Oklahoma City wins series 4-1
|Game 1: Monday, May 14th|
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|Game 2: Wednesday, May 16th|
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|Game 3: Friday, May 18th|
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|Game 4: Saturday, May 19th|
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|Game 5: Monday, May 21st|
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9:30 PM ET, May 21, 2012
Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK
They will have enough time to rest as they get ready for a second straight trip to the Western Conference finals.
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Westbrook scored 28 points, Durant added 25 points and 10 rebounds, and the two All-Stars skipped their usual rest periods to power the Thunder ahead in the second half for a 106-90 win over the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 5 of the West semifinals on Monday night.
"We know that's the most important time of the game, especially in a tight game," Durant said. "I think that we kept our composure throughout the fourth, and our poise, and we made plays."
Kobe Bryant scored 42 points for the Lakers and took the briefest of rests -- less than two minutes -- in the second half. It didn't even take that long for the game, and their season, to slip away.
After getting eliminated by Los Angeles in 2010 and Dallas in 2011 before both of those teams went on to win it all, the Thunder knocked both out on their way to the West finals for the second straight year.
The only other time the franchise made consecutive conference finals was from 1978-80, including Seattle's only NBA title in 1979.
Once there, they'll face the top-seeded Spurs, the only team other than the Lakers or Mavs to win the West in the past 13 years and currently riding an 18-game winning streak. The series starts Sunday night in San Antonio.
After Westbrook's pair of three-point plays fueled a 14-3 burst that put Oklahoma City ahead to stay late in the third quarter, Durant hit two 3-pointers as the Thunder scored the first 10 points of the fourth to push their lead to 93-77.
Bryant was waiting to check in when Durant connected on his second 3-pointer, just 89 seconds into the fourth quarter. But by the time he got in, there was little he could do -- despite the 13th 40-point game of his playoff career.
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"That what we do. That's our rotations and that's the right rotation to make," Bryant said. "You have to trust that unit coming in there to hold the fort down."
"I've got to be able to rest Kobe a few minutes here and there, and we didn't do a good job of handling it at that point in the game," Brown said, adding that he didn't keep Bryant out as long as he had planned.
Westbrook went running to the scorer's table and pumped his fist in the air after his first energizing three-point play, when he was able to flip the ball in after Ramon Sessions fouled him on the fast break.
"I just tried to throw it to the rim and luckily it went in. That kind of sparked us, and everybody else kept it going from there," Westbrook said.
Westbrook converted another after banking in a jumper from the left side despite Sessions slapping him on the arm to make it 82-76 with 1:29 left in the third quarter.
Durant extended the lead with a 3-pointer in the opening minute of the fourth and then hit another 32 seconds later -- just after Bryant had stepped to the scorer's table to check in after a brief rest.
Bryant described it as "tough, to say the least."
After blowing a fourth-quarter lead in Game 4, Bryant had called out forward Pau Gasol to be more aggressive -- much as he had with Gasol and Bynum before the Lakers faced elimination in Game 7 of the first round against Denver.
Gasol came through with a monster game -- 23 points, 17 rebounds and six assists -- and Steve Blake scored a playoff career-best 19 points to save the Lakers that time. Bryant didn't get nearly as much help against the Thunder.
Gasol took 14 shots, his most of the series, but made only five to finish with 14 points and 16 rebounds. Metta World Peace scored 11 and Bynum 10.
James Harden added 17 points as Oklahoma City's bench outscored the Lakers' 35-5. The Thunder also had a 30-6 edge in fast-break scoring. The Lakers were outrebounded 51-35 and had only three offensive rebounds, two from Gasol and none from Bynum.
"We're asking our bigs to do a lot, but I know for sure we could have gotten more scoring from those two guys in the offensive rebounding category ... and we could have gotten more from our bench," Brown said.
The Thunder got five of their first eight baskets on dunks and controlled the boards early on, grabbing 16 of the game's first 22 rebounds while keeping Los Angeles off the offensive glass for the first 11 minutes.
Bryant had to create all of the offense, scoring 15 of the Lakers' first 19 points and getting all six of his baskets without the benefit of an assist. When others started chipping in, the Lakers went on a 16-7 run to go up 35-32 following Bynum's three-point play.
Oklahoma City scored the next eight points, including Harden's fast-break dunk, before Bryant got past him for a pair of dunks of his own -- the first a driving, two-handed reverse jam and the second a two-handed alley-oop slam over Harden.
But Bryant and World Peace both drew technical fouls as the Lakers lost their cool with 31.9 seconds left before halftime when World Peace was called for a flagrant foul against Thabo Sefolosha on a fast break. World Peace used his right hand to strip the ball from Sefolosha as he went up to the basket, but then shoved him out of bounds with his left hand.
Sefolosha hit both free throws and Durant capitalized on both shots from the technicals World Peace and Bryant got for arguing the flagrant call to put the Thunder 54-51 ahead at halftime despite shooting worse than 40 percent.
The Lakers had baskets just after the buzzer at the end of the second and third quarters that both got reviewed on instant replay. ... Westbrook got a technical foul for cursing at an official after a no-call midway through the first quarter. ... The Thunder's Nick Collison needed stitches to close a cut on the back of his head that he sustained during Game 4. ... Los Angeles is 10-3 when Bryant scores 40 points in the playoffs, losing both times he did it this season.
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - MAY 21: Dancers pose in front of Oklahoma City Thunder display in Game Five of the Western...(Photo by Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)
Team Stat Comparison
|FGM-FGA||34-75 (.453)||42-90 (.467)|
|3PM-3PA||2-11 (.182)||3-13 (.231)|
|FTM-FTA||20-26 (.769)||19-25 (.760)|
|Fast Break Points||6||30|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||24 (2/1)||22 (2/0)|
From Elias: Kobe Bryant scored 42 points but didn't record an assist in the Lakers Game 5 loss against the Thunder. The 42 points are tied for the 3rd most points without recording an assist in a playoff game in the last 50 years.[+]
Kobe Bryant shot 1-of-10 when guarded by Kevin Durant in the fourth quarter of the Western Conference Semifinals. Bryant shot 41.7 percent (10-24) against all other Thunder defenders. Only two of Bryant's 34 fourth-quarter attempts were inside of 5 feet and both of those came against James Harden.[+]
Kobe Bryant by Defender
The Thunder outscored the Lakers by 13.8 transition points per game during the Western Conference Semifinals, including by 17 in Game 5. Russell Westbrook (6.4), Kevin Durant (6.4) and James Harden (5.6) all averaged over five transition points per game in the series.[+]
The Thunder's Big 3 of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden played 84 minutes together, and during that time Oklahoma City outscored Los Angeles by 47 points. The Lakers' Big 3 of Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum were outscored by 36 when they played together.[+]
Big 3's on Court Together
The Lakers managed just 6 fastbreak points and 3 fastbreak shots in the loss. The Thunder have limited them in transition all series. The Lakers have scored 6.6 fastbreak PPG this series after scoring 11.0 fastbreak PPG in the 1st Round and 9.4 fastbreak PPG in the regular season.
There are 7 different teams who have had more playoff wins than the Lakers over the last 2 seasons. That includes the Grizzlies - a team they raided to get Pau Gasol - and their longtime rival Celtics. More Playoff Wins Than Lakers Last 2 Postseasons Heat 20 Thunder 17 Mavericks 16 Celtics 12 Bulls 11 Grizzlies 10 Spurs 10 >>Lakers: 9
Kobe Bryant Most Points In Playoff Game When Facing Elimination Monday 42 at Thunder<< 2007 34 at Suns<< 2002 31 vs Kings 2010 26 vs Celtics >>Lakers lost game
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