NBA Playoffs 2012: Why the Los Angeles Lakers Can Upset Oklahoma City

After a hard-fought Game 7 win against the Denver Nuggets, the Los Angeles Lakers move on to a much more daunting task as they move deeper in the 2012 NBA Playoffs—stopping Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder in Round 2.

For Los Angeles and its fans, being the underdog  is not a well-known feeling. Used to occupying the pinnacle of the Western Conference, the Lakers will need to adjust quickly to the role of underdog if they hope to take down the young and dangerous Thunder. 

The last time these two teams met provided an interesting example of how quickly things can shift in the NBA.

In 2010, the Lakers, the top-seeded team in the West and a favorite to take home the Larry O' Brien trophy, faced off against a youthful but explosive OKC squad in the first round. LA took the series in six games, but NBA fans were provided a first look at a Thunder team only beginning to scratch the surface of their collective potential.

Fast forward two years and that potential has fully come to fruition.

The Thunder stand as the second-seeded team in the conference, replacing the Lakers as a likely pick to take the NBA crown. On the flip-side, the Lakers have entered somewhat of a transitional period with a new coach and a roster that only moderately resembles their past championship squads. 

However, anyone who's observed the league for the past decade knows that counting out Kobe Bryant and the Lakers before the series begins is foolish. Never a team to casually descend down the ranks of the league, the Lakers will undoubtedly fight tooth and nail to maintain their reputation as the elite of the West.

So how can the Lakers be able to retain their status as contenders?


A Big Performance from the Frontcourt

Put on display by Pau Gasol's fantastic performance in Game 7 against Denver, the Lakers have assembled perhaps the toughest...

About the Author