Originally posted on Larry Brown Sports  |  Last updated 5/22/12

Like many other teams before them, the Lakers had a serious problem with Oklahoma City’s athleticism and speed. It’s nearly impossible to shut down both Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook while dealing with the Thunder’s depth, and no one will be surprised if they are hoisting the Larry O’Brien trophy in a couple of weeks. Following their Game 2 meltdown, the Lakers were never really in the series. Despite his 42 points in Game 5, there are many who believe Kobe Bryant’s poor shot selection played a big factor in the Lakers’ demise. Mavericks forward Brian Cardinal would seem to be one of those people.

10 assists away from a double/double…

— Brian Cardinal (@BrianCardinal) May 22, 2012

Kobe was 18-for-31 shooting on Monday night and did not record a single assist. When Cardinal’s Twitter followers began attacking him by tweeting things at him like, “You have more fouls than points per game,” the Dallas role player wrote the following:

Just catching up on my timeline… Didn’t realize everyone was so sensitive about Bynum’s assists…

— Brian Cardinal (@BrianCardinal) May 22, 2012

Nice try. Bynum didn’t have an assist either, but he had 16 rebounds and 14 points. If my calculations are correct, that gives him a double-double. Not to mention, nobody expects Bynum to set his teammates up with scoring opportunities. The same can’t be said for Kobe.

At the end of the day, the Lakers lost the series in five games and lost the clincher by 16. They were outmatched, and a few more assists from Bryant wouldn’t necessarily have carried them to victory. That being said, the fact that he didn’t have a single assist in Game 5 and averaged less than four assists per game throughout the series says a lot. There are times when Kobe needs to get his teammates more involved, but he’s not going to change after 15 seasons as one of the best players in the league. His inability to share the wealth is one of many things that cost the Lakers this postseason.

Thanks to LBS reader Noland Howard for the tip
Photo credit: Mark D. Smith-US PRESSWIRE

This article first appeared on Larry Brown Sports and was syndicated with permission.

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