Before the playoffs started, the Lakers' last meeting against the Thunder was terrible. They lost by 16 points and had no momentum going into the playoffs, losing six of their last ten games.
However, these Lakers are playing like the Lakers of old by facilitating team basketball and grinding out teams for four quarters with multiple options such as Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom, and Andrew Bynum.
Kobe came out aggressive and was determined to bounce back after shooting six from 19 in game one.
Game two was like a roller coaster for the Lakers, with many ups and downs. The Thunder kept rallying back and stayed competitive due to Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook scoring consistently.
Ron Artest finally looks comfortable on this Laker team. He was very active on defense and forced Durant to turn the ball over eight times. Durant didn't look confident due to Ron's defensive intensity. He wasn't looking to take Artest off the dribble or face up at the top of the three point line, which he did so well in the regular season.
Bryant looked dangerous, sharp, and quick. Kobe was indignant because he didn't get any foul calls when he took the ball to the hoop. His frustration is common due to his competitive nature.
Kobe and Pau played a big role in Game Two, scoring 64 out of the 95 points, while no other Laker had more than six points. Pau looked great as he was hitting his jumper and running the floor. He finished with a solid 25 points and 12 rebounds.
The Lakers had one of the those frustrating and nerve-racking games to watch. Phil Jackson could just sense Bryant had to get it going for the Lakers to win.
So, Jackson subbed Bryant in and he exploded, scoring seven out of the last nine points for the Lakers. The Lakers will need Bryant to be clutch throughout the playoffs and it was a good sign that, after a month of poor form, he could get the Lakers over the hump.
Kobe said in his post game interview, "I had to be more aggressive, I was being too passive, forgetting about what I can do."
A reporter asked, "Kobe, did you sense the last few days, maybe the last couple of weeks, that there were some doubts about whether you could do what you did right now after all those injuries? Did you sense people were doubting you?"
He answered, "Well, yeah, but you know after 13 years they should know better..."