Los Angeles Lakers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder Series Preview & Odds

Last Updated: May 14th, 2012 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist)
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The Western Conference finally gets involved in the second round of the playoffs on Monday night, and the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Los Angeles Lakers are set to square off. Check out our keys to the game for the Thunder vs. Lakers, as well as our Lakers vs. Thunder series picks and a preview of what should be a great, two-week battle.

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Los Angeles Lakers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder NBA Playoff Schedule
Game 1: Los Angeles @ Oklahoma City (Monday 5/14, 9:30 PM, TNT)
Game 2: Los Angeles @ Oklahoma City (Wednesday 5/16, 9:30 PM, TNT)
Game 3: Oklahoma City @ Los Angeles (Friday 5/18, 10:30 PM, ESPN)
Game 4: Oklahoma City @ Los Angeles (Saturday 5/19, 10:30 PM, TNT)
Game 5: Los Angeles @ Oklahoma City (Monday 5/21, TBD)
Game 6: Oklahoma City @ Los Angeles (Wednesday 5/23, TBD)
Game 7: Los Angeles @ Oklahoma City (Sunday 5/27, TBD)

Key #1: Oklahoma City has to get its head back in the game quickly
About the only disadvantage that a team generally has when it finishes off a sweep in the first round is that it could show some rust. We aren’t as worried about this with the San Antonio Spurs as we are with the Thunder, knowing that the Spurs have some veteran leadership to lead the way during the absence. However, no matter who you are, nine days off is going to be tough to say the least. The Thunder are going to have to hit the ground running in this series though, knowing that they are going against an LA team that only finished its first round series two nights ago. If Oklahoma City is going to slip at home, Games 1 and 2 are going to be quite dangerous for sure, especially with Kobe and the gang starting to pick up some confidence.

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder Series Odds at
Wager Web Sportsbook

Los Angeles Lakers +390
Oklahoma City Thunder -430
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Key #2: Kobe needs some help from his bench
There are two things that we know for sure from the Lakers every single time we see them on the court. 1: Kobe Bryant is going to be amazing. He has averaged just under 30 points per game in the playoffs this year, and the truth of the matter is that it is always disappointing when he doesn’t play 42 minutes and score 35 points when he is out there this time of year. 2: The rest of the team is going to be a giant crapshoot. Sure, once Metta World Peace came back to the lineup, matters helped dramatically. He put up 15 in Game 7 against the Denver Nuggets. However, Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol are below the numbers that we are expecting, and that is putting the pressure on the bench. Steve Blake shot the ball well from beyond the arc in the first round, and that has to keep up. Where is the rest of the help coming from, though? Ramon Sessions? Jordan Hill? Devin Ebanks? No matter who it is from, the Lakers are going to need their supporting cast to really step up, or they will get blown away in this series.

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Key #3: The team that keeps its composure will win this series
We have seen it with the Lakers time and time again. They are a team that is able to be frustrated. The Dallas Mavericks did it to the point last year that they were able to sweep LA out of the second round of the playoffs. However, we know that Oklahoma City can be ruffled as well. Metta World Peace has the ability to be a stifling defensive player (as long as his elbows are staying close to his own body), while the combo of Gasol and Bynum in the paint is usually fantastic defensively. If Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook start to have some issues driving to the basket and become strictly jump shooters, the Thunder are in trouble. Whichever team is able to really play its game and forget what the other is trying to make it do will be in the best shape in this series.

Click Here to get the best NBA picks that you’ll find on the internet, including our Los Angeles vs. Oklahoma City picks and the NBA playoffs picks for the rest of the postseason odds.

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Posted in NBA Basketball - Last Updated on Monday, May 14th, 2012 @ 6:27 am (EST)
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