Live Blog Game 3

Kurt —  April 26, 2008

Nomuskles only writes game live blogs when his girlfriend isn’t with him. We’re lucky that she is hanging out with the USA national water polo team lately (purely platonic, I’m sure) freeing him up to write more. Here is the game 3 live blog, enjoy. Tomorrow we’ll break all of it down a little and talk game 4.

1st Quarter
10:19 – Kobe finds Fisher open on the left side behind the arc and Derek strokes it for three. 5-2 Lakers. Denver comes back quickly and Kobe picks up the early blocking foul.
8:54 – RadMan has been playing with a lot of energy here in the first. He’s gotten a hoop underneath, an offensive rebound, and he picked up a foul on the defensive end.
7:56 – Lamar Takes Kleiza to the rim in the post.
7:43 – Melo makes a great move around RadMan and then blows the reverse layup. Doesn’t even get the rim.
7:05 – Lakers catch a break the size of Yao’s stress fracture. Kobe loses the ball and AI is about to go the other way but the officials say Kobe traveled first. Denver is forced to take it out.
6:46 – Melo is frustrated again as he gets to the rack but can’t convert. He’s clearly got it in his mind to be aggressive on offense tonight.
5:30 – AI and Fisher is turning out to be an interesting battle here. AI drew a flopping offensive charge on Fisher earlier and now he blew by Fisher who was playing the part of Robinson Crusoe—out on that island by himself. Misses the layup though.
4:12 – Kleiza gets the jam inside against three purple guys 15 – 14 Lakers are up.
3:48 – Poor pass on an alley oop looking for Melo. Kobe plays Angelina to Camby and melo’s Brad and Jennifer—He breaks it up.
3:17 – That was impressive. Kleiza takes it baseline off the dribble and dunks over some Lakers. We have no answer for him. 17-16 Lakers up. This is not the cakewalk the Lakers were hoping it would be. The Lakers are getting good looks at the basket while running their offense patiently. Neither team is shooting very well. AI and Melo are struggling up to now. They are a combined 1/10 from the field. Kleiza has been a big part of what is working.
2:22 – Kobe has his put back attempt swatted away by Najera.
2:04 – Pau slips the high screen and roll and Kobe makes them pay by finding Pau.
1:37 – Lamar gives up on a broken sequence. Lakers give up the ball in the backcourt and AI and JR Smith run a two-man game against the couple Lakers who are still back. Lamar turns his back on AI thinking AI was just going to shoot. AI takes this opportunity to dribble around Lamar who has no idea what’s going on to get himself a layup.
1:09 – Kobe picks up his second foul and he’ll come out of the game. Vujacic in the game. 22-18 Lakers up. Sasha causes JR Smith to have an Over-And-back violation.
0:32 – Luke and JR Smith get tangled up in the box and JR draws the offensive foul. Yours truly doesn’t like the call.
0:24 – Najera gives a pickup game ball fake and Luke jumps about six feet out of position to guard against the pass to the corner. Najera runs his the layup drill, easy deuce.
0:00 – Last possession for Denver. AI dribbles through the all the Lakers trying to find an opening to the rim. He tries to finally pass it off and the retreating Lakers punch it out of bounds as time expires. 23 – 20 Lakers.

2nd Quarter
11:20 – Farmar isn’t sticking with AI at all. When AI drives to his right into the middle, Farmar follows him but doesn’t get in front. He gets caught in defensive no man’s land. It’s as if he’s expecting help but he’s not close enough to provide a double team and he’s not guarding anyone else. The Lakers need to work on this at halftime.
Soon after, Nene and Lamar get tangled up with Lamar getting the worst of it. Lamar’s arm got caught in nene’s after a basket. Nene felt Lamar’s arm and spun him around judo-style. Lamar was grimacing in pain but he should be fine. That was pretty uncalled for.
Najera elbowed Sasha in the face trying to get an offensive rebound. On the replay it looks pretty intentional. If you’ve ever seen a martial arts board breaking competition, replace Sasha’s face with the boards and that’s pretty much what happened there. I’d be surprised if he’s not suspended and/or fined for the next game. Sasha was awarded a flagrant foul. After rolling around on the floor like an injured fish for a while, the Machine seems to be in working order.
9:12 – Farmar beats Ai off the dribble baseline and jumps into Nene and converts the layup. Great move. 34-30 Lakers up.
8:40 – While Lamar is missing a couple of free throws off a time out, AI is shown on the bench looking old. He’s bundled up in some towels and he’s got bags under his eyes.
8:20 – Great sequence here for the good guys. Anthony Carter tries to lob it inside as Luke plays Angelina this time. He takes it up the floor himself and threads a backdoor pass to Farmar cutting baseline. Farmar finds Mbenga with a behind the back pass in the lane who converts the jump hook. A little razzle dazzle.
7:52 – carter tells Farmar, “young man, this is how we do it in Hawaii” as he calmly blocks Farmar’s turnaround.
7:40 – Najera draws a charge on Lamar. 36 – 33 Lakers.
7:25 – JR Smith comes off a screen and shoots a three. He makes it to tie the game. 36-36.
6:58 – Camby hustles after an offensive rebound but can’t quite come up with it. Lakers need to be the aggressors.
6:43 – Anthony Carter dives for the ball and Farmar doesn’t. The Nuggets get it going the other way. Regardless of the outcome of the possession, this does not bode well for the mental toughness of Farmar. He’s not playing with the tenacity required in the playoffs. The Lakers need to take advantage of every opportunity.
6:12 – Farmar tries to atone with a lighting fast cut to the rim and he’s found for a layup. 38-36 Lakers. JR Smith gets to the rim by himself and ties it up. Najera gets himself a layup on the next Nuggets possession. And on the other end, Pau gets contact underneath and just heaves it up off the glass throwing the ball in. A foul and the bucket. Timeout called.
Coming back from the break, a Nuggets fan is shown behind the text question of the day with a personalized jersey. The number? 23. The expected name is Camby right? Instead, this guy had “Vicki’s Husband” stitched on there. I wonder if it was a 23rd anniversary gift.
Pau misses the free throw. Joel says the Lakers are 6/11 on Free Throws.
5:11 – Apparently the reduced air pressure in Denver is throwing off the expected trajectory of the ball. That’s about the third Alley Oop pass gone awry for the Nuggets. This one sails over Kenyon Martin’s noggin. A smattering of boos are heard.
3:45 – There are some Lakers fans in attendance. When Kobe made a shot, the home fans went quiet and you could hear some clapping.
3:20 – Again that darned altitude. DFish throws it up for Pau and Pau isn’t able to get a shot without coming down first. He tries to dunk it and Hawaii 5-O makes sure there’re no easy buckets. Pau will shoot free throws.
2:35 – It’s Kyra Sedgewick time, let’s see how the Lakers close the quarter. They’ve got a 6 point lead.
2:00 – Kobe is guarding AI gets him to miss a jumper. Lamar grabs the one bounce rebound (is this handball?) and he’s trying not to step out of bounds by keeping his heel off the ground. Boy, his ankles look shaky.
1:36 – Melo is having a really difficult time of it today. He drove baseline against the space cadet but Lamar was waiting for him and he ended up missing the layup. Add that to his growing list of frustrations in the series.
1:08 – Kobe comes out so he won’t pick up his third foul. Kenyon misses both free throws and there’s a phantom foul call on Kleiza as Lamar mistimed his jump for the rebound. Lamar’s first one is Boykin’s. Second one is good. 51 – 42 Lakers.
0:58 – fisher plays great D on the Answer but he gets called for the blocking foul. Tough call. Fisher beat him to the spot, Iverson’s shoulder hit him square in the chest and rose up and shot. Iverson hits both free throws. Lamar comes out to avoid his third foul as well. 51-44 Lakers up.
0:35 – Vlade doesn’t have a prayer here. He’s guarding AI who draws a foul. Two shots. Quick, what number does vlad wear? The answer? 10.
0:17 – Lakers practice some patience and in the post Pau turns and faces and finds son of bill cutting to the basket all alone. Easy two.
0:00 – We’ve seen this before. Iverson dribbles hard to the rack and there’s nothing there. Pau blocks his shot/pass and Melo gets the ball with about a second and a half left. Melo pump fakes like a pump faking machine and time expires. Lakers up 53-46. I’d prefer the 51 – 42 lead. 7 is nothing.
Lakers are shooting poorly from behind the arc. 3/11. John Ireland says that the Nuggets are going to come out “like a house on fire” to start the third and the Lakers better be ready.
3rd Quarter
11:42 – Kobe starts it off right with a bucket on the first possession against Camby. Lakers up 9.
11:21 – Melo puts up a shot and finally makes it.
11:08 – Kobe hits a long deuce over K-Mart. 57-48.
10:38 – AI almost takes the ball away from Pau in the high post. Lakers dodge a bullet there. After the inbounds, Kobe puts up a ridiculous shot that misses. Pau can’t get the rebound.
9:52 – Silly foul by Kleiza. Lamar was shooting deep in the shot clock near the free throw line and he tapped Lamar from his non-shooting side. Lamar makes two. 59-50 Lakers up.
9:20 – Kobe drops a deuce! (Not that kind of deuce.) Converts it over K-Mart again with a couple feet on the line. That’s Kobe’s 14th point. 61-50.
9:05 – Derek Fisher is Demi Moore and strips Kenyon on his drive to the basket. Off Kenyon’s leg, Turnover.
8:51 – Kenyon sees Kobe gathering to rise up for a shot and he doesn’t want to be left behind so he hangs onto Kobe’s arm. I’d imagine that felt like being caught by a bear. He makes one, misses one. 62-51 Lakers.
8:03 – Joel’s MVP, Kobe (surprise) is trying to take over this quarter. Hits the three. Actually, his toe might have been on the line. But for now it stands as a three.
7:20 – Fisher hits another three and falls out of bounds. Lakers up 16! Denver is feeling defeated. There’s no bounce in their step and they are falling apart as a team. The refs need to be careful that this one doesn’t become an embarrassing series for the league.
What is this? Amateur night at the Apollo? The security/ushers at the arena are wearing dark suits with sky blue athletic headbands. Seriously? Who thought this was a good idea?
6:50 – Fisher takes the ball away from K-Mart again in the post as the secondary defender. K-Mart elbows Fisher in the face for his trouble. Regular foul called there. I’m not sure what the reasoning is there.
6:29 – Kobe is a little impressed with his superpowers. He shoots it from 30 feet at least with 4 seconds on the 24 second shot clock and air balls it. Nothing but net. We get a wry smile out of the garden snake on that one.
6:05 – JR Smith is doing his cheer leading routine on the opposite wing because his defender, Fisher, came over to double Melo in the post. Do you think Melo found the open man? Nope. He forced up a shot. It drew a foul on fish, but good teams don’t do that.
5:32 – Nuggets get some energy here. Kobe makes a great block on Melo’s layup but it goes right to K-Mart who slams it home. Slams is perhaps too nice a word. Nuggets are getting a little bit of momentum going their way and the crowd is back in it.
4:30 – Melo hits the jumper and that’s 8 straight for the Nuggs. 69-59 Lakers still up. Timeout good guys.
4:13 – Lakers get a good possession coming out of the timeout. Fisher gets the contested three. 72-59.
3:35 – Lamar can’t be guarded by JR in the post. Easy dunk as JR goes for the steal.
3:14 – I’m going to call JR Smith Moses from now on. He makes the Lakers defense part like the Red Sea. 74-61 Lakers.
2:33 – fisher gets a steal from Melo in the post (he’s made his living there today. He also probably got all arm this time, however.) Luke picks up the ball and outlets it to Kobe who is leaking out. Kobe gets the layup. Technical foul assessed to whiny baby Melo. Fisher takes the free throw and misses it. What is it today with the missed free throws? I woulda had mamba shoot that one since it was fisher’s first free throw of the day.
2:15 – Lamar does a ridiculously good job guarding AI one on one. AI eventually gets a shot off and drills it. Fisher comes back and hits a three of his own. 81-64.
1:40ish – Pau blocks Carmelo in the post. It’s been a rough series for him. But hey, at least he’s not Darko.
0:34 – Kleiza has this bad habit of trying to get rebounds by jumping over back of guys. I agree it’s a tough call on him, but if he’d work a little bit harder before the shot goes up establishing position, he’d be rewarded with a lot more offensive rebounds without catching fouls. Luke hits the free throws. 83-64.
0:02 – Farmar dances on the three point line against JR Smith and shoots a short jumper as the shot clock expires. That’s pretty much how the quarter will end as Najera doesn’t want to ruin his FG% numbers. He doesn’t get the shot off in time. 83-64 Lakers up 19. Expanding the lead by 12 in the third. Barring a Homerian-style epic collapse here, Lakers should be able to hold off any runs in the fourth.

4th Quarter
John Ireland says Kobe told every single teammate not to let the Nuggets off the floor and told The Machine specifically not to let Smith get going.
11:36 – Lakers get a steal from the Nuggets and Luke gets a fast break layup but gets undercut by Smith. Poor play by smith. Luke misses the free throw worrying about his shoulder I imagine. We haven’t seen Turiaf but he is on the bench ready to go if needed. George’s son is in street clothes tonight.
10:31 – JR’s dribble penetration leads to a Carter short corner three from the left side. Nice play. Cuts it to 17. 87 – 68.
9:33 – the sidelines advertisements are for McDonald’s “I’m lovin’ it” I imagine that they didn’t mean that in an ironic sense for Denver fans. But it works in that fashion.
8:58 – Phil puts DFish and Kobe back into the lineup. Pau is also back in.
8:42 – Sasha hits a wide open straight on three. 90-69.
8:18 – Kobe gets the Nuggets miss and outlets it to Sasha down court in front of all the Nuggets. Carter fouls him preventing the easy layup. Sasha misses the first and makes the second. Not surprised at the miss.
7:19 – Sasha is not so good at the whole floppage to draw a foul thing. He earns a blocking foul instead. Kleiza goes to the line.
7:03 – Not that they have to at this point, but there are no Lakers to rebound when Sasha put up the three. He misses and there isn’t a purple jersey below the free throw line to challenge for the rebound.
6:41 – The building is pretty antsy. They are waiting for something exciting to happen, either a highlight play or a fight.
This game is over so we’re gonna wrap this one up early. The starters should come out soon. 3-0 in the series. This bodes well but the Jazz or the rockets won’t lie down like the Nuggets have in this series. Both of those teams play together and rely on each other more than this team does. Have a great weekend Lakers fans. Stay cool in this heat wave.