Brian and I discussed several aspects of the 87-79 win, including Andrew Bynum's shoulder shiver heard 'round the world:
- A lot was made after the game of the shoulder Andrew Bynum tossed at OKC's Jeff Green following a pile up under the Oklahoma City basket in the first quarter. As Green peeled himself off the floor and started up court, Bynum threw a shoulder at him. It was pretty blatant, and I'm pretty sure of the 36,000-plus eyes in the building, the six belonging to the trio of officials were the only ones who missed it. Bynum felt he was pushed by Green, and wasn't going to take it. Or he might have been pushed by Green.
"Well that, it was a response. Because I kind of got taken out on that same play. I didn't know if he fell into me, or he pushed me. But I wasn't just gonna let that happen without retaliating," Bynum said. "That's just part of being aggressive, part of just letting people know and having a presence out there."
But that's just the tip of the analytic iceberg when it comes to opinions shared about this game. Like many folks, ESPNLA.com's Ramona Shelburne was impressed by Ron Artest's efforts locking up Kevin Durant:
- At times Sunday it seemed Artest's entire focus was on Durant, on chasing him through pick-and-rolls, making him uncomfortable, on getting something -- a hand or an arm or an elbow -- in Durant's face every time he shot. About the only time Artest took his focus off the lanky 6-foot-9 Texan came as the final buzzer sounded and purple and gold confetti fell from the rafters.
Artest stood proudly, arms on his waist, looking up into the crowd and savoring his first playoff win as a Laker. Durant walked off the court quickly, pulling his jersey out of his shorts with about three seconds left in the game, eyes down except for one last check of the scoreboard on the way into the locker room.
While Kobe Bryant's shooting woes raised the eyebrows of ESPNLA.com's Dave McMenamin, the scribe thinks Andrew Bynum's return could potentially offset that issue:
- Bynum returned from his 13-game absence to score 13 points on 6-for-10 shooting, while tying his playoff-career highs in rebounds (12) and blocks (four) and playing 31 minutes when Lakers coach Phil Jackson said he only planned to play him for 24. His presence helped Gasol gather 19 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks of his own. And with the Lakers center came the centered focus of a team that looks ready to turn this April into the start of a championship march."The more I keep playing with this aggressive nature, I think I'm going to get better at it and I think my teammates will trust me even more with the basketball and we'll just keep building," Bynum said.
A plethora of additional articles await you below the jump. Go ahead. Click it. You know you want to.
-Mike Baldwin, Daily Oklahoman
-Mike Bresnahan, Los Angeles Times
-Kevin Ding, Orange County Register
Elliott Teaford, Los Angeles Daily News
-David Lassen (PE), on the Lakers' length
-Darnell Mayberry (DO) on Scott Brook's playoff learning experience
-Broderick Turner (LAT) on Artest's defense
COLUMNS AND BLOGS
-Sam Amick (Fanhouse.com) talks about Artest's D spoiling Durant's debut.
-Vincent Bonsignore (DN) thinks Bynum is a huge advantage for the Lakers, literally and figuratively.
-Mark Heisler (LAT) thinks the Lakers finally woke up.
-Trey Kirby (Ball Don't Lie) is ashamed of Sasha Vujacic for punking out on the playoff beards.
-Mark Kreigel (Foxsports.com) thinks Artest's D lived up to its rep.
-Jeff Miller (OCR) wouldn't wanna be in Artest's head, but respects his D.
-Bill Plaschke (LAT), declares Artest's D special.
-T.J. Simers was impressed with Bynum's presence, less so with Bynum's shot on Green. (FYI, we actually recommended "Life of Pi" to Drew. AWESOME book.)
-Darius Soriano (Forum Blue and Gold) declared this ugly win a defensive triumph.
-Ian Thomson (Sports Illustrated) examines several aspects of the win.
-Berry Tramell (DO) imagines how competitive the Thunder can be with a good game from Durant.
-Royce Webb (Daily Thunder) thinks the shooting struggles of Kobe and KD canceled each other out.
-Adrian Wojnarowski (Yahoo!) thinks Artest is plenty complex, but a great defender.