The Lakers are down 0-2 in their second round playoff series with the Thunder, but they had a definite chance to steal Game 2 in OKC last night. With 5.7 seconds left, and LA down one, they had time for one last play, for… Steve Blake?
Yep. Instead of a Kobe Bryant jumper, they were forced to settle for a Steve Blake corner three that clanged off the back iron. The Lakers lost, 77-75, hence the 0-2 hole. So what the hell happened?
The play looks like it was originally a screen for Bryant. But Kevin Durant came out high to prevent a Kobe three, which forced him to run away from the ball. Metta World Peace, the inbounder, would have had to make a tough, cross-court pass to a flaring Bryant. So, instead, he went to Blake for an open three in the corner (thanks for falling asleep, Russell Westbrook!).
The move was a good one on World Peace’s part. Although Steve Blake is Steve Blake, and Kobe Bryant is Kobe Bryant, Blake has hit a number of clutch threes so far in the playoffs, and Kobe was kind of awful down the stretch last night (no points in the final six minutes, 30 seconds). And even though Kobe looked mad that World Peace didn’t somehow get him the ball — we’d expect nothing less from Kobe —
Artest World Peace made the right play. Had that three ball shifted an inch or two to the left, this series would look vastly different.
Video via CJ Fogler.