After watching the 29-point throttling the Oklahoma City gave the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 1, there are plenty of different reasons to believe this is going to be a short series.
Here’s another one for ya: the playoff schedule.
It’s no secret the Thunder are much younger and deeper than the grizzled Lakers. Couple that with more than an extra week of rest for Oklahoma City and you have a team that is ready to play seven grueling games in the span of 13 days.
The Lakers are in the opposite boat. They needed time to recover, both physically and mentally, after a grueling seven-game royal rumble with the Denver Nuggets. Obviously with a 15-year veteran in Kobe Bryant on board, he needs time to rest his aching knees and back. Pau Gasol is certainly not a young gun either anymore at the age of 31.
However, more importantly, they needed rest mentally after a series of such extreme emotions.
Instead, they had to fly straight to Oklahoma City and suit up less than 48 hours later. They weren’t ready and the 29-point loss could have been even worse.
So now they have another 48 hours to re-group before Game 2, which is essentially a must-win game.
While typically a series doesn’t begin until the road team wins, that goes out the window with the bizarre scheduling in this matchup. For some absurd reason, the NBA has the two Laker home games on back-to-back nights this Friday and Saturday.
There is no way the Lakers can keep up with the Thunder on the second night of a back-to-back in the playoffs. It’s an odd scheduling quirk that strongly favors the younger team.
In a year where many Laker fans will blame all of their woes on the vetoed trade for Chris Paul to begin the season, it’s only fitting they will likely get bounced with the help of a bad break in scheduling.
Blame David Stern, Laker fans—maybe that will make you feel better about the immaturity of Andrew Bynum, softness of Pau Gasol and craziness of Metta World Peace that forced them to the brink of elimination in Round 1 to begin with.
They dug themselves into this hole and will need a miracle to climb out of it.
If LA can’t beat OKC tonight, consider this series all but over.
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