The Lakers did it once this season. They beat Oklahoma City last month by nine points. But can they do it again? The Lakers face Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and the rest of the Thunder on Tuesday for a fourth time, the finale coming on the road, where they have not fared well this season. They are 10-19 away from Staples Center, a mark that includes a 114-108 loss to the Thunder in December. "We just have to try and not let their crowd really get into the game, which is easier said than done," Steve Blake said. "It's one of the toughest places to play in the NBA. We have to somehow try to keep them off rhythm. It's not going to be easy, but we can do it." Again, that might be easier said than done. The Lakers have lost the past five games they have played at Chesapeake Energy Arena, including three playoff games last season. Coach Mike D'Antoni said the arena has nothing to do with the Lakers' losing streak. "If it were a lesser arena, they (Thunder) would still be good," D'Antoni said after Monday's practice. "I could pick out a couple of teams and put them in that arena and it wouldn't be the same. The arena is what it is because of the players who are there." Despite the Thunder's talented lineup led by Durant and Westbrook, Dwight Howard said he believes the Lakers could continue their run of success, a stretch in which they have won 13 of their past 18 games. "Last time we played them in OKC, we had a good game," Howard said. "As a team, I think we made a big step that game. The first thing we have to do is try to contain Russell from coming down and hitting shots early in the shot clock. Last game, I think he had 26 or something like that in the first quarter or first half. We just have to do a good job containing him.
Lakers' run faces challenge against Thunder
Orange County Register | Mar 5