Lakers/Nuggets Game 1 Chat

Kurt —  April 20, 2008

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. I’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 “how did he do that?” We’ve got a good show ahead.

For those looking for a little more preview, Bill Bridges had some good notes on things I didn’t mention in the comments, I’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!!



75 responses to Lakers/Nuggets Game 1 Chat

  1. Oh man… the nuggets bus caught on fire on the way to the Laker game. No one got hurt, but that seems like a pretty ominous omen. Creepy.

  2. The Dude Abides April 20, 2008 at 11:46 am

    Denver’s bus drivers were photographed earlier this morning before they got on the bus.

  3. THe bus drivers were leaving a B&B operated by the Kover family…

  4. Bad sign for the Lakers if the Nuggets are already on fire!

  5. Any ideas on how to watch the game on the Internet on a Mac? Any HTTP or Windows Media Player link would work, but most of the P2P players are Windows only… Thanks!!

  6. It’s kinda crappy that the fans were chanting “DUI” while Melo was at the line. Laker’s fans should be better than Utah fans.

  7. I wonder if observers were seeing a fairly new defensive scheme and have mistakenly called it a box and 1?
    Imagine a line from the basket to Kobe. His defender is playing him straight up,maybe slightly giving up the lane side. Now imagine a second defender on that line just outside the lane. The other 3 defenders are in a loose triangular zone w/one point being near baseline,one around foul line and third covering the backside. The “line” defender responds to whichever direction Kobe takes,cutting off penetration and contesting mid-range Js. I have seen this quite a bit recently and the “line” defender never gets called for defensive 3 seconds. It is quite effective at stopping penetration and the obvious solution of rapid ball movement to weak side often results in too many quick 3s.

  8. 5 – Will,
    For watching live (usually low-quality), try:
    or just do a google search for “lakers streaming” or something like that.

    I have a Mac and I’m downloading games (in HD quality) to watch later. For that you need a torrent client (I use Azureus) and a media player other than QuickTime (like VLC). The sites I use for downloading are:

    Good luck.

  9. Not liking this… We’re not playing with intensity and we really don’t know how to properly attack a zone defense…

  10. Why you gotta delete my earlier post? The truth hurts huh!

  11. we are running the offense well, but not hitting shots. letting them run will not be good. were playing too fast.

  12. It’s not looking good for you guys. That’s what happens when laker fans get way overconfident. Lakers in 5? You gotta give us more credit than that…

  13. [edited]
    I am a little more concerned about the lack of defense displayed thus far in the 2nd quarter.. .

    I am sure the Lakers will pick it up, Kobe isn’t going to shoot 20% all game……and I don’t expect JR to shoot 100% all game.

    The Lakers just need to make sure it doesn’t get out of hand right now and then to clamp down on D in the second half, like they did against the Spurs.

    GO LAKERS!!!

  14. That’s not a foul on Kobe. Did you see Iverson look at the official while in the air to bail him out?

  15. listening to Mark Jacson & Van Gundy talking about AI being the best “pound-for-pound” player in history sounded like a “who’s on first” routine.
    And the way we closed out the half, spectacular. I think lamar and pau work great together, we look really smoth moving the ball.

  16. Lakers have to decide whether they want to blow out the Nuggets or make things interesting. If they want to blow them out. Pound it in every time. Even when they zone. I am wondering whether it is better also to pound the offensive boards when the second unit is in as they have no bigs at all. Sure you may give up the transition basket. But they probably get it anyway.

    Kleiza has it going. Play him like Peja.

  17. we are playing carmelo well.. he has made some real tough contested shots which i am not worried about.. but we need to stop AI, he is playing to his strength. He is getting to the line and hitting jumpers. We would like to limit AI to a Jump shooter like we discussed. We cant put Kobe on AI as he has 3 fouls and AI is good at getting fouls. I love the way we are moving the ball. I am not too worried about our offense we have missed some open shots but you can live with that. Nuggets bench killed us on transition defense. We need to pick it up and keep pounding the ball so that we can stop denver on fast break even if we miss shots. I love the way Odom is playing he has picked up his game like he did last time in payoffs.

  18. No way we can trade LO. Who knew that all he needed was to play with another versatile big man? Dude’s become a better passing, better ball handling Shawn Marion. Of course, Marion’s got L.O on the ups, but in this system, Lamar’s atheticism works just fine.

    I think the problem for Lamar prior to Pau’s arrival was learning how to fit in without the ball in his hands. His entire career he was a guy that needed the ball in his hands. But with Pau’s arrival, he’s taken to cutting and crashing the boards harder than ever. It’s taken him a few years, but he’s finally learned how to be a great off the ball player. By the way, that touch pass he through to Pau in the second quarter was just SICK.

  19. When they were doing that pound-for-pound discussion, I wanted to scream at the TV, “CHRIS FRIGGIN PAUL!” Paul is far better than Iverson could ever hope to be, as long we’re talking about team basketball, not a pickup game. Easily my favorite non-Laker player.

    But as for the game….Kleiza came in and gave them a huge boost, and for a few minutes after that, their defense was actually somewhat solid. We played into it by rushing our shots. We just need to be patient. We’ve been playing more uptempo this year, but we still have the ability to switch to a grind-it-out style–Denver can’t. We need to use that to our advantage.

    The good news–Kobe can’t play any worse than he is right now. Pau and Lamar are playing beastly games. Luke’s patience on the block was a welcome relief.

    Btw, random comment–does anyone remember how we all ripped into Ric Bucher’s report a few months ago when he said Andrew Bynum would not return this season? Looks like Buch might be a bit more intuitive than we give him credit for….

  20. If the Lakers had at least pretended to guard Kleiza, this game would be in good hands considering Kobe’s struggles.

  21. I hope kobe starts playing like an mvp…we need him!

  22. Man, Lamar Odom and Pau complement each other so well.

    BTW, does anyone else think Linas Kleiza has a slight resemblance to Kevin Love?

  23. @ 20: Yeah, Kevin love minus the doughy body and the chin strap…

  24. I wish we had Kwame back… this Gasol guy is a wash.

  25. Even Van Gundy is calling for Vujacic at the 1 instead of Farmar! Always liked Jeff.

  26. Anyone else worried about Kobe getting suspended for that hit on Carter?

  27. Wow, this has to be Gasol’s best game as a Laker.

  28. 21- Give it time, man. I don’t like to say such things prematurely, but I think history will prove this Pau trade to be a net positive for the Lakers. We’ll see.

  29. Farmar is the only player in league history* who has RAISED his fg% by taking buzzer beaters…

    *yes I just made that up

  30. If Farmar played D as good as he makes buzzer beaters, he would be a great player!

  31. Can I change my mvp vote from KB24 to CP3 please…why is Kobe taking such wack shots….blowin it!

  32. Kobe is not really helping us win the game today.
    Just killing our momentum with terrible shot selection.

    And I don’t know why Phil didn’t put the bench in to start the 4th. I know DEN had AI and Carmelo, but I believe our bench is good enough to give them a chance.

    Lastly, Pau has been amazing but I believe Lamar is the real MVP of today’s game. The team just doesn’t look the same when he’s resting on the bench.

  33. Ok. We’ll pay the ransom. Please release the real Kobe Bryant. His one on one fade away bricks really hurting us right now. We need Lamar back.

  34. Kleiza and Smith are tough. We are hurting ourselves by taking bad shots, opening them up to run on us. Don’t change what works, pound them inside, get it to Pau.

  35. If George Karl was smart, he would leave J.R. Smith and Kleiza in there the whole 4th quarter….we’re coming back!!!

  36. Another injury? Is this ever going to stop?

  37. I wish we had really blown them out bad to send a message. With that said, this game has been really chippy and competitive. I love the playoffs.

    Anyone see the suns/spurs game? Unbelievable.

  38. So THAT’s how AI is able to comment here!

  39. The streak is over!…Pau finally has his first playoff win!

  40. Good W by the Lakers.

  41. LO has serious chops. Behind the back dribble with his off hand, no look pass to Luke. Catch the alley oop for a dunk. sick.

  42. Good game guys!…If I didn’t get ejected, then maybe it could’ve been a closer game. We’ll get ya next game!

  43. Best part of the game? Kobe going at K-Mart. People are talking about how you don’t want to piss off Lebron….please. If Deshawn Stevenson bought him Jay-Z concert tickets tomorrow, Lebron would forget all about the playoffs. Kobe is the real guy you can’t piss off. Absolute assassin.

    @37 – I agree, that was an absolutely unbelievable game. I’m not sure who we want to see in the WCF. I think we actually match up better with the Spurs now, b/c Gasol plays Duncan so well. Gasol against Shaq and Lamar against Amare is not something I want to see as a Laker fan.

  44. I love it when losers say we’ll get you next game, next season, next decade… The winners just say, “NEXT!”

    Next up will be Utah, no?

  45. 44 –

    I don’t really agree. Classy by “A.I.” to stop by after the loss. What’s he supposed to say? “I expect the team I root for to lose every game”?

    We should be as graceful in the event of defeat.

  46. Good game AI (nice shot over Pau). Your team can really score, this won’t be a cakewalk, but it may be a sweep.

  47. This has to be a depressing loss for Denver. Kobe has as bad a shooting night as he could possibly have and the Lakers still beat the hell out of you?

    You’ve got to give George Karl credit for taking a risk and putting K-Mart on Kobe. I’m surprised Kobe just settled for just settled for jumpers when he’s got a 6-10 guy on him. Use your speed advantage and try to draw fouls!

  48. I wouldn’t really call that Kobe going at K-Mart. K-Mart was in Kobe’s head for sure…

    Every single time they had Kenyon on Kobes, Kobe settled for an 18 footer.

    Check the shot chart. Kobe didn’t take it to the hole once against him. But as soon as JR guarded him, lo and behold, Kobe took it to the rack. No doubt that Kenyon’s got an intimidation factor goin on. Kobe’s probably thinking he’ll beat K-Mart off the dribble so easily that K-Mart’ll just say screw it and deck Kobe when he’s in the air.

  49. 1-0!

    Great start to the series, because despite above comments Kobe had a rough game and we STILL won out by 14 or so. People forget this team isn’t based on how dangerous we are when kobe plays well, we don’t need him to be the main piece to be scary anymore. I’ll take a W without kobe shooting well any day of the week.

    We came through as a TEAM tonight, thats all that matters. That matters way more than us winning and kobe dropping 40. Bear in mind dude still dropped 30+. This isn’t exactly the kind of laker team I wanted to see but it’s damn close.


  50. Addition: Can we please have a moment of gratitude for Mr Gasol also! 36 points, 16 Boards, 8 Assists, 3 Blocks on 60% shooting. Easily the most monstrous stat line of the playoffs as yet and truly an amazing playoff debut for the Lakers.

    He’s well and truly here ladies and gentlemen.

  51. 48 – You misunderstood me. When I said “going at K-Mart,” I meant verbally. I haven’t seen Kobe that animated, talking that much trash in a while, and that’s saying something.

    I, too, was a little surprised that Kobe didn’t attack the rim more. But in this game, he didn’t really need to. Kobe’s one of the most cerebral players in the game; he’ll make any necessary adjustments for Game 2.

  52. we need to 1) stay on or i should say “guard” kleiza…….2) get defensive rebounds. nuggets don’t break 100 if we stop giving them 2nd and 3rd chances and check kleiza a bit better………but, i’ll take the win. how do you like me pau?

  53. Are people honestly debating the Pau trade? Are Memphis fans posting shots here? If I see another “bring Kwame back this Pau guy is bad” post I’m gonna s**t a brick as big as Kwame (and it would probably handle the ball better).

    Anyway, big win tonight. Imagine how driven Kobe is going to be on Wednesday after playing that poorly for 3/4’s of the game…scary. I bet he aims to drop 30 by halftime next time and will probably pull it off.

    Let’s keep the “DUI” chants to a minimum from now on. I doubt you’d find a perfect human being on the Lakers squad, or posting on this blog, or anywhere…and it’s just uncalled for. He learned a lesson so when he needs to drown his sorrows after the sweep he’ll have a limo…

  54. Caption…. (PJ .. in a parental tone) “No Lamar!…. You cant play basketball until you eat your veggies!

  55. Is anyone watching the Sixers/Pistons game?

    Whoa, Sixers pull off the upset win. Pistons…the Mavericks of the Eastern Conference.

  56. @54 I’m not 100% positive, but I believe those posts about Kwame were said sarcastically.

    Ron Jeremy,er,Sttan Van Gundy,had Lamar play at an All-Star level by having him play off Wade and Caron Butler. Phil tried to turn Lamar into a Pippen clone and we’ve all seen the results.
    We need a new category for players like Lamar,Marion,perhaps Kirilenko. Too good to be called role players,yet missing that something that would let you build a team around them. Too talented and versatile to be glue guys,but not good enough to make lesser players better.

  58. Pound for pound, the Nuggets must be the most tatooed team in the league.

  59. You know how everyone said that the Boston/Atlanta series was going to be the most one sided series in the history of basketball?

    Guess what, Atlanta came to play…

  60. Philly took one in Detroit, pretty sweet win..

  61. Following 53, our defense on Kleiza was truly giving me fits on my couch here. It seems we generally have problems closing out on taller shooters, like Stojakovic. They always seem to burn us.

  62. Warren Wee Lim April 20, 2008 at 7:05 pm

    – Wow I must say I could not say anyone would have foreseen the game1 upset by Philly. Actually, Billy King who made the preview with Andre Aldridge and Frank Isola picked the Sixers to win in 6. Then again, he was a former Sixer prez wasn’t he?

    – That DUI chant is Low low low low low… (Flow-Rida tone)

    – This Pau Gasol guy looks like an upgrade over Kwame…

    – I love the bus guys pics… LOLz.

    – Game 1 feels about right. Pau won his 1st playoff game to get off the curse, Kobe was aggressive and that’s good, Lamar is stellar and I am happy with Luke’s production. I still think we need him, injury or no injury.

  63. Glad most people enjoyed the game. It was a layup drill for Pau the entire game. However, I have to get realistic here because this bothers me.

    Pau played 45 minutes of today’s game. Granted, this is the playoffs and he was unstoppable thanks to the feeds, but 45 minutes on a recently injured ankle? This factors in because Ronny only got 3 minutes of PT for obvious reasons.

    Kobe racked up some Gretzky assists but I don’t like him forcing jump shots over K-Mart. It wasn’t til the 2nd half that he started to get aggressive. If he were to do it in the 2nd quarter, the lead would be much bigger.

    Mello makes horrible decisions. He has raw talent and such a sweet jumper but his basketball IQ is weak. Then again, it could be a reflection of the team’s identity more than anything else.

    Game 2 I hope the Lakers get Pau some more rest because we don’t want him to flame out before the finals. Which means Ronny needs to step up. The defense also has to step up since it was, once again, inconsistent.

    Seriously? DUI chants? Just a massive boo would have sufficed. Either way, I expect some nasty words for Kobe in Denver.

  64. Did anybody else hear Mike Breen mention that Ariza might be back sometime this series? is this true? Would Phil allow Ariza to comeback and possibly ruin the chemistry and his rotation? I like Ariza and think we’ll need him in later rounds but i’m doubtful that Phil Jackson will want to mess up a good thing.

    It’s looking more and more like Bynum is out for the season.

    I think it’s a bad sign if Detroit struggles in their 1st round series. We can’t have Boston have an easy ride to the Finals.

  65. Sorry for the double-post, but paydawg’s comment about Ariza reminded me…is anyone else frustrated by the lack of playing time we’re seeing for Newble? Wasn’t he hired for defense? Phil should have a quick trigger the next time Luke has an off-game, and let Newble get comfortable playing with the rest of the guys. Otherwise we might need him later to stop Ginobli or Stojakovic, but you can’t throw a guy into the fire without any previous playoff playing time.

  66. 57. I hope so, because otherwise we’ve been officially infiltrated and for no good reason.

    58. Perfect point, LO is too good to be a role player and too not good to be a cornerstone. Looks like he should dwell in the 3 spot behind Kobe and Pau for the next 4-5 championships. I’m cool with that.

    59. I was just saying that to my wife about the tats. They look like an East LA B-League All-Star second team out there. I have tattoos, these guys have hieroglyphics. They look like a bunch of Egyptian artifacts running around flagrant fouling and getting tossed and losing. Do they have the story of their ’08 sweep written on their forearms or am I being forward?

    Luke was better than I’ve seen him in a year or so (no official stats quoted in that statement, I just like it).

    Oh, and Philly just cost themselves a 4-1 series by a now angry super-talent that is going to bite back. Sorry fellas.

    Warren Wee Lim…you’re equal parts smart and crazy. I like that about you as I like Luke Walton as both sucky and good. Well done sirs. Loving the 1 seed…keep it going.

  67. I definitely think we need to queue up some perimeter defenders to defend the Peja/Ginobli/Terry/ or whoever…especially if Kobe gets in foul trouble and can’t play his normal lock-down defense. Atleast Sasha plays good D. Someone needs to teach Radmonavich the same.

  68. 66 Newble is not as good a defender as people think, he’s pretty average, and what he costs on offense makes the trade off questionable. Old guys picked up off the scrap heap mid season are not good players (or they wouldn’t be on the heap).

    65. Heck yes I want Ariza back. Rotations? I think Phil can find some good space for our second best perimeter defender in the rotations. We miss him on the court.

  69. (58) Stephen – Maybe ‘impact players’ ?

    That’s the amazing thing about Scottie Pippen. He could be a 2nd, 3rd, or 1st option. He was the epitome of versatility. I think Lamar’s becoming that way too, no? Let us hope he can adjust to a 4th option.

    On the Hawks/Celts:
    The Hawks don’t believe they can win, and I can’t blame them. This team should be better… Bibby/Johnson/Smith/Marvin/Horford should at least put up a fight…

    How about them Sixers…man, they’re going to be something. They just need to acquire someone through free agency, make a nice draft pickup (Hibbert? Collison?) and they’re set.

  70. Despite Kobe’s struggles, 18 points in the last 8 minutes was pretty good.

    Oh and to number 60. (guess what Atlanta came to play…)

    and got smothered by 23 points doing it.

    Th celtics are looking pretty good.

  71. 64 PJ mentioned in post game talk that Turiaf was diseased and he was protecting him. Since it wasn’t a blow out we couldn’t risk putting Mbenga or Mihm in the mix.
    About Newble, i would still prefer Ariza as he know more about Triangle than Newble and is also a good slash dash offensively so he is an upgrade on Newble any day. Newble was signed as a protection in case of any further injury to Vlad or Luke. I like our matchup with Denver and i am even confident about Utah in next round which i think we should be able to make barring something horrendous occurs.
    I am concerned about meeting Suns in case they make it to finals. I don’t think so pre-season will matter that much except for confident because we just played Shaq once and that was his first game for Suns. In case we dont get Bynum back Shaq and Amare with his pick and roll with Nash will kill us.
    But lets not look to far and conc. on next game for now and see to what improvements we need to make on defensive end because i think we need to do a lot of work there if we have to win the championship. Sorry for the long post.

  72. 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.

  73. I thought Luke played a good game yesterday. I have given him a lot of crap this year, but what he brought off the bench in Game 1 is exactly what he needs to bring the team (although it should be at half the price).

  74. #69–i concur kurt….newble is by no means a “stopper”. does have an acceptable midrange game, but still has looked a bit off in the spacing of the triangle when he’s gotten pt. still, i don’t think he minds going for a ride on the pine of what may be a trip to a ring………..when ariza gets back, if he’s got legs, his game strengths will allow him to assimilate into the substitution rotation smoothly. he won’t have to worry too much on the offensive end, he’ll know his primary assignment=”D”………