"The Lakers were able to even up their Round 2 series against the Thunder by holding the highest-scoring team in the league to under 100 points, taking a 77-72 win back home to Los Angeles." Wait, scratch that. That's how I planned to start this piece last night with just under two minutes to go in the 4Q. Alas, the Lakers decided to pull a Nike and confiscate my piece, forcing me to write something completely different. To facilitate that, they flipped the script and gave the game to the Thunder, losing 77-75. And while they most definitely held the Thunder to under 100 points, they didn't pull off the second part by winning.
Kobe Bryant gets blamed for a lot of things that aren't his fault, including the play of his teammates. However, last night's loss was his fault. Of course there were things that happened throughout the game that shouldn't have, but with the Lakers up seven with 2:08 to play, Kobe turned in a performance that was mind-boggling.
He coughed up this game, allowing the Lakers to somehow waste a seven-point lead in the final 128 seconds. He lost a pass to Durant, let another go through his hands, missed a 3-pointer and had a shot thrown back by James Harden. It was two minutes, eight seconds of chaos, one blunder after another. Never has Bryant looked so clumsy – so mortal – in such a big moment.
"I was surprised," Lakers coach Mike Brown said.
As for the last shot, Steve Blake missed it, but he is not to be criticized for taking it. He was open because the Thunder weren't expecting him to get the ball. Unfortunately, it just didn't fall, but he is not the goat of this game. Last night's goat is Kobe Bryant, and not the GOAT variety.