NBA Playoffs 2012: Lakers’ Takeaways from Game 5 and Series Loss to the Thunder

The Los Angeles Lakers fell for the final time this season, losing to Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday night. The Thunder defeated L.A. in five games, and will continue their quest for a championship on Sunday against the San Antonio Spurs.   

Here are some Lakers' takeaways:


The Mamba. 

The only bright side to the Lakers’ loss was watching Kobe Bryant, who apparently hopped in a time machine before the game, explode for an efficient 42 points, including five, rim-rattling dunks. The Black Mamba showed his full, offensive arsenal that night.

The will and determination of Bryant that we have become so accustomed to were clearly on display. Unfortunately, though, it did not seem as if any other Laker came to play.   


Close Losses. 

The Lakers lost three games this series by three points or less, despite leading in the fourth quarter in each of them. Their late collapses were due to a combination of clock mismanagement, untimely turnovers, a stagnant offense, and an inability to control the tempo of the game. 

If the Lakers played even marginally better in each of the series’ final periods, they would still be alive in the playoffs. (In no way am I discrediting the Thunder; they earned all of their victories.) 


Uncertain Identity. 

With the insertion of Mike Brown into L.A.’s head coaching position after almost a decade of operating off of Phil Jackson’s system, the Lakers seemed to be confused and without an identity this season. 

Under the Zen Master, the Lakers knew who they were. They ran the triangle through two Hall of Famers on offense, and played hard-nosed, team basketball on defense.

Under Mike Brown though, the Lakers can’t seem to make a name for...

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