The Los Angeles Lakers lost game four of their semifinal NBA series to the Oklahoma City Thunder 103-100 and are now down 3 games to 1. Turnovers and questionable shots led to the Lakers blowing a fourth quarter lead for the second time in their last three games. Pau Gasol made a huge turnover late in the game trying to get the ball to teammate Metta World Peace.
He was not the only Laker, who made turnovers late in the game, but his turnover will be picked apart as one of the most important and costly, as Kevin Durant made a three-point shot off Gasol’s turnover that would be the deciding basket in the Lakers’ loss.
Bryant put the blame squarely on Gasol’s shoulders by saying his teammate made a bad read. World Peace says the blame should be his and not Gasol. Who is right and who is wrong will cause the Lakers bigger problems in game five unless they move on.
Bryant led the Lakers with 38 points but was only 2 for 8 down the stretch when the game was one the line and was just two for 10 over the entire fourth quarter. Instead of taking some of the heat of his teammate, he took all the heat off himself.
Gasol was strong enough to accept the blame for his turnover, but was quick to say the game was not decided by just one turnover late in the game. Mike Brown, the Lakers coach, said before the game that Gasol needed to be more aggressive. Gasol on the other hand said he has been told all year to play a facilitating role and that the lack of passing on offense was leading to a stagnant offense.