Thunder-Lakers: This Is How Oklahoma City Could Beat Los Angeles

Three eighth seeds have beat the top seed. The Thunder have a chance to join their ranks. It will take a phenomenal effort from their stars and role players with a collapse from the defending champs.  

However, the Thunder have the stars to matchup and the Lakers have shown every sign of a team that could fail to rise to the occasion. Three things must happen to make the upset possible.


Durant Challenges Kobe

Kobe is one of those players that often has problems putting his team's success before his own pride. In his heart he always believes that he gives his team the best chance to win. Usually he can survive this because of his immense skill, but Kobe is not 100 percent. He is injured and if he goes into full-scale attack mode he will probably prove more a liability than an asset.

Kobe Bryant will face a strong challenge when he has to put up his points against Thabo Sefolosha, one of the best defenders in the game. Even if Bryant were not hurt, he would have to work to get his points against such a strong defender. With him hurt, it will be rough. If Bryant is putting up 5-for-20s, the Lakers are going to lose.

Durant is the perfect guy to bring out this reaction. He is a rising star who can put a lot of points on the board in a hurry. With the right smack talk (Durant will already be worked up because of Jackson's comments), Kobe could take the bait of trying to keep up and show himself superior to the young buck.

Honestly, if Kobe is full strength, he probably wins this duel. However, he is not and this struggle will be futile. If he bypasses his other options who have mismatches, like Gasol, Odom, and Bynum (who may not even be healthy), then the battle has already been won.


Westbrook Shines  

The sad thing is that the Lakers could have guaranteed their path to at least to t...

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