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Lakers Roundtable: Mark Medina and The Oklahoman's Darnell Mayberry preview the Lakers-Thunder series

There's still two days remaining before the Lakers and Oklahoma City begin their first-round matchup, meaning there will be plenty of time these next few days to dissect each team's roster, the teams' season history and all the developing storylines. The Oklahoman's Darnell Mayberry joined me in the latest edition of Lakers Roundtable and provided everything you need to get acquainted with the Thunder (50-32).

Among the highlights:

--The back-and-forth exchange between Lakers Coach Phil Jackson and Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant. Jackson argued Durant benefits from officiating calls, while Durant counters his league-leading 840 trips to the free-throw line highlights his ability to draw contact.

--What stands out between the season series involving the Lakers and Thunder. The Lakers won three of the four games, but lost 91-75 on March 26 in their most recent matchup to Oklahoma City.

--What Oklahoma City guard Thabo Sefolosha can do to limit Kobe Bryant's effectiveness.

--Whether the Lakers' championship resume will be too much for the Thunder's playoff inexperience.

--Mayberry predicts the Lakers will win in six. I predicted the Lakers will take it in five, though I expect many close games throughout the series.

--You can follow more of Mayberry's work at The Oklahoman website as well as on his Twitter account.

--Mark Medina

Follow the L.A. Times Lakers blog on Twitter. E-mail the Lakers blog at

Photo Credit: Stephen Dunn, Getty Images.

Comments () | Archives (17)

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Your missed some questions ....

-What Oklahoma City guard Thabo Sefolosha can do to limit Kobe Bryant's effectiveness.


--Whether the Lakers' championship resume will be too much for the Thunder's playoff inexperience.


Todd- Darnell addresses that issue too when I asked him about Oklahoma City's inexperience. Take a listen to it.


What to look for ...

Can Lakers jump on Thunder in first quarter and establish a lead that extends to half time and then win the game?

Game 1:

If Lakers lead, but can't establish point separation that is bad

If Lakers fall behind and have to play catch up in second half that is worse.

Don't want to give Thunder any confidence.

First quarter is important throughout the series.

This could be a very tough series.
It all depends on how the LAKERS play.

With all the injuries this years the Lakers had precious few chances to put the whole team, healthy, on the floor and see what they can do. Nobody really knows what to expect from this bunch . The keys are mostly medical:

1) Is Kobe healthy enough - finger, knees, ankles - to do his thing?
2) Is Artest healthy and mobile enough to slow down the guys he has to slow down - starting with Durant?

If those guys can come out and do their thing, this team is built for the playoffs. When the game slows down, the Lakers' size and experience will take over.

The real season starts Sunday at noon. I have worries about their health, but I still expect a deep playoff run.

MM… First, thanks for the Reader Comment of the Day selection. Second, I think you are doing a fine job keeping the blog hot with new news. I also think the lack of comments on the recent threads is more the result of everybody just waiting for Sunday to come than being bothered by the abundance and variety of posts.
While many readers treat the blog as their portal to everything Lakers, we bloggers within the blog have just as strong an interest in carrying on dialogs and developing ongoing relationships with other fellow bloggers. Most of us treat the blog like a great book, marking the spot where we leave off so we can log back in at that spot when we return. Personally, I don’t have any problems continuing discussions over multiple threads.
It’s playoff time and I am looking forward to enjoying the Laker drive to repeat. Keep up the good work.

Laker Tom - Thanks for the feedback. I really appreciate that you're enjoying the blog. I want to treat the blog as a buffet, allowing readers to pick and choose what they want to read. I never want to short circuit the process where I don't have anything informative or interesting in the post, but I also want to give a wide variety of items to choose from throughout the day.


If the Lakers play like they've been playing the last nine games they'll be lucky to get out of the first round.

Todd/Tony B,

I don't think this is going to be an easy playoffs, but that's okay. Repeating isn't supposed to be easy.

I just want to return your attention to last year's Houston series. Remember that?

Remember everyone freaking out when we lost Game Six? Remember the perceived lack of effort and cohesion?

And then everything came together on Game Seven and we didn't look back.

This team has pulled itself together in the past and this team can pull itself together in this playoffs and I'm confident THEY WILL.

We shouldn't let our fears get the best of it. The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.



Checked out the Darnell audio.

Notable Darnell thought Thunder would give Lakers problems even though they record closed with a 2-4 record.

Good stuff ...

Will Kobe's health allow him to outplay Westbrook?

We will see...

Marky Mark,

"I want to treat the blog as a buffet"

Are we talking a Bellagio Las Vegas buffet or an Iowa truck stop buffet?

I think a discussion of these things is crucially important to ALL our well-being.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.


Jon K - I'm talking about Las Vegas buffet. You always come back for more, knowing you want to keep a full stomach in case you lose all your life savings.


Bill Simmons is a talented writer and his "The Book of Basketball" was the fastest 700 pages I ever read in an afternoon. It was brilliant and I devoured it.

However, he makes no bones about the fact that he hates the Lakers down to the core of his marrow and that hatred corrupts every thing he writes about the Lakers.

On the subject of the Lakers, the guy cannot be trusted and even he knows it.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.


In the words of the great Bill Simmons:
Our latest example: the 2009-10 Los Angeles Lakers. Just a classic year-after season, highlighted by Kobe grimly refusing to give up shots because he can smell the faint fumes of Karl Malone's scoring record; Gasol griping about Kobe's shot selection; Odom cruising through the season with "I just got paid and I just got married" intensity; Bynum griping about his minutes; Ron Artest launching a reality show; Farmar pressing because he's in a contract year; and the utterly amazing fact that DJ Mbenga has a publicist. You win a title, you get soft and everyone wants more: more shots, more money, more minutes, more everything. That's why Pat Riley called it the "Disease of More." That's why Bill Russell once wrote, "it's much harder to keep a championship than to win one."

Look, I know it's confusing as hell that a team as loaded as the Lakers might not make the Finals. Just know that we have decades of NBA evidence to back this up: You can't win without chemistry.

Posted by: Eric Wright | April 16, 2010 at 12:32 PM


Is this the same Eric Wright?
Well now, thats more like it.
If you want to be critical of the Lakers in a sensible way and omit the personal attacks I don't think anyone has a problem with that.
Well, at least I don't have a problem with that.

And I mostly agree with the comment about chemistry. Just not sure what level of that the Lakers have this year. They could really come together in the playoffs. WIll be interesting to monitor that.

Hey guys we got a new post up. I'm at practice now so it may be a bit before another post comes up. But we'll have a practice post and some other items later on today.

In the meantime, enjoy


A wafer thin mint for all the trolls out there...

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.


Mark, nice interview!


m-photo: Thanks for the feedback man. Darnell provided some good insight.




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