Preview & Chat: The Denver Nuggets

Kurt —  April 3, 2007

Godspeed Cory Karl. The Nuggets will be without George Karl tonight as he is with his son, who is having throat cancer surgery. My best wishes to the Karl family. I had a whole post planned on this new site, which computer problems at home have cost me (for now at least). While I’m researching new laptops, you should check out the site that is sort of Digg for the sports world, bringing together sports blog stories in an interactive way. It’s done by the people at one of my daily reads,, so there is quality there.

And, there is already a Forum Blue & Gold group you can join.

Love him. Hate him. It’s a few days old, but if you missed it Nate Jones does a great post on how Kobe has become thee most polarizing figure in sports. Even here in LA there are a lot of people who can’t stand him.

I’m tired of Florida winning NCAA titles. It seems they win everything lattely. Well, I guess the Frozen Four is safe.

Remember Linas Kleiza? Laker fans should, when the Lakers and Nuggets played last month this guy dropped 26 points on them on 10 of 13 shooting, 5 of 6 from downtown. It’s not just against the Lakers, he seems to be the guy benefiting from the Carmello/AI pairing — in his last 10 games he is averaging 13 points and is shooting 46% from three.

It wasn’t just Kleiza. That last meeting of these two was one of the worst Laker defensive performances of the season. And that’s saying something. The nuggets shot more than 60% (eFG%) for the game last time and 69% in the decisive third quarter.

Making up for the defense. The Laker offense looked good in the first quarter in that last meeting, it was the first game that both Luke and Lamar were back and for a little while the triangle looked sharp. Then it all fell apart. Kobe had a team high 25 shooting 47.4%, which is below his average. The problem was the rest of the team shot 39% for the game.

Key for the Lakers. Move the ball. The Nuggets are just 6 and 19 this season against the 10 teams in the NBA that average thee most assists per game. If the Lakers share the ball and move without it, like they did against Sacramento. they will get good looks and easy buckets.

However, go back to what Gatinho brilliantly called the “constant Kobe heat check” offense and you play into the Nuggets hands.

Then there is the defense — it was horrible in the last meeting between these two, but has been better the last couple games. The Lakers need to come out focused on the defensive end. For 48 minutes this time around.

The Lakers are the sixth seed right now, playing the seventh seed tonight and the eighth seed tomorrow. Good chances to continue building toward the playoffs — but two chances for this up and down team to take a step back again. I really have no idea which Laker team will show up anymore, so I choose to be optomistic.