The Lakers got off to a worse start than they ever could have imagined in their playoff series opener against the Thunder.
Los Angeles lost Game 1 to Oklahoma City on Monday night, 119-90. The Thunder blew the contest open toward the end of the second quarter, taking a 15 point lead into the second half.
Thunder standouts Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant combined for 52 points on 18-31 shooting. The Lakers stars didn't fare as well. Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol scored a total of 30 points, shooting 12-29.
The Thunder dominated every aspect of the first game in the series. The Lakers were big underdogs coming into Game 1, despite being just one seed lower than Oklahoma City.
Was Monday's poor showing just an aberration, or do the Lakers not have a shot at competing with the Thunder?
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The Lakers players and coaches certainly don't think the loss means they will get swept.
I thought we did OK, said Metta World Peace after the game. We played Denver, they blew us out also. We just have to keep on focusing. I think it's obvious. We got to do better than OK.
Even members of the Thunder aren't getting too excited after the big win.
It's one game, said OKC head coach Scott Brooks. It's the first team to four wins that wins this series. Come Wednesday night, regardless of if you won by one or 20, it doesn't have no impact on Wednesday night.
The postgame comments from players and coaches alike seem to indicate that this was just one game in a long series. However, it's hard to overlook how badly the Lakers got beat.
Oklahoma City came into this matchup with an inordinate amount of rest. It was the first time they played since beating the Mavericks in Game 4 of their series on May 5. The nine days off seemed to have greatly benefited the Thunder.
The Lakers were in the opposite situation of the Thunder. They played less than 48 hours before the start of Game 1, beating the Nuggets in the final game of their first round series.
There won't be any more circumstances like that the rest of the series. Both teams will obviously be on equal rest. But the Lakers looked sluggish after coming off a short period of rest, and that could be a cause for concern.
One of the reasons why Oklahoma City is so heavily favored is because of their youth and athleticism. The Lakers will have to slow down the pace of the game if they want to keep this series competitive, and they were unable to do so in Game 1.
Obviously, they're more well-rested than we are ... We could have had the same amount of days off. They're just younger and faster. And tonight, what you saw is them executing extremely well, said Bryant.
The Lakers won't have time to rest up.
Game 2 is set for Wednesday, and Games 3 and 4 are scheduled on back-to-back days. If Los Angeles couldn't slow down the Thunder after having one day off, it might be even harder for them to do it when playing on consecutive nights.
Game 2 of this series gets under way on Wednesday in Oklahoma City at 9:30 p.m. ET.