Here we go!
This is going to be an entertaining series, I like the Lakers chances a lot but the Nuggets are a fun team to watch. Iâ€™ve said before, AI is one of only a few players in the league that once a game makes you just shake your head and say â€œhow did he do that?â€ Weâ€™ve got a good show ahead.
For those looking for a little more preview, Bill Bridges had some good notes on things I didnâ€™t mention in the comments, Iâ€™ll pass along.
Lots of buzz on the net that the Nuggs are practicing a box and one on Kobe. I’m not concerned about this. A lot depends on who that one is. Battier and Bowen maybe but not Carter or Smith. Also a help that comes from the zone should be easy for Kobe to split. Besides, this is the NBA with a defensive 3 rule and not the college. A box and 1 is extremely difficult to execute.
The most effective defensive scheme might be the “Let Kobe gets his and stop the rest” tactic. The team needs to avoid what happened to them vs Memphis where Kobe went off in the 1st two quarters and the rest of the team never got into a rhythm. What does Kobe do in the 1st when he doesn’t want to shoot much (and the entire NBA knows that this is his m.o.) but the defense is giving him the shot?
He has to resist the temptation to stay on the perimeter but attack the basket and set up his teammates this way. If Kobe penetrates and the rest of the Lakers remember that in Camby and Martin, the Nuggs have 2 block happy defenders (pump fake!) the Nuggs bigs can get into serious foul trouble.
With all this talk about AI’s penetration and Smith’s shooting. They really don’t concern me. Unlike Paul, AI doesn’t penetrate to set up his guys but to get his. Smith is streaky and I expect Sasha to take him out of his game on the road.
But the Nuggets have Melo on the right block. When he faces up while preserving his dribble. Nobody can stop him if his J is on. Fortunately, in AI, the Nuggets have a shooter who will take possessions away from Melo. Good.
Enjoy the game!!