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Lakers Roundtable: L.A. Times' Mark Medina and the Oklahoman's Darnell Mayberry break down Lakers-Thunder matchup

April 10, 2011 | 11:52 am

If the Lakers had it their way, the playoffs would begin already.

There'd be no anxieties over homecourt advantage implications, with the Lakers currently in second place in the West with a two-game lead over Dallas, a one-game edge over Oklahoma City and in a tie with the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics. There'd be no more wondering whether their four-game losing streak comes at exactly the wrong time. And there'd be few charges from Coach Phil Jackson questioning the team's professionalism.

But there are still three games to play and the Lakers at least have to be in attendance. The Lakers' game Sunday at Staples Center against Oklahoma City should have plenty of intrigue, however. Besides the standings implications, the Lakers have never matched up with the Thunder since it acquired Kendrick Perkins. The Lakers believe the Thunder gave them enough of a test in the 2010 playoffs. But the veteran, tested and physical presence that Perkins provided for Boston only elevates OKC's play. Plus there's the whole controversy surrounding Perkins' comments about Pau Gasol being soft, so don't expect another Lakers mail-it-in effort. Or at least we think.

There's plenty to discuss regarding this game, and the Oklahoman's Darnell Mayberry shared his time to break it down.

Among the highlights:

--Mayberry says Perkins hasn't spoken about Gasol since making his initial comments to ESPN The Magazine. But Mayberry made it clear Perkins has stood behind his statement.

--Mayberry says the Thunder's two recent victories against Denver should help it when the two teams presumably square off in the first-round.

--Mayberry breaks down a possible Lakers-Thunder playoff series.

--Mayberry believes Kevin Durant will be the team's X factor considering he hasn't shot well at Staples Center against either the Lakers or Clippers.

--You can follow more of Mayberry's work at the Oklahoman's website and on Twitter.

-- Mark Medina

Email the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com


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