NBA Playoffs 2012: Do or Die for Los Angeles Lakers in Game 3 vs OKC Thunder

Same story, different day for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Which could spell an Extreme Makeover: Staples Center Edition this summer.

Their stunning surrender to the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals on Wednesday night was eerily reminiscent of their fourth-quarter meltdowns against the Dallas Mavericks last year.

Just as their seven-game escape against the Denver Nuggets raised many of the same issues that plagued the Lakers when they needed six games to close out Chris Paul's New Orleans Hornets a season ago.

Kobe Bryant is still a great player, but he can't do it all by himself anymore. Andrew Bynum is one of the best offensive big men in the NBA, but his suspect defensive effort and inconsistent focus often renders him less than reliable. Ditto for Pau Gasol, though he doesn't suffer from Bynum's foot-in-mouth disease, at the very least.

As for the supporting cast, they still can't seem to so much as throw a beach ball in the ocean with any predictability or regularity. Say what you want about having Steve Blake take the last shot while Derek Fisher was sitting on the Thunder's bench, but the former was clutch from three-point range in Round 1, including a 5-for-6 performance in Game 7 against the Nuggets, and reasonably should've hit what would've been the game-winning shot from the corner.

And don't even begin to blame this on Mike Brown, or think that Phil Jackson would've done better. Brown inherited largely the same squad that sent the Zen Master packing for (temporary?) retirement after a four-game sweep at the hands of the eventual NBA champions last spring.

So far, he's gotten largely the same results—occasional brilliance, particularly on the interior, bookended by frustratingly lackadaisical play on both ends of the floor.

There's a reason why Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss went all-out to nab Paul from New Orl...

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