Originally Published: Apr 28, 2010 7:33 PM CDT
CRYSTAL BALL GAME SIX
Offensive edge to LakersLA finally was able to thoroughly dominate and take advantage of its size in Game 5-especially Gasol’s 25 and 11. Unless Kristic, Collison, Green and Ibaka gain three inches and thirty pounds, look for more of the same volleyball over the top, not to mention their beautify interior passing. LA didn’t pout and took what the defense gave him. Meanwhile, OKC was out of sync, forced into bad shots and intimidated. Durant must come out aggressive and score 35 plus, Westy must control himself and Harden must be a man.
Defensive edge to LakersHow can it not be after the Game Cinco Massacre? LA’s superb defenseled by it being more physical and the brilliant move of putting Kobe on Westbrookmust be matched with OKC adjustments. Thunders can’t be passive, must get Durant more open looks, runbut under control, and must find its rhythm that LA swiped. OKC must come out ultra-aggressive on defense and lead the crowd into being a major factor and do a better job of clogging things up in the paint. They will lose if they get out-rebounded.
Coaching edge to LakersZen pushed the right buttons and lived up to his reputation in Game 5. He challenged his team’s manhood while exuding confidence in workouts and even through the pregame meeting with the media. He showed calm before the storm. Terrific interior adjustments and the Kobe move. Now it’s time for Scott Brooks to counter with adjustments of his own. At some point in Game 6 his team will have doubts. That’s when he will have had to have convinced them that they are invincible at home. Pressure, yes. But also a rare opportunity for Brooks.
Intangibles edge to OKCClearly, the crowd is the overriding factor in OKC’s favor. That’s all the talk in the LA locker-room after the game, on the radio and in the streets. The crowd can’t wait for something good to happen. In fact, the best crowds are uplifting when times are tough and provide a pick-me-up when most needed. Confidence may be a bigger thing than crowd noise. LA has re-taken the momentum in this series. The best hope is that they will be thinking in the back of their minds that because of the Game Cinco Demolition, they can afford to take an “L” in God’s Country.