrook as he has the past few meetings. That means Fisher will be hidden on Cook, but unlike Thabo, Cook’s actually a decent offensive weapon. Could play into OKC’s favor.
3. Run. Every time the Thunder have played the Lakers, starting back in the playoff series, OKC has held a major advantage in the transition game. Bynum and Gasol don’t get up and down the floor well, I think Derek Fisher needs a Rascal scooter to do it and with KD, Westbrook and Harden, the Thunder can outrun almost anyone. Against the Celtics, the Thunder showed off that transition game. The Lakers have problems scoring so they’re looking to win a defensive game. Any easy baskets OKC gets on the run will be big.
Tip at 8:30 CT. Go Beat LA.