Game Live Blog

Kurt —  April 20, 2008

Well, I guess it wasn’t technically live, unless you were at nomuskles house. He put together one of his popular live blogs of game one, so here it is in its entirety. Enjoy it and enjoy the win, even if it was not perfect or pretty. Playoff wins against quality opponents should not be taken lightly. We’ll start breaking this thing down in earnest tomorrow. For now, I’m going to have another adult malted beverage and savor the win.

Pregame thoughts
I have decided that the Lakers will lose in a bit of reverse psychology. Hopefully they will listen to my doubts and prove me wrong. However, by admitting that I am doing this, I might be undoing the reverse psychology, thus rendering it reverse reverse psychology. We’ll see what happens. I’m really excited for this game. I didn’t sleep well last night I was so excited! I think the Lakers will have a difficult time containing the Answer on penetration but their help defense will be solid. The question is, will JR Smith and Kleiza come off the bench to hit the open jumpers? Pau and Lamar have to remember to guard Camby’s 18-20 foot jumper, he can hit it. Today, it’s just me and the HDTV.

1st Quarter:
Got word from my friend in New York that the ABC affiliate there is showing the Pope instead of the game. What’s up with that? They can’t borrow a few hours of time from CSPAN?
Wilbon predicts 4-2 Lakers in the series with a Denver win today. He disagrees with Kurt and says the Nuggs don’t play defense.
I have no idea who that was doing the theme song for ABC, but that was lame. They should’ve gotten Foo Fighters. The Pretender would have been perfect. Today we’ve got Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy, and Mark Jackson. Denver will wear their primary road unis—the powder blue ones. Lakers will be in their Sunday whites.
We get an update that the bus carrying some of the Nuggs caught fire on the way to Staples Center. The players dodged cars on the freeway to run away from the exploding bus. Apparently Phil Jackson drove past the bus on his way to the arena. What kind of omen is this? Shades of food poisoning in Sacramento?
11:45 – The Nuggets also do the whole “The bench players don’t sit down until they get their first score” thing, as do the Lakers.
11:34 – Nuggets first possessions end up with some sloppy play and a missed shot.
11:31 – Kobe jacks up a quick three. Brick city. Lamar hustles for the rebound. Kobe gets it back, drives into the lane and in his indecisiveness, he just flicks it up off the backboard. Lame! The Space Cadet seals his man well and Pau gives him a pass post to post across the key where VladMan can lay it in.
10:49 – Melo gets the nuggs on the board with a jumper.
10:34 – Fisher gets an inside out pass and hits the three. Lakers up 5-2.
10:15 – Kobe drives baseline past Kenyon martin who has no help and Kobe gets an easy reverse layup. The Nuggs throw it out of bounds in quick transition. Lakers up 7-4
9:52 – The ABC guys are making a great point. Kenyon Martin is guarding Kobe, which means Allen Iverson is guarding Radmanovich. Both of those are bigtime mismatches but just as we’re mentioning that, Radman gets called for a foul trying to get position on the block. AI earns a golden globe for his flop there. The Space Cadet earns a seat on the bench with his second foul. With Vlad’s limited post ability, I don’t know if the mismatch there will hurt the Nuggs too much. (It will hurt them when Vlad becomes a slasher and gets the feed from Pau or Kobe).
9:29 – On the next possessions this happens exactly. Luke cuts to the bucket and gets a great look at a layup. Camby erases the effort though with a nice block. This play will work all day if Dad of Coby keeps AI on our SF.
8:58 – They go to Luke in the post again and he converts. Mismatch like whoa.
8:45 – Kobe blocked the Answer’s jumper and runs out the fast break but camby gets another block. Ball to the Lakers. Ugh. Offensive foul on Mamba. Lakers still up 9-6.
8:25 – Shoutout to Anthony Carter, the pride of Hawaii basketball.
8:05 – Lakers doing a great job cleaning up the glass on the defensive end.
8:00 – Lakers exploit the mismatches to perfection on this possession. Kobe lobs it into Luke. If Luke had more boosties, it’d be a dunk in this case, not so much. A couple Nuggets come to help. He kicks it out to Odom on the three point line who has a defender run him off the corner three. Lamar zips it to Pau who trailed the play into the middle of the lane and gets the easy dunk. In the confusion and scramble created by the mismatch, Camby got a little lost and guarded no one, allowing Pau to find some space in the lane.
7:45 – the triangle offense is apparently predicated on ball movement and player movement (according to Breen) or, when that doesn’t work, give it to kobe and get out of the way (according to JVG).
7:35 – AI hits two free throws. Nuggs down 7-11. His hair is nicely done for the start of the playoffs.
7:20 – Pau saves the ball from going out of bounds and lamar makes a great effort to take the ball away from melo, and before he fell out of bounds, he threw it off Melo. Lamar is pretty good at making that play. If I were melo, I might think about wearing a cup when Lamar is in the game though. That was pretty close to tagging his boys. Lakers forget about the 24 second clock and Kobe doesn’t get a shot off.
6:44 – AI hits the step back over Fisher. Kobe’s got a foul so he and fisher have switched assignments. That was perdy.
6:31 – Lamar had to change direction exactly zero times to dribble from the top of the key to the basket. This resulted, unsurprisingly in a left handed slam. If this were Car and Driver Magazine, Lamar just completed the 0-60-0 test…but was not subjected to the slalom course. Note to Nuggets: This brand of defense is why everyone thinks you soft. Way to not prove them wrong. 13 – 6 Lakers.
5:53 – whoops! Where’d it go. Nuggets pay too much attention to Kobe out top who finds Luke drifting towards the baseline. He bounce passes it to Pau who gives a little ball fake to Kleiza on his back. Kleiza stands more still than a statue. Pau hits the turnaround jump hook. Timeout Coloradoans.
George Karl and men, much much smaller than he are pushing into each other before the game in the locker room. Good to know that being old doesn’t preclude horsing around.
5:20 – Lamar waltzes to the basket and gets the layup over Camby. At least the Nuggets made him change directions once this time.
4:39 – the Lakers are not getting to the rebounds with the same tenacity as they did before.
4:16 – “Walton, nobody on him.” I’ll take the over on how many times Mike Breen says, “nobody on him” tonight. 21 – 11 Lakers.
3:22 – AI takes Fisher off the dribble. He gets a step and Lamar drifts off his man to provide support in the lane. AI has seen that before (every night) and finds Camby underneath the bucket for the easy dunk.
3:12 – Odom was by himself. Missed the shot. Luke hustles to get the long rebound. Pau ends up by himself earning a dunk. Kobe’s penetration caused that one.
2:46 – Lamar wishes his lengthy arms were about two inches longer as he mistimes his jump and bats an easy rebound out of bounds.
2:28 – Melo goes to the line. I think chants of D-U-I break out. Classy. JVG criticizes the fans for chanting that. I agree, but it’s not like Melo forgot to pick up after his dog that pooped on a neighbor’s lawn. He was driving totally hammered. That’s how you kill someone. Instead, they applaud his willingness to admit his mistake.
1:35 – “gasol is open.” He just misses the jumper. I’m going to go ahead and Ctrl+C that phrase right now.
0:53 – “Farmar left open.” Finally converts his first three ball. 26-16.
0:40 – Lakers don’t get back in transition. Kleiza gets the over the top pass down the court. Mamba pwnage! He blocks Kleiza from behind. AI picks up the miss and gets the putback to fall. Kleiza directs some displeasure at the official for not calling a foul. JR Smith is waiting to check into the game. 26-20 Lakers up.
0:03 – Lakers decide that the quarter ends when they stop playing, instead of them stopping to play when the quarter ends. Melo gets a fastbreak layup. Nuggs within four. Kobe just got beat down the court by Kleiza and he gets upset with Luke for not sticking with Melo. Uhh…. Pot, kettle, black?
2nd Quarter
Coby and George Karl are shown on the split screen. The cancer stories are trotted out for everyone.
11:40 – Nuggs are within 1. 25-26.
11:20 – The Space Cadet steps out of bounds on the baseline.
10:53 – JVG says the Lakers only have one baseline out of bounds play. Well that one play just netted Sasha a great shot which he drills. JR Smith fell asleep during the film session this week.
10:06 – Lakers offense is sputtering a little without Kobe and Pau.
9:51 – Kmart just takes it away from Turiaf.
9:43 – JR Smith misses a free throw. Somewhere, Stu Lantz is making the point that JR needs to not fall away on his free throws. Nuggs within 2 – 28-30. Kobe is 1 out of 8 on FG right now.
9:10 – Nuggs take their first lead with a Kleiza three. 31-30.
8:47 – Kleiza hits another. Lakers call timeout. 9-0 run for the power blues. 34-30 nuggets.
JR Smith shaves his legs. The camera is giving me an ankle eye view of the Nugget huddle and you can see his silky smooth skin.
8:18 – Kleiza puts his name in the hat for 6th man of the year.
7:55 – Sasha finally breaks the drought. Hits a three.
7:43 – Kleiza takes it to the bucket and finishes with the teardrop. 38-33 Nuggets.
7:16 – Lakers are lazy on defense (Kobe I’m looking at you.) he slaps JR Smith on the way to the basket after JR beat Luke off the dribble and lets him convert the runner. That is unhelpful defense.
7:01 – Smith applies for the unfilled position of Pau Gasol’s human backpack while and then does the “who me?” pose afterwards. Gasol hits two. 41-35 Nuggs lead.
6:40 – the Lakers are suffering malaise. Give up an offensive rebound.
6:02 – Fisher does the unselfish thing. He passes up the open three, surveys the land like Lewis and Clark, and then feeds Pau in the post being guarded by Melo. Mr. Lala is no match for the Spaniard. Two points. Nuggets come right back and in about four seconds Kmart gets himself two points. Lakers have decided that not playing defense is more fun than working hard to control their own end. It’s a good thing they practiced the past few days concentrating on coming out with intensity on defense. Whoops. 45-37 Nuggets.
5:30 – Luke hits the three after good ball movement. I’m not surprised they got a good luck. Melo was spying near the paint to prevent a Kobe drive to the bucket. That left the Lakers with a lot of space on the perimeter.
4:47 – Luke hits a short jumper. 43-47.
4:18 – Finally, Kobe hits the 18 footer from the side. Melo with a nice shot of his own.
3:50 – great look by Fisher to hit Odom cutting behind the defense. Dunkalicious. 47-49.
3:10 – Camby tries out his Allen Iverson impersonation. Drives to his right trying to get past Gasol. The Spaniard moves well enough to prevent the drive from going anywhere dangerous. Camby throws the ball up anyway and it doesn’t hit the rim. There is something surreal about watching two lanky men as one of them drives to the bucket and the other tries to move laterally to stop him. A blur they were not. A pair of baby giraffes is more like it.
3:07 – Lamar does his make one miss one thing at the line. I think he needs to drop his back foot more back. He doesn’t seem to have it behind him enough.
2:51 – AI draws contact from Kobe and that’s Kobe’s third. He’ll probably sit the rest of the half. Maybe he’ll “use this time to think about what he’s done,” as my second grade teacher might have said. In this case, he’s done very little on the defensive end. Scratch that. Kobe stays in. Iverson has had a little difficulty at the line tonight.
2:34 – Pretty pass from Gasol to Luke for the layup. 50-50.
2:02 – Gasol = Dr. J. You don’t believe me? Watch him glide through the lane with his 0.4 second hang time and alter his shot to get the layup around the defender. 54-50.
0:43 – Fisher to Kobe to Lamar to Pau. Dunk. Those three passes happened in about the span of 1 second. Let’s have more of that. Like I said before, Gasol does a great job of cutting with hands up so that he’s almost always ready for the quick passes.
0:22 – Lamar is hungry for rebounds! He gets the rebound off the Sasha miss. And earns himself a layup. Woot!
Last possession for the Nuggets – Sasha hounds AI at halfcourt while Iverson waits for the clock to run down. AI mishandles the ball and it goes into the back court. Was that a violation? Ref says play on. AI gets it back, gets some penetration with the clock winding down. He finds Najera and Sasha runs over and just mauls najera as he’s shooting a three. No foul called. That’s how the half will end. Nice job by the Lakers to get back in the game after that lapse.
Kobe is 2 for 10 but he’s been setting his teammates up splendidly.
Halftime
Good feature on the Boston Three Party. Melo is mic’d. And we don’t learn anything about him.
Michelle Tafoya spoke with George Karl. Denver wants to attack the basket. He’s apparently in awe of the Lakers’ passing. JVG says Karl should think about taking Carter out of the game and putting in Kleiza or JR Smith to create more natural matchups. Father of Coby says, “uhh…why didn’t I think of that?”
11:45 – Gasol starts it off with two free throws. 56-60. Lakers.
11:33 – Kmart doesn’t get the alleyoop to go.
11:14 – Odom does a great job after forgetting to box out. Melo tries to bulldoze LO and gets called for the charge.
10:50 – Kobe misses the three and for some reason he doesn’t get back in transition. Lamar is all alone and Melo converts the lay in. charge that one to Kobe misreading what was happening and not using his NOS tank to get back.
10:38 – Gasol gets a great follow dunk. And a tough rebound on the other end. Lakers up 62-58.
10:04 – LO is tenacious. Misses a layup against Camby but he gets the rebound.
9:50 – Kobe intercepts a pass and streaks downcourt by himself. Carter grabs him to prevent the layup. Nothing vicious. But then something happens and Carter gives Kobe a little shove. Not sure what happened there. Kobe apparently tagged Carter in the eye on accident and he took out his frustration on Kobe by giving him a small nudge. Carter is telling bald Joey Carter that this is not the first time he’s been hit in the face.
9:14 – Camby’s Chinese tattoos always create a little bit of dissonance for me. Why do they have to be so big?
9:03 – Camby slaps the crap out of Pau’s arms. And then he complains that he’s called for a foul. JVG says the Nuggs are -14 when Iverson and Carter are on the floor together. Plus/Minus might be misleading, but I think that’s real talk.
8:25 – The Space Cadet finds Pau under the basket. Delayed pick and roll. Pau is, all together now, “all alone.”
7:56 – Kobe catch and shoot on the out of bounds play. 73-60 Lakers up. Can the Lakers hang on to this big lead? I say, let’s not bet your house on it just yet.
7:42 – Don’t draw too many conclusions from this, but I would not surprised if I heard that Kenyon Martin hangs out with Mike Tyson. He just seems that volatile to me. I think it’s his build and the tattoos.
7:19 – Kobe does his usual mental lapse. Fouls Melo shooting a jump shot. The replay is inconclusive as to whether he actually touched Melo’s elbow or not.
6:58 – Lakers get careless and Denver takes it away which leads to a Denver fast break. Kleiza slam.
6:45 – Kobe fouled and hits a tough fade away over Martin. And one. 76-64 Lakers. Let’s see if that sparks the Mamba’s offense.
6:26 – LO is victim to one of those automatic foul calls. He and Kleiza go up for the rebound but Kleiza gets a better hold of it and bring it down. LO’s arms get wrapped around Kleiza in a sweet embrace and Joe Crawford calls the foul. Denver isn’t able to convert on the inbounds.
5:34 – Lakers are doing a terrible job boxing out. Nuggets are doing a good job pushing the Lakers out of rebounding position and are being rewarded with no-calls and offensive rebounds. Kmart earns a trip to the line.
5:18 – Kobe drills it. He’s shaking his head “no.” If I’m Denver, I don’t mind this. Kobe by himself can’t beat Denver.
5:11 – AI is 6/12 from the charity stripe. Lakers still up 78-67.
4:55 – Stomach punch by the Lakers. Pau one on one with Camby in the post. His hook shot gets blocked away but it’s right to the Space Cadet. His shot is wet. 81-67.
4:26 – Kobe is talking a lot to Farmar during the free throw. They are apparently discussing how to defend AI. I think “say lots of prayers” was mentioned. AI promptly hits a jumper coming off a screen. JVG says Kobe is probably tell him to get the switch with Sasha so AI can be Sasha’s problem. Funny man that JVG. The Lakers offense is stagnant and we’re not seeing the cutters like we did before.
3:40 – This lineup for the Nuggs is doing well. Najera, Smith, Camby, AI, and Kleiza.
3:16 – Pau gets thirty points on a great feed into the lane. 85-73 Lakes.
2:47 – Pau trails the play and gets his no jump dunk on. He’s got so little lift, my 62 year old father starts laughing. I kid you not. Timeout Nuggets. Lakers up fourteen.
Kobe is still talking to Sasha and Farmar about the defense. I’m glad we’re making defense a little bit of a priority here. Let’s not forget there is a TON of time left here. The ABC guys have popcorn on their desk/table. I’m not sure how they eat without us hearing.
2:28 – Lakers tough defense leads to a Denver turnover. Lamar runs a slow break and no one stops him. So he does his swoop left hander and gets knocked to the floor. No foul though. In fairness, Camby did make him take bigger steps on his way to the hoop. The announcers can’t get enough of Lamar. They think he’s the best thing since Velcro.
1:09 – Linus Kleiza is playing a great game. But man, his free throw just there was super ugly. Frozen rope off the back iron.
0:56 – RadMan finds too many nuggets around him and drops it off to Pau for the slam. JVG with the comment of the day, “it’s like room service for Gasol, the ball is finding him.”
0:29 – The Space Cadet his a three ball from the corner. Mike Breen says they are blowing out the Nuggets now. I’m still not betting the house that the Lakers will remain strong. 94-75 Lakers.
0:00 – Farmar decides he doesn’t want a 10 trillion and makes the wide open three with time expiring. 97-78 Lakers with one more quarter to go.
4th Quarter
Phil does his little smirky thing with Michelle Tafoya saying Kleiza and Smith are having too much fun. On the other hand though, it’s my impression that the Lakers haven’t done a bad job limiting Melo and Camby.
11:24 – JR Smith tries to demolish Walton on a fast break layup and Smith gets owned by the floor. Flagrant 1 against Smith. Two foul shots and the ball out of bounds.
11:11 – Nuggets on the break and Walton almost gets a clean strip from Kleiza. I said almost. It was actually all wrist/arm. Apparently we can’t mention Kleiza without mentioning Lithuania fourteen times. At least we got a Sarunas Marciulionis mention out of it. I liked that guy back in the day. Remember the tie-dye jerseys?
10:05 – Smith is quick. He almost destroys Kobe’s ankles. The Lakers orthopedic surgeon breathes a sigh of relief when Kobe remains upright. Barely. Kobe was backpedaling and was all sorts of discombobulated.
9:58 – After two Melo free throws, the lead is only 13.
9:13 – I bow down at AI’s feet.
8:31 – 101-88.
8:17 – melo abuses Pau’s layup attempt. Smith takes it hard to the bucket at the other and gets the bucket and the foul. 101-91.
7:57 – Kobe hits a three ball. Back to 13.
7:33 – I’m letting AI operate on his own all day long. Even though he’s hitting a lot of shots, the Nuggets shouldn’t be able to win that way.
7:15 – Kobe slices through the defense. Layup. 106 – 93.
7:03 – Kobe picks up his fifth foul. Lamar will come in and take his place.
6:45 – Machine!! Vujacic hits a three.
6:20 – Lamar is hurting. Something is wrong with his right knee. He’ll probably keep playing but he’s a little gimpy. Timeout. He just bumped knees with Kleiza apparently.
5:57 – LO at the line. He makes the first one. Just kidding. Of course he missed it. He misses the second one too. 109-95
5:42 – Melo is active on offense. He misses the first layup against Pau. Gets his miss. Shoots again and is fouled by Pau. Crowd chants DUI again. 109-96. Kobe checks back in.
4:55 – Kmart has had enough of LO driving to the basket and blocks it out of bounds. Kobe dribbles against Kmart and throws up a huge brick that doesn’t draw iron.
4:30 – JR Smith is a perfect angel. He never fouls. At least that’s what he thinks. Kobe is standing at the line and he and Kmart are talkin a little junk. Refs give the double T. 98-112 after the free throws.
3:50 – the past two possessions, AI has just made it the basket super easy. AI is wondering how come he can’t play against the Lakers every night.
3:27 – AI draws contact and still makes it. Fouled. The Space Cadet didn’t play good D there. He’s either got to commit the foul or let him go. 114-105 After the free throw. Is there a reason we haven’t seen Nene? Is he injured still?
2:37 – Kobe was anxious the whole possession. Alley oop to Kobe. It wasn’t the usual backdoor. It was just a blatant mismatch against Carter who had no help behind him and ended up fronting Kobe. Pau got him with the lob over the top. AI decides he wants to check-out what’s on the post-game menu a little early and gets tossed from the game with two quick technicals. Or maybe he had a 3:00pm surfing lesson. Kobe gets to shoot four free throws in a row. Pad his stats time. Despite shooting a horridly, he still got 32 points. 122-107. This one is done and now everyone knows it.
0:41 – After a great Lamar Odom alleyoop from Walton, Najera lines up the straight on three. You could see him thinking, “If all these other guys are going to be knuckleheads, I’m going to get mine.” And he drills it.
0:00 – Jack Nicholson tells his son to grab his swag bag and they leave the court.
Kobe is being interviewed by Michelle Tafoya and he says that his shots in the first three quarter were “just a little off.” If you didn’t watch the game on television, let me tell you, his shot was a little off in the same way that dating someone you think is a woman but turns out to be a man is just a little problem.
LA Lakers 1, Enver Nuggets 0. (hat tip, basketbawful)

Kurt

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22 responses to Game Live Blog

  1. It was a win, but disappointed with Kobe’s effort. He just didn’t have it today, and yet kept trying to force the issue. Love Kobe, but his stubbornness is his downfall sometimes.

    Otherwise, thought it was a solid win. Outside of the letdown in the second quarter, the ball movement was good. The defense needed work, and I’d be a lot happier if Radmanovich would find a place on the bench in the 4th (an active Vujacic is worth way more than Rad-man’s scattered play down the stretch), but the Lakers got over the first big hump.

    If I’m George Karl, I play Klieza and JR Smith a lot more in lieu of Martin and Carter. That lineup of Camby-Klieza-Melo-Smith-AI is a lot scarier offensively, and it’s not like they are going to play a ton of defense anyway. But that’s why Karl makes the big bucks, and we’re just fans.

  2. nomuskles thanks once again for the great stuff.

    I think if I were George Karl, I’d let K-Mart guard Bryant as long as he can because Kobe cannot get past Martin and thus is effectively reduced to a momentum-killing jumpshooter. Yes, you will face problems with AI or Carter guarding bigger men, but this strategy will pay off huge for the Nuggets.

  3. 2 –

    I don’t know if I totally agree with that. Kobe had a fair number of pretty open looks in the first half. His jumper was just way off. Yes, Kobe was “reduced to a jump shooter” blah blah blah, but almost all of his 10 shots in the first quarter were not particularly closely guarded. Certainly a couple of his 3PA were wide open, and he just missed.

    I think that Denver’s probably willing to let Bryant do that, but the problem is that Martin’s presence on the perimeter opens things up a ton underneath. And if Kobe -does- hit a few of those relatively open jumpers (which he’s generally prone to do at a much higher clip than he did in this game), not only are you letting him get his, but you’re doing it at the expense of your interior D as well.

  4. 2, 3 – I also felt like Kobe just wasn’t hitting. Kobe will be better next game, and hopefully so will the defense. If so, this will be a VERY short series.

  5. Thanks for the recap, nomuskles. Entertaining as always.

    I really don’t think Kobe played that poorly, he just shot poorly. Really poorly. The few times he forced one up, it seemed clear that he was trying to shoot his way back into some kind of rhythm. Second half seemed to go more his way, shooting-wise.

    That indecision flip up the backboard early in the game on a three-on-two was weird, though. That was a real WTF moment.

  6. Since their previous battles with “the big guy” was with Andrew, the Nuggs may not have known who that skinny Spaniard beanpole was. I guess Phil suggested that Pau introduce himself.

    After the “introductions” of game 1, we can be confident that the Nuggs will recognize Gasol when he takes the floor in game 2!

    Having seen first hand the level of talent on the Denver team, one can wonder why they aren’t the favorites in this series. I think that the answer is basketball IQ.

    Kobe and Luke are sons of NBA players–and they know the game. Derek Fisher and Jordan Farmar know the game. Though sometimes Lamar falls short, when we compare him to players on the Denver roster, Lamar Odom knows the game–especially when he plays side by side with Pau.

    You can see it in Laker passing and assists on offense. We’d like to see more of it on defense.

    Unselfish Laker teamwork more than makes up for the extraordinary talent of those Nuggs.

  7. In response to some posts made from the previous thread… I didn’t think nomuskles could come up with one so early. LOLz.

    Either way, no matter how we want to tire Boston, that’s not happening. Well, I still pick Detroit to meet them in the LCF (Leastern Conference Finals) but tiring them might not be the idea. We just have to beat them when we meet them.

    Hieroglyphics – LOLz.

    Hertag – I think its more like “what the situation calls for” with what Pau did. I think he abused Denver’s lack of interior D with layup drills and not-even-graceful trophy dunks. I think Phil punished the Nuggs for box-one-ing Kobe and doubling too early. I don’t think he will average 40mpg in the series.

    Fanalyst, so I’m the Luke Walton of this Blog?! Yikes!

    If you noticed, Kobe was clunky in the 1st half. Maybe he was too eager to beat the Nuggs that he could not sleep last night. And so we went with Pau. Oh and don’t forget mr Odom. He actually passed up an Oh-No-Dumb-Three (drrayeye tone) for a beautiful assist to Pau. His play was solid tonight.

  8. Warren,

    Lamar has elavated his level of play to the point of being unrecognizable. He’s avoided temptation on those threes for the most part. His shooting percentage is high, he drives the paint, he rebounds aggressively (including offensive rebounds), and, would you believe, he’s consistent.

    The only way we know that he’s still Lamar is the “miss the first, make the second” free throws. He actually did surprise us in this game by pulling a Shaq and going one for four, but that was an aberration.

  9. I really don’t know what people mean by basketball IQ, but sometimes I feel it is an uncounsiouss stereotype being caged in general language. AI, Camby, Najera, Kleiza, several of the Nuggs key players have what I guess could be considered “bball iq”, I hope people don’t think the running/dunking and tattos of Denver imply that they are bball dummies, that would be faulty. Do they have some high-risers yes, and they defintely have defensive deficines, but I don’t think low bball iq is accurate. (sorry if I read more into it, but it is something I see too often)

  10. 8, Maybe it’s just the coaching. Melo was great on the National Team, even played a bit of defense, yet his effort and focus were lacking in yesterday’s game (maybe the result of the whole DUI thing). Players like JR Smith and Martin are great athletes, but don’t respond to game situations as well as the Laker players do. If it’s not a lack of basketball IQ (an understanding of how to play the game at the mental level), maybe it’s a lack of passion or awareness or commitment or something. But a team as talented as that should be playing a lot better.

  11. When I think of Basketball IQ, I think of making good decisions on the court. Being athletic and having the ability to play bball is a lot different than being able to make correct decisions on the fly. The Lakers certainly have their lapses ( I think Kobe chucking up some of his shots killed our offensive flow, and, when we get into our passing game, sometimes the guys have a habit of trying to make a too difficult pass), but Denver seems to be playing with dunce caps on. I feel, overall, they have a better group of players than most of the league. It is their basketball IQ (and perhaps coaching) that has them lagging at the bottom of the Western Conference.

  12. I will be travelling on Wednesday. Can anyone suggest where I can buy/ watch replays of the game?

  13. 9. Kwame, to me, basketball IQ involves knowing how to play a proper limited role within a team concept. Jeremy of Pickaxe and Roll does a good job of describing the week by week frustrations of living with the mindsets of Denver’s players.

  14. 8 – Good call. Since Pau became a Laker, I’ve heard the term “basketball IQ” more than I had in the last 10 years. Players who are unspectacular, who can pass well and who point alot seem to get the high IQ label. It doesn’t add any information whatsoever to the basketball discussion for me.

  15. Looks like the blog entries went bonko again.

    Oh well!

    For those criticizing Kobe’s performance – I was one of them – it is interesting to read this entry from a Denver paper on how Kobe dominated Denver.
    http://www.denverpost.com/ci_8996318?source=rss

  16. hopefully we will defend kleiza better, he’s one of those players (others that come to mind: steve blake, udoka, i know i’m missing a handful more) that have games well above what their avg. would indicate when they come up against the lakers……kmart and carmelo killed us on the offensive boards (13 out of their 19). 40% of their rebounds were on the offensive end and that translates to 2nd/3rd chance points……..need to clean that up!

  17. Hey nomuskles, great job on the live blog–you even got a shout out on Truehoop:

    The key play, as told by nomuskles in a post at Forum Blue and Gold: “Kobe was anxious the whole possession. Alley oop to Kobe. It wasn’t the usual backdoor. It was just a blatant mismatch against Carter who had no help behind him and ended up fronting Kobe. Pau got him with the lob over the top. AI decides he wants to check-out what’s on the post-game menu a little early and gets tossed from the game with two quick technicals. Or maybe he had a 3:00pm surfing lesson. Kobe gets to shoot four free throws in a row. Pad his stats time. Despite shooting a horridly, he still got 32 points. 122-107. This one is done and now everyone knows it.”

    http://myespn.go.com/blogs/truehoop/0-32-88/Lakers-vs–Nuggets-Bullets.html

  18. @6

    It’s really quite simple: the Nuggets are simply overrated. They have a lot of talented individual players, but as a team they’re not that great. Too much overlap of skills and not enough defense.

    Look at their two main stars: AI and Melo. They’re both basically the same player. They’re both wing players who depend on dribble penetration to score. They’re ok passers and neither moves well without the ball. On defense, they’re not very good as well. The one difference is that Melo has a post up game, but we rarely see it.

    So even though you have these two great talents, they don’t really help each other since they both score in the same way and need the ball to be effective.

    Compare that to the Lakers with Kobe and Gasol. They have different offensive skills and one works well with the other.

  19. New post up as we start to break everything down.

  20. Hey guys… I was at the game yesterday in some pretty good seats (thanks to some free tickets we got through my brother’s work)… Great game. Here are some quick observations…
    -The Lakers started the game out by going to the mismatch every time down the court. The Nuggets started AI on VladRad so the Lakers were trying to post AI every time and it was working pretty well but the Lakers got away from that (which led to the Nugs going from 10 down to almost 10 up)
    -The Nuggets do NOT like to pass the ball to each other (except for Iverson). It seemed like every time down the court, anybody other than AI on the Nuggets was just looking out for themselves and their stats. No teamwork, No chemistry. Most of the times that Melo would get the ball, Kleiza would be WIDE WIDE open in the corner for a 3 (which he had been hitting) and Melo would not even look in his direction as he would drive into 3 Lakers and throw up a wild shot.
    -Allen Iverson is AMAZING to watch in person. His quickness is unbelievable, he hits the deck once every 2 minutes because he is so small and light, and he can not be rattled… every time the crowd would be amped and super loud, Iverson would make some ridiculous play and quiet everybody. AI was truly amazing yesterday.
    -Kleiza looks kinda fat in person but he is way more athletic than you would think. Solid role player.
    -Kobe and K-Mart were trash talking the ENTIRE game because K-Mart was trying to guard Kobe and Kobe was telling him that he could not.
    -Kevin Love and Derrick Rose were sitting right next to my isle. K-Love was with his dad (real tall) and Rose was with a couple basketball player looking friends and some guy who was looking and acting like an agent (started kissing up to Love and his dad once he saw them). Rose seemed pretty uninterested in the Lakers game, and Love seemed pretty uninterested in all the fans going up to him and asking for his autograph, he kind of seemed like an a-hole.
    -Ron Artest was walking around on the court at halftime saying hello to everybody on the Lakers and Nuggets and acting like he would like to be on their team next season.

  21. sorry Kurt I didn’t see your new post… I should have posted my comment in the new post

  22. Warren Wee Lim April 21, 2008 at 7:46 pm

    Little Pinky,

    There’s one thing I always remember in talking about happy endings. Stanley Goodspeed and Mr. Mason in “the Rock”.

    “Losers whine about their best… Winners f*&$ the prom queen!”