Lakers-Thunder: LA Wins, but Gives Thunder Confidence Heading into Game Three

Not even a week through the NBA playoffs and we have already been put through two heart-stopping finishes that have ended past midnight.

Let's face it, unless you were a Lakers fan, you were rooting for the Oklahoma City Thunder Monday Night in Los Angeles. As the fourth quarter loomed, you were having flashbacks of Rocky Balboa fighting Apollo Creed.

It was supposed to be a formality—the Lakers are the best team in the NBA and the Thunder fiercely fought for the final playoff spot. There was no real doubt outside of Oklahoma as to who would win this series.

That was until David grabbed his stones and confronted Goliath.

Of course, beating Goliath is not as simple as merely having the tools. You have to execute to the highest of your ability.

That's something the expansion franchise Oklahoma City Thunder did for 47 minutes and 58 seconds on Monday night. However, it was the two missing seconds that cost the Thunder the opportunity of a lifetime. All credit to the Los Angeles Lakers and their calm, precise, championship execution, but the Thunder blew that game.

The Lakers started the game the way many expected them to. An impressive first quarter saw them outscore the Thunder 26-18. But an even more impressive 29-point effort from the Thunder in the second quarter gave them an improbable halftime lead.

The Lakers retook the lead in the third quarter and the fairy tale effort from the Thunder seemed doomed for distant memory.

The Thunder took advantage of horrible fourth quarter shooting by the Lakers, which saw them shoot 28 percent, a far cry from their game average of 37. Behind Kevin Durant's 32 points, the expansion team from Oklahoma City was in prime position to pull off one of the biggest upsets in recent NBA playoff history.

With the game tied 88-88 with two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, both teams played cautiously and intelligently. ...

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