Many people say the NBA playoffs are “games of adjustments.” For the Los Angeles Lakers and the Miami Heat the adjustments have begun. The Lakers were blown out by the Oklahoma City Thunder in game one of their series. Los Angeles has not been able to handle the Thunder’s wide open play in their previous matchup’s in the 2011-2012 season. Thunder guard Russell Westbrook has had this way against Los Angeles this season. Also, Kevin Durant poses a serious match up problem for the Lakers.
Bottom line the Lakers tried all season to upgrade the point guard position and traded for Ramon Sessions from the Cleveland Cavaliers. Sessions was brought in to replace the aging Derrick Fisher. Sessions is an adequate point guard but that is it. He is decent defender and distributor but , is not the outstanding point guard the Lakers need to beat the top flight teams in the NBA. Let’s face it Kobe Bryant is not the defender he once was . Now, he puts most of his energy on the offense side of the ball and can no longer shut down the elite offensive players in the league anymore.
For the Lakers to beat Oklahoma City, Kobe has to trust his teammates and distribute the ball well, especially to Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum. This is an area where the Lakers have an advantage. Also, Metta World Peace has to defend. If James Harden gets off along with Durant and Westbrook the Lakers have zero chance of winning the series. The bench will be a key Oklahoma City has an advantage. They are younger deeper and more athletic. It’s going to be a tough road for the Lakers. I just don’t see how they win this series.
The Miami Heat are faced with a serious problem. With Chris Bosh’s injury the Heat are seriously lacking in the front court. With Bosh down this puts a lot more pressure to score on LeBron James and Dwayne Wade. Heat backup center Joel Anthony is a solid defender and rebounder, but lacks offensive punch. Ronny Turiaf is very similar to Anthony. How the Heat handle rapidly improving Pacer center Roy Hibbert is a big key.
Hibbert is going to get his rebounds and points but the Heat have to keep him off the offensive boards. If the Heat cannot control the offensive boards, then this series is going to last a lot longer than many thought because the Pacers will get a lot of second and sometimes third looks at the basket. LeBron James is really going to have to rebound for the Heat and this will hamper his offensive game. When James does not have to rebound he can float and ignite the Heat fast break. How the Heat handle the Pacers will determine if Miami can win the NBA title. Get the latest odds on NBA playoffs to see who’s really got the best chance of making it to the top.