The Los Angeles Lakers are now out of the 2012 NBA Playoffs.
Like what happened last season, the Lakers have been eliminated from contention in the Western Conference semi-finals. But in stark contrast the Dallas Mavericks' verteran savvy in 2011, it was the youth and energy of the Oklahoma City Thunder that the Lakers in.
Kobe Bryant did his best "back-against-the-wall" scoring performances with 42 points in Game 5, but it was clearly wasn't enough. Pau Gasol was more aggressive and scrapped inside the paint to get boards, but that also wasn't enough.
Not enough for sure-- definitely not against this version of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Lakers needed to execute for 48 minutes to have a chance in this series, not 45 or 46. There were breaks that would have swung the series completely in the Lakers favor, but faulty late-game execution led to its early exit in the playoffs.
I'm sure there will be plenty of soul-searching happening in the off-season for the Lakers and fans all over are looking for something to optimistic about, but right now for, it's easy to look at what just happened: another fruitless Lakers season.
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