Los Angeles Lakers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder Series Odds and Predictions
by Nolan Sinclair (with Robert Ferringo) - 4/16/2010
L.A. Lakers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
Series Odds: L.A. Lakers –745 (OKC +645)
This series is going to be viewed by the common fan as Kobe vs. KD, but there is much more going on under the surface. The Lakers are playing absolutely terrible basketball and they may be without Andrew Bynum. The Thunder and young and energetic and their fans are chomping at the bit for some playoff games in Oklahoma City. L.A. has won three of four versus the Thunder this season but one was a three-point win and another went to overtime. The defending champions look like they could have their hands full and this one looks like it could be Dallas vs. Golden State all over again.
Here’s a look at why either team will win this series:
Why the L.A. Lakers will win: The Lakers are the reigning NBA Champions and Kobe is doing everything he can to Be Like Mike. He wants his next ring badly and he will stop at nothing to get it. His running mate, Pau Gasol, has been playing out of his mind as of late, hitting for at least 23 points in seven of his last nine games. Add to that the fact that he has grabbed at least 11 boards in six of his last eight games, including 22, 16, and 15 rebound nights. Gasol will cause havoc for the young Thunder and if he plays like this it might time to put the babies to bed.
The Lakers are thought as being an impressive offensive team, but they are also one of the better defensive teams in the NBA, especially preventing teams from shooting the three-point shot, leading the league in that area. If Oklahoma City settles for jumpers the Lakers will walk. (Oh, and then there’s the fact that Phil Jackson doesn’t lose in the first round. Ever. And he’s already getting in Kevin Durant’s head.)
Player to watch for L.A.: Ron Artest. Don’t be surprised if Artest steps out to guard Westbrook or if he matches up with Kevin Durant. Artest is known as a defensive specialist and is like a mosquito in the woods. We all know defense wins championships.
Why the Oklahoma City Thunder will win: Russell Westbrook and Thabo Sefolosha are two primary reasons why the Thunder will win. Westbrook is too quick and strong for the Laker guards and Sefolosha causes Kobe fits on the defensive end of the floor. Most people will speak of Durant when they try to convince themselves that Oklahoma City has a chance but Westbrook and Thabo will play a huge role in this series. The Thunder took it to L.A. in their most recent meeting and they were right with them in two of their three losses to the champs. If the Thunder gain confidence early in this series it could get interesting very quickly.
Player to watch for Oklahoma City: Westbrook has been one of my favorites all year. If he plays well and takes care of the ball the Thunder have a great shot. He needs to get to the rim as much as he can and not settle for the jumper.
L.A. Lakers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder Series Prediction: Lakers in six. (Originally Nolan said Thunder in six. But I’m not an idiot!)
Most Recent NBA Handicapping
- LA Lakers Could be in Real Trouble with LeBron and AD Injuries
- Free NBA Picks Wednesday 1/20/2021 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Friday 1/15/2021 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Wednesday 1/13/2021 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Friday 1/8/2021 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Wednesday 1/6/2021 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Friday 1/1/2021 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Wednesday 12/30/2020 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Friday 12/25/2020 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Wednesday 12/23/2020 and Opening Line Report