Late Thunder comeback edges Lakers
From Elias: The Thunder rallied from an 80-71 deficit entering the fourth quarter to beat the Lakers 103-100. This was only the third time that the Lakers have lost a playoff game in which they had led by nine-or-more points entering the fourth quarter. In Game Four of the 1983 Finals, the Lakers lost, 115-108, to the 76ers, after having led, 93-82, entering the final quarter, as Philadelphia completed a four-game series sweep; and in Game Four of a 1987 Western Conference Semifinals series, the Lakers lost, 129-121, to the Warriors in Oakland, after having led, 102-88, entering the fourth quarter.
Durant and Westbrook look like Jordan and Pippen
From Elias: Russell Westbrook scored 37 points while teammate Kevin Durantadded 31 in the Thunder’s 103-100 win at Staples Center. It was the first time two teammates scored at least 30 points in a playoff road win over the Lakers since June 12, 1991, when Scottie Pippen and Michael Jordan scored 32 and 30, respectively as the Bulls wrapped up their first NBA title with a win in Game 5 of the NBA Finals at the Great Western Forum.
Top two scorers, Kobe and Durant, meet in the playoffs
From Elias: Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant faced off in only the fifth playoff series in NBA history matching the players who finished first and second in the league’s scoring race that season. The four previous instances, with the scoring champion listed first:
1951 West Semis George Mikan (Lakers) Alex Groza (Olympians)
1993 East 1st Round Michael Jordan (Bulls) Dominique Wilkins (Hawks)
1995 NBA Finals Shaquille O’Neal (Magic) Hakeem Olajuwon (Rockets)
1997 NBA Finals Michael Jordan (Bulls) Karl Malone (Jazz)
Thunder give Lakers their biggest Game 1 loss since 1998
From Elias: The Thunder defeated the Lakers by 29 points in Game 1 of their playoff series on Monday. That’s the Lakers’ largest margin of defeat in Game 1 of a postseason series since a 35-point loss to the Jazz in Game 1 of their 1998 series. Utah went on to sweep Los Angeles in that series.
Lawson helps Nuggets extend series
From Elias: Ty Lawson scored 32 points and handed out six assists in the Nuggets’ win against the Lakers, his third game with 25 or more points and at least five assists in the series. The only other player since the 2004 playoffs who had three 25/5 (points/assists) games versus the Lakers in one postseason series was Deron Williams in the 2008 Western Conference Semifinals.
Grizzlies win without a made 3-pointer, first time since Lakers in 1997
From Elias: The Grizzlies defeated the Clippers, 92-80, despite missing all six of their three-point field-goal attempts. They were the first NBA team in 15 years to win a playoff game by at least 10 points while not making a field goal from beyond the arc. That had last been done by the Lakers, in a 104-84 victory over the Jazz in the 1997 Western Conference Semifinals.
May 11, 1980 - Game 4 1980 NBA Finals - the Dr. J lay-up:oOne of the NBA’s most memorable moves takes place as Julius Erving of the Philadelphia 76ers starts out on the right side and drives past Los Angeles Lakers forward Mark Landsberger along the baseline. As Erving elevates toward the basket, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar comes over to block a layup attempt. Erving changes course in mid-air and floats behind the backboard to the other side of the basket then wraps his right arm behind Kareem and lays in a reverse layup. “Here I was trying to win a championship and my mouth just dropped open,” recalls Lakers’ guard Magic Johnson, then a rookie. “I thought, ‘What should we do? Should we take the ball out or should we ask him to do it again?’” The Lakers would win the series in six games.
Kobe has 43 - most in playoff loss since 2006 - but Nuggets survive
From Elias: Andre Miller came off the bench to produce 24 points and eight assists and his teammate and fellow substitute, JaVale McGee, had 21 points and 14 rebounds as the Nuggets held off a furious Kobe-led comeback and defeat the Lakers, 102-99, in Los Angeles. It marked the first time in the Nuggets’ NBA playoff history-a history that encompasses 154 games-that two Denver players have come off the bench to contribute 20-or-more points.
The Nuggets defeated the Lakers on Tuesday despite 43 points from Kobe Bryant. That’s the second-most points Bryant has had in a postseason loss; he had 50 points in an overtime loss to the Suns in the first round of the 2006 playoffs.
Sessions hits clutch shot for Lakers, fifth LA player to do so in playoffs in 4 years - Kobe not one of them
From Elias: With the score tied at 86-86, it was Ramon Sessions who gave the Lakers the lead they would never relinquish on a three-point field goal (assisted by Pau Gasol) with 48.1 seconds remaining. Over the last four postseasons (2009-12), the Lakers have made five go-ahead field goals in the final minute of either the fourth quarter or overtime in a playoff game, and none were by Kobe Bryant. Derek Fisher made the Lakers’ only last-minute go-ahead field goal during the 2009 playoffs. Fisher, Gasol and the man then known as Ron Artest each made one in 2010.
Kobe joins Kareem and Wilt as only Laker over 33 to score 38+ points in a playoff game
From Elias: Kobe Bryant, 33 years old, scored 38 points on Tuesday in the Lakers’ win over the Nuggets. The only other Lakers players to score that many points in a playoff game at age 33 or older are Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (three times in the 1980 playoffs, including twice in the NBA Finals) and Wilt Chamberlain (45 in Game 6 the 1970 Finals against the Knicks).
And coupled with Pierce’s 36-point game, it’s the first time that two players age 33 or older have scored 35 points on the same day in the NBA playoffs.