When the Lakers & the Thunder played during last year's post-season, the top seeded LA eradicated the young Thunder during a competitive 1st round series.
A 1st round playoffs game this spring appears not likely having a greatly improved Oklahoma City club during a close race with Los Angeles for 2nd place within the West.
during their 1st matchup since last year's post-season, the Thunder attempt to pickup their 5th consecutive Monday evening when they pay a visit to the Lakers, who attempt to carry on their domination within this series at Staples Center.
Oklahoma City ( 27 - 13 ) were making their 1st playoff sighting since 2005 the previous year, & was not anticipated to provide the defending much of a contest. The Thunder came into the playoffs having dropped 12 of 13 to the Lakers, prior to almost pushing the series to 7 matchups.
Oklahoma City's upset bid finished when Pau Gasol came up having a last second tip - in during Game 6 that permitted the Lakers ( 30 - 12 ) to advance. Gasol put in 18.0 points & 12.2 boards within that series prior to Los Angeles went on to pick up a 2nd consecutive title.
Less than 24 hours following Oklahoma City was eradicated by the Lakers, Kevin Durant stated he was conentrating on winning a title of his own.
However the Thunder are only 2 seasons removed from a 23 victory year, they appear like they have the skills to make a championship run.
Oklahoma City has picked up 4 consecutive & 13 of 18, & is 2 matchups behind the Lakers for 2nd position in the West.
The Thunder ought to be relaxed having been off since defeating Orlando 125 - 124 on Thursday to get better to 7 - 0 on national TV. This will be an additional nationally televised game.
Trying to put a hard series loss from last year's playoffs behind him, Durant is putting in 35.3 points during his previous 3 matchups with the Lakers, as his averages are 25.0 points on 35.0 % from the floor.
Durant, although, does not have to carry the whole offense alone.
Russell Westbrook had thirty-two, 13 dishes & ten boards versus the Magic, as the Thunder increased to 11 - 1 when their PG puts in a minimum of twenty-five points. Westbrook broke the twenty-five point mark only once within last season's post-season versus Los Angeles.
However the Thunder played the Lakers hard during the playoffs, they dropped all 3 matchups in Los Angeles.
The Oklahoma City club has dropped ten straight at Staples Center to the Lakers, which includes the playoffs, since the Seattle SuperSonics picked up 123 - 113 on March 12th, 2006.
Los Angeles comes into the game riding a 5 game home court winning run, however it lost at Staples Center 99 - 92 to the host Clippers on Sunday. Kobe had twenty-seven points & 9 boards for the Lakers, who saw their 7 game winning run come to a close.
The Lakers have kept 7 of their previous 8 competitors to less than the century mark, however keeping Oklahoma City to double figures will not be easy.
The Thunder are putting in 117 on 51.7 % from the floor during their previous 3 matchups following putting in 92 during their last 3.