2010 NBA Playoffs: Oklahoma City Still Has a Shot Against the Lakers

Casey Womack@caseywomackCorrespondent IApril 18, 2010

LOS ANGELES - APRIL 18:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers and Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder smile as they jostle for position during  Game One of the Western Conference Quarterfinals of the 2010 NBA Playoffs on April 18, 2010 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.  The Lakers won 87-79.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

After the game, I've seen a lot of Laker fans extremely confident that they will sweep the series against the young Oklahoma Thunder and coast to the championship most likely against Cleveland or Orlando.

When the game ended today, I saw the remaining series going a different way.  No, I'm not saying that the Thunder will win the series, but I do think they can take Los Angeles to six or seven games.

The Thunder came out and acted like they never played basketball before in the first quarter.  The extremely experienced Lakers took every bit of advantage of that mistake and looked like a championship squad.

However, the Thunder stayed in the game after they got settled in and kept it semi-close the rest of the game. 

In fact, the Thunder actually out scored the Lakers 66-60 if you take away the ugly first quarter. 

So what does that mean? Even when the Thunder was extremely nervous, played horribly, and with KD and James Harden both not suiting up basically, the Thunder still hung with the defending champs.

Now that they know how the atmosphere is in the Staples Center, I think that they'll be able to settle down a little bit by having their first playoff game under their belt. Plus, they'll be able to have over 48 hours of thinking of a strategy to counter Ron Artest to get some open look baskets for Kevin Durant.

However, I really think the X-Factor in this series will be if James Harden will be able to get his shot going.  He went 0-320823 (Sarcasm) in game one and looked pretty rattled even when just handling the ball.

If Durant and Harden can get it going, I believe the Thunder will be able to have a decent shot in the remaining games.

Russell Westbrook showed he is going to abuse Derrick Fisher when the opportunity is there.  Westbrook's reputation of not being a true point guard will be extinguished after the series. 

Plus, if Serge Ibakacan could be his normal self, I really think he'll be able to contain Andrew Bynum.  I know he won't be able to stop him, but at least contain him enough and give him some tough basket attempts.

Thabo Sefolosha showed he could do a solid job on Kobe when he's in, but he was only given 20 minutes in Game One.  I'm sure Scott Brooks will use Sefolosha a lot more in the remaining series to try and contain the Lakers' biggest weapon.

So Thunder fans, don't give up hope.  I know the game was tough to watch, but it will get better. 


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