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Lakers get ready for Oklahoma City's loud crowd

April 22, 2010 | 12:18 pm

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Lakers have braced themselves for a deafening crowd inside Ford Center that will be ferocious in its support for the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday night in Game 3 of the Western Conference playoffs.

It has been that way all season, as 18,004 fans stand and cheer the Thunder with all they have.

With this being the Thunder's first playoff game in their two seasons in Oklahoma City, the crowd is expected to push this young team to new heights.

The Lakers lead the best-of-seven series 2-0, but they know the crowd can be a factor, especially for the Thunder.

"I don't know if they can yell any louder," Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said after the team's shoot-around Thursday afternoon. "I mean, once the benediction is over, the amens get too loud in this building."

Jackson said the crowd probably "will inspire" the Thunder.

The Thunder was 27-14 at home during the regular season.

The Thunder defeated the Lakers the last time the two teams played here, building a 33-point lead before winning by 16 points.

"We expect it to be loud," Derek Fisher said. "If we allow it to be, it will be a factor. So we'll have to make sure that we remain composed and make sure we're poised and really playing a solid game."

The Lakers will look to play their game.

They will look to go inside to seven-footers Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol.

But the Lakers are also aware that the Thunder has been trying to take that away by keeping defenders down low and by blocking shots.

The Thunder blocked 17 shots in Game 2, a Lakers' playoff opponent record.

"Maybe we're not going to have direct post-ups," Jackson said. "They are going to throw the kitchen sink at us to keep us from going inside. We have to take the shots and understand that.

"But this is a young team that really has the athleticism to intimidate people from coming in there. So we have to measure that and understand what's a good shot."

-- Broderick Turner

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