Wow. I can’t believe I’m writing this recap about a Thunder WIN. Sometimes, it’s all about the 4th quarter in the NBA. The whole way the Lakers stayed in control of the game, but that all changed in the last five minutes.
The Lakers controlled the pace and tempo as they lead 29-24 after the first quarter. Early on, both teams hit jumper after jumper with the Thunder shooting 5 for 6 and the Lakers shooting 4 for 5. Russell Westbrook came out on fire in the first as he finished with eight points after one. The Thunder were looking to get out on the break but couldn’t, which made the first quarter a slow-paced game. The Thunder did get out in transition at one point late in the first, which lead to back-to-back lay-ups for Kevin Durant. Overall, LA dominated inside and used their size to get easy buckets from Bynum. After the first quarter in LA, the Lakers got their way, and played at their pace.
The Lakers continued to add to their lead as they lead 56-46 going into the half. After a Thunder timeout with 9:30 left to play in the second quarter, I was thinking,” Lets just go back home and win game 5, because we just suck right now.” Oklahoma City’s bench was awful and just let the Lakers do whatever they wanted. LA definitely showed that OKC’s bench only has one weapon in James Harden. The Lakers were shooting 60 percent from the floor and were winning the rebounding category 5 to 1. One of Oklahoma City’s downfalls is their inability to realize mismatches and there were a few cases where the Thunder had Gasol guarding Westbrook and Steve Blake guarding Harden and couldn’t get them the ball. The Thunder just looked like a selfish and non-playoff team in the first half. Going into the half, I was worried as can be, because it almost seemed like Ibaka and Perkins didn’t want to play. The main story of the second happens to be Russell Westbrook going down on his own and slipping. However, the Thunder played an awful second quarter and needed to pick it up in the second half.
The Thunder stepped it up a little and stayed in the game only down 9, 80-71 after three quarters. Westbrook started the 3rd quarter, after he had treatment on his hip during the half. A Kevin Durant three cut the gap to 9, 49-58, with 9:30 to go. However, Durant kept turning the ball over which lead to easy buckets for LA. Kendrick Perkins picked up a technical foul which just capped everything off. It was horrible. Luckily, Kobe missed the free throw, but the Thunder were down, and that was the problem. The game stayed a 10 point game for most of the third quarter. The only reason why the Thunder remained in the game was because of Russell Westbrook, due to his 13 point third quarter. Both teams were shooting around 45 percent at this point.
The Thunder had 12 minutes to catch the Lakers and win the game. An early to start the fourth quarter basically defines the game as a whole. The Thunder force the Lakers into a forced three, but Metta World Peace gets the offensive rebound and he hits a three. There were points in the fourth where Harden would get to the rim and get fouled, but get no call. And then, on the other end, Kobe would get touched and get a call. But you can’t look back on that, and say that’s why they are losing. However, all of a sudden the Thunder started to put on the jets. Russell Westbrook took over as he hit shot after shot. After a pair of Kevin Durant free throws, the lead was down to two with 3:00 to go in the game. After a Metta World Peace foul on Durant, KD missed free throws down the stretch. But he did redeem himself with a pull up jumper over Kobe Bryant to tie the game. With 1:15 to go, Kendrick Perkins gave the Thunder a two lead. However, a pair of Kobe Bryant free throws tied the game back up. A Kevin Durant clutch three in the face of Metta World Peace gave the Thunder the edge. The thunder win 103-100 and take a 3-1 lead.
The Thunder let up 18 offensive rebounds in the game, and somehow won. Westbrook finished the game with 37 points, and Durant finished with 31 on the night. Kevin Durant on the team comeback,” We just kept believing”. Durant’s said about his game-winner “ I knew he was gonna play off me just a little bit.” The Thunder will look to close out the series on Monday, back in Oklahoma City!