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Tuesday, April 27th, 2010 at 9:00 am  |  38 responses

Lakers’ Confidence High for Game 5

by Marcel Mutoni / @marcel_mutoni

To the surprise of the entire basketball-watching universe, the Lakers/Thunder first round Playoff series is deadlocked at two games apiece. It is a reality that no one expected to be facing, least of all the defending champions.

With critical Game 5 tipping off tonight in Los Angeles — and history showing that the winner of this game, goes on to win the series 83% of the time — almost to a man, the Lakers say they will rebound and right the ship.

Pau Gasol and head coach Phil Jackson came close to guaranteeing a victory following practice yesterday. The OC Register reports:

“It’s a must-win game for us,” Gasol said Monday after Lakers practice.

Gasol also said he looks forward to the Lakers performing so well that the result Tuesday night will “send a message” to the Thunder. That message to Oklahoma City’s players regarding their two victories thus far? “That’s all they’re going to get,” Gasol said.

Lakers coach Phil Jackson sounded confident also about the Lakers increasing their focus and intensity. When asked if it is all about hustle, Jackson said: “It is. It really is.” Jackson also said about Game 5: “We’re going to get this thing turned around tomorrow.”

Bravado aside, health-wise, the Lakers did receive some good news: Kobe Bryant’s finger seems to be on the mend, and Bryant says he feels great heading into tonight’s showdown.

History is on L.A’s side, but the Thunder have repeatedly proven that nothing about this series is guaranteed. Tonight’s game will determine which team takes outright control.

I trust that I don’t have to encourage any of you to tune in.

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  • http://www.nba.com/bobcats Anton

    Good… let’s get a win boys. Start preparing for Orlando in the Finals!!!

  • J.Deneer

    Oh please oh lord let these young men from OKC take this game!

  • kh

    Let’s go LA!

  • http://slamonline.com mvp23100

    @Anton
    I bet you are praying for orlando you scared of the king lakers can hype themselves up all they want they better play to perfection to beat this team

  • Goosie

    UPSET THE HOLLYWOOD LAKERS

  • http://www.basketballistic.com Melvin

    they will blow the oklahoma in two str8 games to clinch it.

  • Michael Scorn

    When I read the title, my first thought was, “They must have traded Kobe for LeBron.”

  • AdrianC513

    Kobes gonna pour in 50 tonight.

  • jumpman3224

    As a Lakers fan, I never thought round one would be a cakewalk. I know OKC is the 8 seed, but the two teams were only seperated by 7 wins in the regular season and you could def. argue that OKC would have been the 3 seed in the East. That being said, home court and the additional day off should be on LA’s side. Go Lakers!

  • http://www.nba.com/bobcats Anton

    I don’t want the Cavs to play the Lakers because if the Lakers beat the Cavs. I will have to hide my soul and never come back to this site!!
    How are your Nuggets holding up?

  • http://www.sovainmag.com SoVain

    The Lakers need to exuberate a sense of confidence in order to compete with the Thunder. If the Thunder start fast, it’ll boost their confidence. OKC has made the Lakers look old, and Game 2 was almost had by the thunder so the Lakers need to come correct before Kobe will lighting a cigar with his wife.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Michael Scorn

    I want a Lakers-Cavs Finals only for the one reason that will divide the naion and the end result no matter which way would be apacolyptic

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Michael Scorn

    why haven’t we seen any puppet commercials lately?

  • http://www.nba.com/suns Dacre

    Alrighty, lets see if this “flip the switch” notion works…

  • http://www.slamonline.com/ niQ

    Didn’t we already find this out yesterday with Kobe’s cigar? Anyways, if the Thunder could win this game then they could actually have a chance to win it!

  • T-Money

    I just can’t see the Lakers getting bounced in Round 1. Westbrook is a problem though. Kobe has to find a way to get to the rim.

  • The Philosopher

    @Marcel Mutoni: The entire basketball watching universe is suprised the series is tied?

  • vtrobot

    Please don’t let there be another Finals involving the Magic. Their first round series was the worst one to watch. I hope the Lakers have been on a strict routine of naps and 5 Hour Energy. They need somethin’. Who’s that old dude in the long leather get up sitting courtside in OKC. OKC’s equivalent of Jack is the Undertaker. Go OKC. OKC vs. POR WCFs? Come on! I’m dreaming big.

  • http://wrwood1@aol.com WOODY

    Great article. Now that we know that Gasol has said that, “that’s all they’re going to get”, and that Bryant, “feels great”, the Thunder shouldn’t even bother showing up. This was the most homer oriented, one-sided article I have ever read short of the team’s PR handouts. If I wasn’t looking forward to the Lakers being such soft opponents for the Cavs in June, I’d be cheering for OKC.

  • Robb

    Ok kiddies time to go to school. Prof. Kobe teaching championship playing 101 tonight. Watch and learn.

  • http://theviewfromthestudentsection.blogspot.com Mike

    Lets go OKC

  • Thomas

    Lakers will win 2 straight. And Kobe will probably hit a buzzer beater in one of them…..

  • http://www.realcavsfans.com Anton

    @mvp, the other antons not me. It’s betcats, who apparently took time out of his busy day attempting to blow himself.

  • Sparty’s Law

    If the Lakers lose this game there is a very good chance the sky will start falling and the temperature in hell will begin to drastically drop.

  • MF

    Reporters and ESPN analysts have been f**kin everything up. They been talkn mad sh*t on Kobe and now hes going to go off. Too bad they didnt say anything would loove to see kobe choke

  • MF

    Man reporters and ESPN analysts have been f**ckin everything up. They have been talknin mad sh*t on Kobe and now hes going to go off. Wish people would let him be would loove to see Kobe lose

  • http://www.stuffwhitepeoplelike.com Tarzan Cooper

    ZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  • MF

    Man reporters and ESPN analysts are f**ckin up. They are talkin mad sh*t on Kobe and now hes gona go off. Wish they would have let him be, would love to see Kobe lose.

  • JD

    c’mon Thunder if they win this and win the series my Spurs will be fancied to win the West

  • MF

    Man reporters and ESPN anaylsts are f**ckin up. They are talkn mad stuff on Kobe and now hes gona go off. Wish they would have let him be, would love to see him lose.

  • Curry

    Let’s go Thunder!!! It is a shame that it takes the Lakers this long to motivate themselves in the playoffs.

  • Anthony

    JD, we can smoke LA too.

  • Fitzy

    Of course their confidence is high, I mean OKC is only an 8th seed, right? :P

  • http://www.nba.com/bobcats Anton

    That last Anton is not the real me. I hate when guys do this.
    Go Cavs and Lakers.

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    I like the above fake Anton better, the real Anton has too many corny jokes. Lakers will ride the ship, then next year, trade Artest back for Ariza and get a three peat and Kobe will be 1B to MJ 1A. Refs better help my Lakers out, like they did against Portland to come back from 14 down and when we got some good calls against Sacto, like the Kobe elbow to Bibby face. Foul on Bibby. Lakers have a cakewalk to the Finals and this matchup to me wakes the Lakers up, just like the scrappy Rockets did, but we need the gunner Kobe to take all the shots and not care. GO Lakers.

  • http://dsfjklf.com Jukai

    So does everyone here agree that The Seed is medically psychotic? Cause his ramblings get farther and farther away from reality. Trade Artest back for Ariza?

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    No-one noticed Melvin’s HUGE *pause* comment?

  • larrylegend

    too many antons around here, i want the original back!!!

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