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article imageOp-Ed: NBA: Thunder eliminate Lakers, head to Western Conference finals

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By Layne Weiss     May 22, 2012 in Sports
Oklahoma City - Despite an extremely strong effort by Kobe Bryant to keep his team alive, The Oklahoma City Thunder eliminated the Los Angeles Lakers from the NBA playoffs Monday with a 106-90 victory.
Kevin Durant had 25 and Russell Westbrook had 28 for the Thunder, The New York Times reports. James Harden added 17.
According to the AP, Kobe Bryant scored 42 points for the Lakers. Unfortunately for the Lakers, it wasn't enough.
When you have 42 points and your team still can't get the win, there's something missing, and it's time to reevaluate things.
I'm not sure what the Lakers will do now, but I think it's finally time to make moves. According to the LA Times, the Lakers' bench scored only 5 points.
I wouldn't be surprised if Mike Brown was fired. It was also interesting to note that after the game, Andrew Bynum said he didn't care where he played next year.
This is the second season in a row where the Lakers have been eliminated in the second round, the LA Times notes. Last season, it was the Dallas Mavericks who sent the Lakers packing. The Mavericks went onto beat the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals.
One of the major things that has been sticking out in my mind is the fact that the best teams in the NBA have the "Big 3," the 3 best players on the team, usually All-Stars. The reason I believe the Thunder have been so successful is because one of their "Big 3" is James Harden, a player who comes off the bench. The Lakers bench had 5 points. As good as Kobe is, it's nearly impossible to win with that.
After game 4, Kobe Bryant called Pau Gasol out for not being aggressive enough, the AP reports. Coach Mike Brown agreed with Bryant's sentiments.
"Yeah, I do think he needs to be more aggressive," Brown said of Gasol according to The NY Times.
There was something very amateurish and unprofessional about that statement. I wouldn't bring Mike Brown back. That's not based solely on that statement, but it certainly doesn't help his case in my eyes.
Gasol's answer in game 5? 14 points and 16 rebounds. Metta World Peace added 11 points and Andrew Bynum had 10.
One of my favorite moments of the evening came after the game when Metta World Peace and James Harden shook hands. There was a lot of speculation that wouldn't happen. World Peace elbowed Harden back in April, giving him a concussion. World Peace was suspended for 7 games.
According to Complex, World Peace said earlier this month that he wouldn't shake Harden's hand.Things were a bit different then. It was Metta's first game back after suspension and it was game 1 of the Lakers/Thunder series. Still, though, the handshake Monday was a nice thing to see. It showed maturity and class.
The Thunder will go onto play the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference finals. I'm pretty excited for this series as I honestly have no idea who will win. The series would honestly go to 20 if the NBA allowed it. It will be good, competitive basketball. What more could an NBA fan want?
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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More about Los angeles lakers, Oklahoma city thunder, Nba playoffs, San antonio spurs, nba western conference finals
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