Lakers/Nuggets Game 2 Chat

Kurt —  May 21, 2009

Andrew Bynum of the Los Angeles Lakers
I expect this game to be similar, yet very different, from game one.

Similar in the sense that I expect it to be close. Maybe this series will have its blowout game — all series seem to — but for the most part the games will be close and the difference will be execution under fire.

How I expect it to be different is in how the Lakers attempt to dictate the game — this time they will go inside and attack mismatches with Denver’s front line. If Nene is on Gasol, then Bynum needs to tear up Martin. Clearly the Lakers wanted to do that last game but were taken aback by the fronting strategy and energy that Denver put into stopping the post entry passes.

As there always are in the triangle, there were counters to what Denver did but the Lakers didn’t seem to execute them. First, I expect the Lakers will try to get Bynum and Gasol (and even Kobe) running and trying to get early position deep (and hopefully they will get the ball this time, the Lakers did not reward running bigs last game). Also, look for the Lakers bigs to move from week to strong and get the ball as they do, look maybe even for the bigs setting screens for each other.

What the Lakers need to do is attack — they started doing that at the end of the last game and that is when they got calls. Before that, Denver got the calls because they attacked the rim. (Hopefully the officiating is a little more consistent for everyone tonight.) But off the dribble or pass to the post, the Lakers need to get to the rim.

When that happens the Nuggets will collapse, and that is when Fisher/Farmar/Sasha/Ariza/Walton need to make them pay with threes.

The Lakers can score off the Kobe/Gasol pick and roll, that is a deadly combination, but the Nuggets are a good pick-and-roll defensive team, so hopefully there is not a steady diet of this.

Defensively, the Lakers need to do better early in the clock and in transition. The Lakers need to do better finding Billups and Melo in transition and not letting them make the play.

Denver wants to get fast break points but when that is not there they almost always set a drag screen (a big behind the play stops up for an early-in-the-clock pick and roll) and after the deliberate pace of the Houston series the Lakers did not adjust well to this. Billups is not going to have another off game shooting like that, especially if the Lakers bigs do not do a better job on that drag screen. The Lakers bigs need to show out, take away his jumper and easy path to the basket, then recover,

I don’t expect Melo to be as hot, but he won’t be cold either. He is playing well right now and the Lakers need to just make him work for his points. Whether it is Ariza, Walton or Kobe, somebody needs to step up and step out on him a little. And that may be hard because I expect Denver will start having him attack from the top of the key, where the Lakers rotations are not as paint-by-numbers.

The Lakers need to continue their domination of the boards. And the bench needs another good night

Bottom line, I think Bynum is going to be a good barometer for the Lakers this game. And I hope Ding is right.

Kurt

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523 responses to Lakers/Nuggets Game 2 Chat

  1. If you read one thing today, read this piece. Amazing:

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/lee_jenkins/05/20/lakers.nuggets.game1/index.html

    Just truly shows how much winning changes perception. And the mix of Lakers legends – West coaching Kareem, Wilt and Kareem going back and forth – makes for a fun historic read.

  2. Great preview, as always.

    Am I wrong, or have the Lakers been reticent all year to get the ball to Bynum (or Pau) as they come through the lane weak to strong? It was such a devastating play to run with Shaq yet I’ve seen so little of it this season.

    One other factor: I don’t see K-Mart having an equally effective offensive game tonight.

  3. Lakers may want to take a similar approach to what Orlando is employing against Lebron. Go ahead and give Melo his 45 points, but shut down everyone else. Make Melo a one-man show and dare him to try and beat them singlehandedly.

    The Nuggets of last year were very weak because they just kind of took turns every time down the court with one star dribbling around a bunch and then shooting. Deep down, I’m willing to bet that Melo wants the recognition that Kobe, Lebron and Wade get.

    If we tempt him, he may decide to go all Artesty on us by trying to take over the game and heaving up contested shot after contested shot.

  4. On a side note, one thing I want to say about the Kobe vs. LeBron debate. As great as both players are, one of the many reasons why I (and many others) prefer Kobe is his clutch shooting, whether it’s a jumper or a free throw. I was never worried about making the FTs late in the 4Q. Although there are other reasons why the Cavs lost, some are pointing to LeBron’s 3 missed FTs, which is unfair.

    Just pointing out why I prefer Kobe over LeBron

  5. “You have to practice the way you play,” Sasha says, wiping the sweat into his free-flowing hair. “And, yes, sometimes it is good to be annoying.”

    Good to see he knows his strengths.

    Who wipes sweat into their hair? Is there a lack of mousse in Los Angeles?

  6. Jim C,

    I was telling someone that exact thing earlier today, but I thought about it a little and admitted I was wrong. Melo doesn’t create offense with passing for Denver like LBJ does. Melo wants to score and him scoring big is what his team wants/needs. Him going for the big number puts us in jeopardy. He has to be somewhat contained, unfortunately I think we’ll continue to give him whatever shot he wants on the perimeter for the rest of the series.

    And I don’t see him being anything like Artest. He’s turned a corner. I think he knows and relishes his role now.

  7. I was at game 1, and I agree the Nuggets are not going away. They had no fear of being on the road, and in fact seemed to relish it (shutting up the fans with some big plays as well as acting like they’ve been there before after those plays). I also think the Lakers made progress, as they didn’t blow up on offense yet still were able to grind out a win with effort.

    Now that the “drain” of playing a game 7 is behind them, and they’ve had some time to focus in on Denver, the adjustments of working the ball inside will be more evident. Gasol is Gasol, I don’t think he’s suddenly going to explode in terms of energy or activity, he’s a polished player who will do his part. Bynum, on the other hand, can change his effect on the game with more active feet to go with the length he showed off in game 1. That could not only get him more involved on both ends, it can help him stay out of foul trouble.

    Granted, I’m still in the show-me mode with these Lakers, since the last series was so baffling in terms of overall effort. But I think Bynum by now has got to realize (and have been told repeatedly) that he can have his way if he can stay in the game.

    I like the “let Melo score ALL the points” idea, but I also didn’t think the Lakers D was too bad save the breakdowns on p&r, a few too many of those. I think the Nuggets just shot really well, except from the FT line of course. Billups will do better, but can Martin? Can Melo repeat his game 1 showing? How limiting is JR’s injury? 5 hours till we find out…

  8. clutch824:
    That’s a good point about Denver wanting Melo to score a lot. You’re definitely causing me to rethink a bit, but I’m not all the way sold.

    We’ve seen the “Melo has turned the corner” thing before. There have been a couple of times where Melo has been absolutely killing folks for weeks at a time and then something (usually something off the court, but also disagreements with George Karl or teammates) has killed his momentum.

    Yeah, Melo has been super this year and has played how all real basketball fans hoped he’d eventually start playing, but this is an unfamiliar stage for him. He’s deep in the playoffs and facing the possibility of an 0-2 hole. I think that the inner “Alpha Dog” in him might just reassert itself and cause him to start trying to do too much.

    Even the best players are susceptible to this. Kobe still does it from time to time.

    In essence, Kobe and Melo are a bit alike in this regard. Both the Lakers and the Nuggets want their star to put up big numbers, but within the confines of the offense and not at the expense of the team game plan is preferred.

    Essentially, I think we want Melo to be trying to make all the decisions for Denver on the court down the stretch rather than playing off Billups’ decision making. What’s made Melo so amazing this year is that he’s let Billups lead, and he’s fit his game into what Chauncey wants to do on the court.

  9. I agree with Clutch. We don’t want to give Carmelo the 1-on-1 look all night like LeBron.

    1) He can knockdown jumpers more consistently than LeBron
    2) They have offensive liabilities on the floor, whereas the Cavs have shooters. Compare Dahntay Jones, Carter, Birdman, KMart, to West, Ilgauskas, Mo, Gibson, Smith etc. We should rotate off them when they’re on the floor to make them pay.
    3) We don’t have someone like Dwight Howard who can challenge at the rim as effectively. So we must send help earlier.
    4) Carmelo’s already hot, why give the what’s working?

  10. Snoopy,
    Having played sports in long hair, the sweat acts as a mousse or gel out there. It keeps it out of the face and eyes, and it’s actually very useful that way.

    I’m sure you really wanted to learn that :)

  11. Agree with clutch. Melo doesn’t have the ballhandling/decision-making responsibilities of Kobe or LeBron (Billups takes care of that). His job is to score and score big, and he can do it without hurting Denver’s overall offensive scheme. Get the ball out of his hands and let Martin, Jones, and Carter fire away.

  12. The clear difference between the last year’s Nuggets and this year’s is that they won’t give us the game. We have to take it from them. However, the similarity is that they still have George Karl and his disfunctional relationship with his players. JR Smith and K-Mart are still very volatile and can be very goaded into doing something stupid. Melo and Chauncey are pretty tough but I don’t think that they are at the same page with Karl ALL THE TIME.

    When things go well, there won’t be problems. But when they get down by double digits or fall behind 0-2, we’ll see how they handle this. Tonight, I think it’s all about adjustments. How well will the Nuggets limit the offensive rebounding of the Lakers? How well the Lakers will be able to establish the inside game of Gasol and Bynum?

    The X-factor once again will be Lamar. If he can continue to offensive rebound and make cuts to the hole as he did last year, we can win easily. If not, we’ll have to find scoring once again through 3pt shooting, which hasn’t been our strength lately until the last game.

    I think it will be a close game until the last 2-3 minutes of 4th quarter, when our half-court execution takes over. Hopefully.

  13. Should be a really good game.

    I definitely think we’ll surpass the output of K-Mart tonight, that should help us. I hope KD is right and we see Bynum play with some confidence on both ends of the floor. I thought his time on the court was fairly productive last game, and the fouls he took were (for the most part) smart/hard.

    I also hope Fish’s big shots were just a sign of things to come, get him out of his slump and we will be that much tougher.

    Chauncey will probably shoot better, but I thought the Lakers did an excellent job of taking away most of his playmaking. I mean the guy is a stud, he’s going to get points, assists, etc. but if you play him tough it at least makes things difficult. Carmelo is officially entering man territory and while I don’t expect 40, I expect a great game. We need to win the battle of the bigs and we can really put some doubt in the minds of Denver.

  14. One point to add to clutch’s is that Billups remains the primary set up man for Denver’s offense. He’s the guy that will create offense for the rest of Denver’s players (even Melo, just because he’s barking out the plays and reading the D for the best option), so I think if we entice Melo to shoot more, it may come back to haunt us if he’s having a big game because Billups will still get his chances (and set up chances for the other guys) based off his leadership within the offense.

    As for something I want to see tonight: I hope that we can control the screener better in P&R situations. Last game, the screener slipped a lot of screens and Billups was able to hit the man in stride to either get layups/dunks or draw fouls on our bigs. I think we can combat this in two ways – First, is for the man guarding the screener to cut off Billups’ passing angle by showing harder and more aggressively so Chauncey can’t just pick us apart with simple bounce passes. And second is for our other backline big to step up sooner so that if the screener does recieve the pass he has to make a play for someone else by getting rid of the ball (because the lane is now closed down). If that backside big could even show soon enough, he may discourage Billups from even making that pass and then we have a good hedge/recover and Denver has run clock only having to reset and try something else. One of the reasons that Denver had so many points in the paint was because of our inability to cover this play effectively. If we can do it tonight, they may have to rely more on jumpshots and hopefully our perimeter D is tight enough to make those looks tough due to strong contests.

  15. 5, Check this out it may surprise you.

    http://www.82games.com/gamewinningshots.htm

  16. In the KD article, I can see Bynum’s point about refs being biased against him because he’s still not playing well. I don’t know if that’s their intent, but certainly his fouls last game were very questionable.

    1. Merely touched Birdman with his hand from behind (wow, that sounds really dirty) on the offensive board, Andersen jumps forward. Bad angle, refs makes the call. Missed call.
    2. Fight for loose ball, got grabbed, grabbed back. Questionable.
    3. Jump up, contest on D. Offensive player initiated contact, Bynum’s hands straight up but hasn’t reached Dwight Howard status yet so you won’t get that call.

    I actually recall only one hard foul on Carmelo toward the end of the game when he got frustrated.

    I fully expect Bynum to be a factor this game, with the refs making a better assessment of his activity and adjustments to get him the ball. For two straight games now he’s been keeping away from stupid fouls better as well as not appearing to foul.

  17. Hollinger’s the first to take Lebron to task (kind of) on all the strutting and posturing that he does, that somehow, makes him more endearing to most of the media:

    http://proxy.espn.go.com/chat/chatESPN?event_id=26568

  18. Darius is right. The high screen and roll was murder last game because guys like Nene were allowed to roll right to the hoop with a bounce pass feed. Lamar was often the guy was who late getting over on the back side. Let’s hope the coaches pointed this out in the film sessions.

    As for slowing Melo, I like the way the Lakers changed things up on him the other night. He had torched Ariza a good part of the game, but playing Walton and Kobe on him for stretches will at least make him think about what he’s doing, maybe have to change his approach depending upon who’s guarding him.

    If worse comes to worse, Kobe can revert to his “doberman” role a la the Olympics and work to lock down the best player at the end of the game.

    Hopefully he’ll have had some help with the offense prior to that point, because asking him to carry the weight on both ends of the floor is too much, even for Kobe.

  19. Not sure about what everyone think, but to me, Bynum is like Kobe in a sense when Kobe was young. What i mean is that he want to be a star, and i am not saying he can’t but he try too hard to be one, instead of just following the flow of the game. Either that or he is trying to be intimidating by trying to block at every book that came through his way, and ignore boxing.

  20. Really interested to see what adjustments are made by the Lakers in combating the Denver defense. It should be an advantage that we run a similar defense.

    Good points, Darius. Those four or five uncontested dunks the Nuggets had in the first quarter were unacceptable.

    I like that Lakers shook off the “lose the first quarter lose the game” stat, but I’d love to see them throw the first punch tonight. To continue with the boxing analogy, the rope-a-dope is too risky of a strategy because of the confidence it builds in the other team.

  21. If Bynum was like Kobe, he would own the league. If he had a fraction of the mentality that Kobe had, we would be in the midst of another dynasty. Kobe wasn’t a pudgeball who decided to start working out 2 months before the NBA Draft.

  22. I say that with affection, Drew.

  23. Snoopy2006. Thanks for link. Donnie Walsh, interim coach. wow! Adrian Dantley playing for the lakers. Le logo coaching the lakers and going nuts..as usual.

  24. I agree with pb, Lamar is the X-factor. His length could help us tremendously on defense if -and only if- he accepts the challenge to finally assert himself on this grand stage. Although we know he has the ability to score, he has not been assertive in this regard. He has not taken the responsibility to be the second or third scorer on this stage yet. Although he has the ability to play good defense, his defense has been nothing short of awful for most of last series and in game 1 of this series. I know that Lamar is hurt. The only reason that I’m raising this is because I believe that PJ needs to CHALLENGE him to be the one who steps-up.

    I would start the game with the same starters and match-ups that were used in game 1. However, the first substitution would be Lamar for Fisher. I would move Trevor over to guard Billups and put Odom on Melo (The CHALLENGE).

    Now before you tell me that Odum would get torched please hear me out.

    Most of you know that length bothers jump shooters. In past series it was actually Vlad Rad who did the best job on Melo. I would assign Lamar to crowd Melo and keep his hands up while on the perimeter (like Tashaun Prince plays Kobe). Lamars jobe would simple be to make all jumpers difficult.

    I would always double Melo on post-ups, He is to tough in there. This approach will leave our defense most vulnerable to dribble drives by Melo. As long as Lamar doesn’t quit once Melo drives past him he should be able to cover the pull ups and we must rely on our bigs to help if he gets near the rim.

    My final point is that so far our bigs have not been very effective at limiting penetration. I think this is happening because neither Pao or Andrew appear to be committed. When guards or forwards drive to the rim their are only 2 options: Go for the block or go to take the charge. My observation is that Andrew (due to fear of getting a foul) and Pao (not sure why) are always somewhere between these two options.

    If I were PJ I would free Andrew to go for the blocks and tell him not to let the fear of fouling out deter him. I he gets in early foul trouble DJ could sub in and play this role. I would tell Pao to be more decisive, either block or charge and don’t get caught between the two.

  25. If Kobe has to cover Melo for an extended period of time tonight, that will not work in our favor. Despite his great defense when he puts his mind to it, Melo has a couple of inches and 30 pounds on Kobe and is more than comfortable wrestling around in the low block. Now that Ariza hopefully has a better handle on his tendencies and where he likes to receive the ball (particularly in delayed transition), I expect he’ll have a better game defensively tonight.

  26. Are tacos in play during the playoffs, or is it just a regular season thing?

  27. j.d. Hastings May 21, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    I gotta say, I love the extra time and length that Kelly Dwyer is able to put into his recaps this deep into the playoffs. Each one is a little masterpiece of bball reflection

  28. 27. Tacos were in effect for game 7 against the Rockets. Not sure about this round. I can’t imagine the NBA is good with that during the Finals.

  29. 28. KD is amazing.

  30. completely unrelated, but DAMN i’m so happy i don’t have to root for the clippers. what a sorry excuse for a human being.

    http://deadspin.com/5263277/the-sordid-life-of-clippers-owner-donald-sterling

  31. http://my.lakers.com/blogs/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/fisher_denver_3.jpg

    Sasha’s an affectionate fellow, isn’t he? Doesn’t appear Fish is any more enthusiastic than Kobe usually is.

    I agree that Lamar may swing the game (especially defensively if he’s on Melo) but personally I feel, as I did before Game 1, that bench play will be crucial to our success. They truly saved the game for us with their (20-2?) run. Hopefully they can come up big and outplay the Nugs reserves again.

  32. Trevor has always been a better help defender than a 1-on-1 defender. He has the tools to get better, but I don’t think we should expect any shut-down defense from him.

  33. Craig W – You’re absolutely right. Sometimes we as Laker fans get over-excitable. Ariza’s a stud, no doubt, but he’s not the lockdown individual defender some of us have made him out to be. Great as a help defender, though, really plays the passing lanes well.

    Adande’s got a new piece up on ESPN. I’m not sure I buy most of the article, but I do agree that we’re not (or rather, the NBA is not) hyping up this Kobe/Melo match-up enough. This is some serious superstar power, and the 2 purest scorers in the game, who also went to battle defensively. Definitely a top match-up in the league.

  34. I think this is the game Drew gets off to a big start. Hopefully he can stay out of foul trouble while still patroling the paint.

  35. is the game at 5 or 6PM pacific? I’ve seen ads running with both times.

  36. Chris, I know is it’s at 9PM Eastern, and 7PM Mountain time. That makes it 6PM Pacific though, right? (Still learning the time zones…)

  37. 36 Chris, I think the pregame show starts an hour earlier, at least that’s what it says on my Tivo

  38. the game is at 6 p.m. they say 5 p.m. for the playoff coverage.

  39. Mimsy’s right, the actual game’s at 6 pm LA time. It’s ESPN so the pre-game show will start at least half an hour earlier (or an hour, as Don said).

  40. There is a “Dream Season 23 vs 24″ showing right now on ESPN showing the past year for Kobe & Bron. Mostly older interviews and footage but still pretty good. They’re not debating them, just showing each one’s “road to greatness” if you will.

  41. thanks all! dang, I missed the first quarter of the last game. here I am, watching every game of the season, sometimes having to scramble because I’m out of town, (I can feel ya down under there in Oz mate, I had to find a game down there once, and it started at 6AM, in a 24 hour sports gaming joint) and here I am at home, lounging around waiting til the 7:30 tip off…I go to set my tivo, and BAM! it’s already in progress.
    but from what I heard, I think I’m glad I missed the first quarter of game 1…

  42. Adam – dude, great heads-up. I can’t believe ESPN didn’t advertise this more.

    Does anyone know if this will be replayed?

  43. Snoop, no problem. It also offers us the oh-so fortunate opportunity to listen to Justin Timberlake for an hour…

  44. If Bynum (Benoit Benjamin) & L.O. do not show up then this will be a short series in favor of Denver. However, as Kareem stated regarding Benoit err.. Bynum there is growth and perhaps sooner than later Bynum will come out of his shell and start asserting himself on defensively & offensively. Hopefully, this will start tonight and continue throughout the playoffs.

    How would you like the Lakers to have Posey coming off the bench instead of Walton? They both make the same amount of money. Can anyone tell me why Walton is in the league besides his last name. Maybe Mitch was having flashbacks during his collegiate partying days at North Carolina and thought he was drafting Bill.

  45. lmao is that Justin Timberlake narrating? Wow that makes so much sense. I was wondering why they went with an apparent pre-pubescent narrator instead of the usual Darth Vader approach.

  46. Am I the only one thinking blowout?

    Think about this:
    Game 1 was a game where Denver threw its first punch, and we never really recovered but still somehow managed to win.

    Essentially, it’s our turn to ‘react,’ and take away what was successful for Denver.

    Denver, on the other hand, did just about everything right but the last 6 minutes or so (or the first few free throws, depending on your perspective). Which means that there’s really nothing they can game plan for this game, but see how we make our first move.

    Granted, I wouldn’t bank on anything when it comes to this Lakers, but I have great confidence in Karl not being able to counter effectively in-game, and I truly believe that blunders like those made by the Nuggets at the end of the game are the kind that you can’t suddenly veer away from just by showing a few clips and yelling at them. (we all knew Martin would do something silly, as well as Karl).

    So, if, and this is a big if, we come out with good focus and energy, I see us building a quick lead and don’t relinquish it. Considering that the onus is on us to defend home court while they can always say “it ain’t a series until somebody wins on the road,” a quick lead could lead them to capitulate.

    Yes, and I can just as clearly see us coughing up any lead we built, but hey, as a fan I reserve the right to be optimistic every now and then.

  47. Ha, yeah you’re the second person w/ exact that reaction…Good ol’ JT keeping it real on ESPN

  48. What’s up all….Good Morning from fogged in, cold, Melbourne.

    nba.com emailed me this morning telling me that they’re looking into the problem with the radio feeds. Bit late for Game 1. And can you believe my DVR stopped the game with 1:12 to go??? Hopefully today is better for me!

  49. Wow these ESPN game intros suck. “He has inspired us before. He inspired us again.” Did the producer’s 4-year old kid write this?

    TNT, where art thou?

  50. Walton keeps his cool and is not really fazed when playing with Kobe, and makes highlight passes every now and then ;)

    As for letting Melo score, you all must be out of your mind. The man scored 39 when we tried NOT to let him score, how much do you think he will get when you just concede? Do we want to see somebody else score 80+? That’s extreme, but I think Van Gundy said it best when he said he would do it to LeBron if it’s just 30. Yeah, if letting him score means 30, heck, that’s much better than trying to stop him ;)

    Still, let’s hope we solve their fronting our frontline and get THEM into foul trouble.

  51. Thanks Snoop, I was gonna tape the Pre-Game…forget it now!

  52. Ok, here’s my summary of things.

    The Nuggets didn’t do a hell of a lot wrong Tuesday night, where we did a lot wrong. I was reading an article on ESPN (or was it Lakers.com??) which said, “The Lakers are in the position to make plenty of adjustments, whereas the Nuggets only need to fine tune stuff”.

    That’s pretty much right. I expect us to come out and handle our business tonight. The bigs (and guards) will learn to live with the fronting on offense, Kobe will make a heap more shots on the block (he kept missing fade aways which were good looks).

    All good, no major concerns from my end about this game. I actually don’t think it will be as close as everyone is talking. The Nuggets gave it close to their best shot Tuesday in my opinion….

    Lakers by 12.

  53. Benoit Benjamin? That’s out of line.

    (Of course, I dubbed Oden a bust halfway through this season so maybe I have no room to talk.)

  54. Re: Guarding Melo, I am in the boat that Odom would probably be our best match up on Anthony. He has the length to give him some space yet still contest the jumpshot. Also our best to defend him on the block. In any case, we need to have the size to rebound, and the speed to get back on defense.

    We’ve talked a lot on here in the past about the deficiencies of an Odom/Gasol/Bynum front line, and they may not have the speed to keep up. Also, we need to be able to stretch the floor and this line-up isn’t ideal for that. But another that could work is Odom at the 4, with Walton at the 3 (Gasol or Bynum at center). Walton and Odom would switch defensive assignments w/ Odom on Anthony and Walton guarding Martin or Birdman. Some may laugh, but I think Luke can body up well enough to stay with either of those two, as they aren’t more than average in the post with the ball. Also, Luke tends to box out and rebound well.

    Regardless, we need a team effort on D, but I’m just trying to think ideal match ups. I don’t think we’ll see Kobe on Anthony but in clutch moments down the stretch or spot runs throughout the game. We can’t have Kobe expending too much energy or getting into foul trouble on defense – we need him on the other end.

    Other than that, I look for our front line to be very impressive tonight, and also for some big shots from Billups to keep the game close.

  55. I just can’t get this ignant smirk off my face as this panel on the pre-game show devise ways to come up with……explanations for Lebron giving up the ball on the last possession of the game. lol.

  56. Is everyone that engrossed in the pre-game show, there’s no chatter here? :(

  57. i really dont like the espn guys so I avoid they’re pregame

  58. Every commentator and analyst has their plusses and minuses. The only one I can’t stand is Mark Jackson.

  59. im so happpy they show pregame intros!

  60. 55

    Ditto. Stuart Scott alone is bad enough before you throw in Michael Wilbon, Jon Barry, and whoever else they have on there.

  61. Oh, I’m gonna kick some NBA All Access a$$ in a minute. Looks like the radio feeds are still down….ARGGHHH

  62. I look for a dominant performance out of our front line tonight…Also, i’m thinking Billups will be living up to his name and help to keep this close.

  63. an this ia a huge game 2. we win and we can really take their hearts out. they win and they go home for 2 games in a very hostile environment, and could easily get both. that means a 3-1 got the Nuggets, we win tonight, we’re up 2-0, and all we have to do is get a split in D, we’re the ones up 3-1.
    better bring it fellas, cuz they are in A MUST win situation tonight.
    and SO ARE WE!!
    game 2, now, it’s on!
    intensity, focus, control the emotions, don’t complain on calls, hot your shots, rebound!!!

  64. I think the ESPN/ABC studio guys are pretty lame (the idea that Stuart Scott is the best the country has to offer makes me sad), but I’m willing to make that trade-off not to have to listen to Doug Collins.

    Mark Jackson should be “accidentally” locked in a room under Staples Center for the duration, but it’s still an improvement. And whoever at the networks thinks three-man announcing teams are a good thing should be locked in with him.

  65. Trevor, watching you dribble drive hurts almost as much as Fish’s PUJITs. Players need to be reminded to play within their games.

  66. just following gamecast… are we seeing good defense or just sloppy offense?

  67. Bynum’s doing a good job of getting position and being active on the offensive end. Seems like there were a couple times Ariza could have gotten the ball in to him and was tentative. Gotta reward the big fella.

    As I say that, beautiful post entry pass over the front.

    Wow they’re calling this game really tight.

  68. WOW…4 fouls on Dahntay Jones in less than six minutes…can we get a precedent for this?

  69. Tough call for Jones. Really hurts being a no-name in this league.

  70. Someone tell Jones he’s not Kobe.
    Gosh. 4 fouls. 0-of-2. God.

  71. Dahntay Jones has picked up 4 fouls in the first 5:48. Impressive.

  72. Let’s go. Game 2.

    Here’s what I expect from my Nuggets:
    1) More ball pressure.
    Great pressure defense creates turnovers, and the Nuggets just have that ability. They have done it in the 1st quarter of Game 1, and what was the result? A double-digit lead. They are good at intercepting passes and deflecting the ball, which results on the opponent’s lack of ball movement.

    2) Revived Billups and JR Smith.
    I don’t have any doubts regarding this, expect them to be more aggressive and make the right plays (take away JR’s mental lapses during heated play/or when things are not going in his way). Whatever happens, I’m taking those 2 shooting all day since they are 2 legitimate shooters.

    3) Contain Kobe, er, Pau Gasol, I mean.
    No one can contain Kobe, except himself, so I’m taking it on Pau Gasol.
    Nene did a great job making Gasol a passer, clogging the passing lanes for Gasol and whenever he touches the ball, he gets two defenders on him.
    I expect Gasol, the wise player that he is, to be more aggressive, but I expect Nene to know that. So, this is going to be a tough test on him because he fouled out last game, therefore, he might be a little bid laidback on the first quarter.

    Game 2 is the most important game to win in every series (except for Game 7).

  73. i kinda feel bad for jones

    4 fouls already

    dam that sucks

  74. and pau gasol is being tentative again, ugh.

  75. i think were gonna get more love from this officiating crew

  76. My “keys for my team” isn’t getting any showing. “Awaiting moderation”

  77. sloppy? 4 TOs already

  78. Our offense has certainly been sloppy. And Kobe took a quick three that I really wasn’t fond of.

  79. Maybe it’s foolish to think players will change overnight, but one thing I’d like to see in Bynum is a consistent demeanor: locked in. I don’t like seeing his head bowed over, or shoulders slumped over.

  80. Need to get Bynum and Pau the ball in the post. They are doing a better job of moving from the strong side to the weak to try and get the ball but there been some bad passes. Some credit goes to Denver, you can tell their whole defense is going to be predicated on not letting Gasol any good looks, but a lot of it is bad execution.

  81. Sorry for the delay in moderation. Still at work.

  82. See good things happen when Pau gets the ball in the post and when you attack the basket.

  83. The Lakers are getting to the FT line, good to see.

  84. I have asked this last game, and I’ll ask it again.

    “Who the heck is Ariza?”

  85. Wow Martin won’t ever miss if he keeps getting shots like that.

  86. Unexplainable May 21, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    Anyone where I could possibly watch this online? I just moved into a new apartment and I’m laid up in bed sick, so I can’t go out to watch…..any help would be immensely appreciated

  87. Why is Odom rotating onto JR leaving Martin alone and then not rotating back.

  88. Our defense is much better to start this game, but our offense is still hesitant and disjointed.

  89. Our defense was good when Bynum was in. With Odom it’s back to usual.

  90. Tom Cruise’s son looks like Stephen Curry.

  91. Mamba is sharp early

  92. sasha at the point

  93. ozlaker,
    I won’t try to speak for anyone else, but I was having dinner during the pre-game show. When you get out of work an hour before tip-off, and have to make a couple on your way home, then unfortunately chattering on the blog during the pre-game show is secondary to having dinner.

    I like our energy! There is hustling, heart, playing like it matters… and that was CLEAN!

  94. And the myths of Phil Jackson’s excellent free throw defense continue…

  95. Oh, and Birdman, Ariza is our secret weapon. Our sleeper agent. Our cloak-and-dagger assassin!

    You get the idea. :)

    He’s been doing these things all season. He just doesn’t get a lot of media attention.

  96. please make a shot today sasha

  97. Well, Denver are in a similar to hole to the one we found ourselves in after the 1st quarter of Game 1. The question is, can we maintain the effort when Kobe rests this quarter?

  98. Man, Sasha can’t hit anything – it’s a sad sight considering how great he was last year.

    Kobe and Pau looking sharp tonight.

  99. Kobe not happy with Sasha after he missed that haha

  100. Linas Kleiza for three

    For some reason I’m wary of him. Perhaps because the only Den – LAL game I had seen in recent memory (perhaps last year) had one of his best games against us.

  101. Wow. Just Wow.
    That’s 7-of-11 from CB at the line.

  102. 100. cos that was the second time kobe could have shot but chose to pass to sasha instead

  103. Meant to post this earlier, if you need a link for tonight ESPN360 has it:

    http://sports.espn.go.com/broadband/espn360/index?id=290521013

  104. a mcuh better start than Game 1, Lakers are active on defense and shooting the ball well

  105. Let’s hope Kobe has some legs left for the 4th.

    Or better yet, let’s hope we don’t need him in the 4th.

    Lakers making me look smart so far.

  106. Kenyon Martin is by far the most productive Nugget so far. That’s a good thing.

  107. For anyone wanting an online feed: http://en.justin.tv/movieexpress#mychat

  108. Earth to Lamar: you have a right hand

  109. Kobe getting to the line is such a key. It keeps him above the “point per shot” mark that most opposing teams would like to hold him to, and it gets him rolling with his stroke.

  110. cant we have farmar and brown instead of sasha?

  111. Lamar ODom leaving Kleiza all alone in the corner again…

  112. Sasha must be thanking his lucky stars he already got paid, because if he were a free agent this summer I don’t know if anyone would pick him up.

  113. sasha takes some wild shots, none of which he makes

  114. If we had last year’s Sasha, we would be soooo in control.

  115. i just wish sasha would only shoot when he is wide open, with his feet set – not off screens

  116. Lindsay Nicole May 21, 2009 at 6:48 pm

    Wow, Sasha has been horrible.. it drives me crazy to watch him.

    Kobe and Pau are definitely on top of it tonight.

  117. Good. Let’s pound it to build Bynum’s game and to put the Nuggets bench in foul trouble.

  118. I like how Bynum is playing. Moves well, moves with confidence, no stupid fouls… I like this!

  119. ladies and gentlemen.. pls welcome your 2013 lakers..

  120. Man, I’ve been waiting a while to see a game like this…hope they can keep it up!

  121. Lindsay Nicole May 21, 2009 at 6:51 pm

    We totally have this game. They’re making some great rebounds and assists tonight.

  122. Farmar is playing great. He’s out to prove that he could be a starter on this team in the future.

  123. welcome back, farmar. we missed you.

  124. Farmar putting on a clinic!

  125. I feel bad for Sasha. At least he is not making stupid mistakes. He’s taking good shots in rhythm which do not seem to be going in for him this year.

  126. 9 boards for Pau…you tell me he’s got that in the first 14 minutes anytime, and I can tell you the Lakers are most certainly winning.

  127. Furious George returns.

  128. Farmar is showing he does not want to lose any playing time

  129. Denver’s falling apart. Right now they look like the Denver from last year. Surprises me I didn’t think they would get so flustered. Maybe they will turn it around and make it a game (I hope not).

  130. Unexplainable May 21, 2009 at 6:55 pm

    thanks to the people who provided linkage

  131. Farmar is doing a good job tonight!

  132. lol @ Darius…that was one red faced George, eh?

  133. Melo has such a pretty Jumper for a guy his size. The only guys his size that shoot that well and get get their shot off so quick are Dirk and Durant.

  134. Unexplainable: We know how you feel…. glad to hear the links worked! :)

  135. Bynum is playing well. He is very active which is good to see.

  136. Lindsay Nicole May 21, 2009 at 7:00 pm

    Wow go Bynum!

  137. great play by the Lakers Bynum with the dunk

  138. These are the Nuggets we know and love.

  139. Bynum’s decisiveness is what is really impressing me..whether he’s making them or not.

  140. Let’s not get all giddy people, 11-15 points aren’t a lot in a game like this

  141. @Adam T:
    Agreed. He is playing with confidence again. Whatever caused that, I really hope it lasts!

  142. Aaaand Kobe just Passed Kareem on the play-off scoring list for the Lakers! Only person left to beat on that list: The Logo himself.

    Cue the scary music…

  143. And here are the Lakers we know and love.

  144. Lamar are you planning to cover Kleiza this game?

  145. talk about a game of runs…our shrunken lead is discouraging, but we should not expect anything less from this Denver team. That is what we need to keep in mind – they’re a very good team.

  146. why are we leaving good shooters open?

  147. Lead diminishing rapidly…and foul trouble for Smith and Jones is giving Kleiza free reign.

  148. Mimsy – it’s that bipolar disorder…really distorting ;)

  149. kobe really not liking being guarded by melo

  150. Lindsay Nicole May 21, 2009 at 7:12 pm

    Seriously? Nuggets just racked up points and came back quick. Come onnn.

  151. Is it against the law to give the ball to Pau in the post?

  152. Confusingly similar half-time situation to Game 1. One team runs out to a lead, then manages to lose it all by the half.

  153. I saw that play by Billups coming the second I saw Kobe turn his back

  154. Brethren, we’ve got a ball game.

  155. I dont want to see more Bynum in the next half. Les Lamar please…

  156. By all means, block the layup, Gasol.

  157. The starters cam back in and lost the energy the bench had brought at the beginning of the quarter.

  158. Billups with the playground play there. The Lakers relaxed just a little and Denver hit some shots. Plus the Lakers stopped going inside for the last 3 minutes.

  159. Phil should have called a timeout when the Nuggets were on the 12-0 run… Some of the blame is on Phil too.

  160. emh – agreed, looked like we were trying to ride our lead into halftime instead of extending it.

  161. Kobe fell in love with going one on one with Melo. We forgot to keep pounding it inside. Can’t let up!

  162. is this tennis? is coaching not allowed? I jyst cannot buy that letting them work it out canard.

  163. Phil wasn’t out there playing. He wasn’t the one giving up wide open shots.

  164. Just execute. The starters were so flat when they came back. Come on now.

  165. One stint that really hurt in retrospect was when Luke and Sasha were in the game together. They both missed multiple open shots after great D that would have really stretched the lead. We’re getting the inside play we need but if we can’t knock down open jumpers it’ll be trouble in the second half because Denver is going to start packing the lane.

  166. Dang. Big lead given up again. Bad three minutes. Going to be a great second half.

  167. I missed all but the last minute or so of the first half because I was still at work. Here’s what I’ve got so far:

    -Lakers were up 14 but now are up one, this is because the Nuggets locked ‘em down a little on D over the second half of the 2nd quarter. Lakers D also got a little flat in the second.

    -Martin has been torching us on the block, ‘Melo started cold but has been heating up. Kobe, meanwhile, has been Kobe and the bigs have been scoring some.

    -That play where Billups passed it to himself off of Kobe’s back was gangsta.

    Anything else that I should know, something about the bench that the numbers aren’t telling me? Prognosis for the second half?

  168. we really have not had an answer for Kenyon Martin coming from the baseline either – he continues to get a wide open lane to the basket off the pass. The team needs to find a way to shut that down

  169. Identical Half time score.

    Let’s hope the final score is identical too.

  170. The Dude Abides May 21, 2009 at 7:33 pm

    I know Drew was probably out of gas there at the end of the half, but his presence would have helped down low on some of those offensive rebounds that we gave up.

  171. Look, Martin’s not torching anyone on the block, Nuggets didn’t lock us down. Kobe went one-on-one a few times, missed contested shots, Odom blew a layup. On the other end, Fisher made a mistake doubling off Billups, Kleiza got open off a loose ball, and fouled on a loose ball. All preventable mistakes. Keep playing the way we were playing and control the things you can control and we’ll come out on top

  172. In the latest, quite famous Bill Simmons chat, he said something along the lines of “I really hope the Celtics make a run at Ariza this summer. The Lakers can’t afford he and Odom”…that makes me enjoy watching Ariza in the yellows that much more. We all know he is a keeper.

  173. I was really hoping that the Lakers end the half with about 13-15 point lead, but instead they almost gave the lead entirely.

    I think Luke, LO, and Ariza when they are guarding Kleiza need to stay home no matter what happens in the second half.

    I think if we played D with the same intensity, we’ll be alright. We also need LO and Bynum to finish the layups and dunks!

  174. Ariza needs that midrange game.

  175. So far we have one starter in double figures. I’m thinking that will need to change…

  176. My mistake. Two. Still needs to change though.

  177. E Roc – As long as he’s hitting that three, I’m not complaining. But this summer, more than anything, I’d like to see him improve on his handle.

  178. We can’t give them extra possessions.

  179. Damn, the energy is just not good. Need to get the momentum back.

  180. Need to double Melo he is torching us. Good pass and shot there.

  181. activity gone on defence

  182. Bynum gave up too early on that play.

  183. The Dude Abides May 21, 2009 at 7:41 pm

    And, I hate Drew’s lack of energy this half. He isn’t doing anything right now. Phil noticed it, too.

  184. it would help the staples wasen’t so quite

  185. Ariza with the slaaaaammmmmm dunk

  186. Lakers are a little flat right now. Need to pick up the energy. And they are being a little sloppy.

  187. Ah, forget that midrange game, Ariza.

  188. 4th foul on Nene can’t be a bad thing for us.

  189. Trevor Ariza = Energy

  190. The Dude Abides May 21, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    Ugh. That play looked dirtier than it actually was. Hope Trevor’s OK.

  191. Ariza’s dunk.

    wow wow wow wow wow wow wow

  192. Lakers were successful driving to the basket early in the game. Denver has made it harder to do but they should continue to try to penetrate.

  193. The longer the game lasts, the better position we’ll be in. Dahntay with 5, Nene with 4, Smith with 3, and our guys are starting to wake up a bit.

  194. we need somehow to get gasol more shots

  195. This game is gonna go down to the wire.

  196. emh101 – Exactly. We’re getting calls in there.

  197. Am I bad luck?

    I got home late from work and the Lakers were up 14 and once I turned on the TV, they immediately started losing that lead until it got to 1 at half.

    Should I stop watching?

  198. Denver’s “physical” defense of reaching and fouling is going to bite them in the 4th. Already showing signs – giving up a Dunk to Ariza by not wanting to foul. Great job by us not letting up on attacking the basket.

  199. Ariza has really improved as the season has progressed. His confidence level is sky high. He knocks down a few 3s then he smart enough to pump fake and attack the basket when the defense adjusts.

  200. That’s 4 for K-Mart!

  201. The Dude Abides May 21, 2009 at 7:49 pm

    Kobe got away with a push off there. We rarely get away with those.

  202. There we go, taking it inside is getting it done. Ariza certainly loves playing at Staples!

  203. Wow, Kobe got away with one. That was obvious, though Jones probably flopped too much.

  204. Has ariza missed a shot.

  205. ariza has to take that himself

  206. when will fish learn..

  207. i like how kobe is responding to the frustration right now.. continuing to pound it inside to gasol.. thats maturity..

    and of course the baseline dunk was good as well..

  208. Fisher scares me near the basket.

  209. Apart from Fish, our starters are shooting lights out.

  210. I’m wondering what is worse…Fisher Lapup in Transition or PUJIT

  211. I’m so pissed at Fisher now, what is he thinking ? arggghghgh

  212. Gasol and Odom are really crashing the boards, both offensively and defensively.

  213. Is that a 5th on Nene?

  214. Fisher in a funk that rivals Sasha’s.

  215. Love how we are attacking the basket. When Gasol comes with the mind set that he is going to get every rebound, he is a really good rebounder particularly on the offensive end. One of the best offensive rebounders in the game.

  216. Does Fisher ever make a driving layup?? I mean really….

  217. Fish is attacking the basket????

  218. I love that we’re attacking the basket, but NOT Fisher please !!!!!

  219. The Dude Abides May 21, 2009 at 7:54 pm

    I just wish D-Fish would magically realize his limitations. He absolutely cannot finish over Denver’s bigs on his drives, yet he keeps doing it. At least they occasionally create offensive rebounding situations for our bigs.

  220. Fish had no intention of making that shot he just wanted a foul. Nene did a good job of not fouling.

  221. Even fish needs to give opponents different looks if he is going to make threes.

    Still, it would help if he made one or two of those layups.

  222. One thing about Fish driving to the basket and missing though, is it has opened up offensive rebounds for Pau.

  223. We’re really not taking advantage of being in the bonus.

  224. Maybe it’s time to Hack a Melo…seems like he’s missing more free throws than anything else.

  225. A little more effort in rebounding from Drew and Lamar would be appreciated.

  226. Hopefully Drew will come back in for Lamar and show the intensity he had in the 1st half.

  227. We are having trouble matching up with their small line up. Maybe Phil needs to go small as well.

  228. Great pass Luke!

    Billups is feeling it though. If Billups and Anthony get hot together, look out.

  229. Hopefully the Lakers can close out the last 2 mins with a strong run.

  230. A couple tick tack fould called on the Lakers these last few minutes.

  231. Umm . . . ticky tack.

  232. That was not a foul there.

  233. Not really consolidating any lead…we make some good plays on one end, then give it back on the other…

  234. Good D there by Denver forcing Bryant to pass the ball then closing out well to prevent the open shot.

  235. I think I would prefer Bynum at the end of the 4th, instead of Lamar. I guess that’s not a surprise, coming from me.

  236. Where is Bynum PHIL!!!!!??? the Lakers controlled the game when he was in there
    !!

  237. What has me worried is that I can’t really say that the Lakers are playing all that bad, apart from the usual not getting Pau enough shots stuff (but I take that as a given these days).

    But I guess Denver is good.

  238. j. d. hastings May 21, 2009 at 8:08 pm

    After rewinding, neither Pau’s foul on Anthony, nor kobe’s were actual fouls. Not with the hands or body. 4 points for Melo, 5 point lead becomes 1.

  239. Am I watching the same game? Bynum was in there and not giving us much when we gave up the lead in the second.

  240. Wow, are guards not named Bryant are shooting just awfull tonight.

  241. Hard to put Gasol and Bynum out there when Kleiza is playing the 4. Is Gasol or Bynum going to cover him out at the 3 pt line?

  242. Did Kobe catch a technical foul tonight?

  243. j. d. hastings May 21, 2009 at 8:09 pm

    Mr. Hyde was the bad one that you don’t want to be I think.

  244. Kobe for the entire 4th again?

  245. Yes, Dr Jekyll is the good guy, Mr Hyde is the bad one.

    I seriously need to remove Pau Misses Free Throw from my game-night drinking game. Also, the refs tonight are… not very good.

  246. Bad Call!!!

  247. Wow. That wasn’t a foul either.

  248. How hard is it to understand….you don’t foul billups

  249. 3 bad calls and 6 pts for the Nuggets in the last 4 minutes of the game.

  250. Did anybody see a Kobe Technical tonight?

  251. j. d. hastings May 21, 2009 at 8:14 pm

    I anybody even pretending to have responsibility for guarding Kleiza?

  252. Have to put a body on Melo and need to get Kobe back in there.

  253. Why is Phil not putting Bynum in?

  254. cant believe phil took kobe out

  255. Lakers offense is sloppy again. And they are not attacking the boards as they once were.

  256. Bynum is not in because Kleiza is playing at the 4. But I guess no one else is guarding him either.

  257. kobe didn’t get no technical..

    if they’re going small we shd b going bigger.. just ask the 06 suns.

  258. Luke Walton sucks, get that sorry foo out of LA

  259. Lakers play with no heart, I’m so mad

  260. I’ll say it again–our perimeter players will have to knock down some open shots. Denver is packing it in the paint.

  261. I am now thinking of giving up on the drinking game and just drink.

    We need a lot of three-pointers and free throws right now.

  262. This is starting to look like a struggle…

  263. WAY too early to panic.

  264. 4th 3pter of the game for us…

  265. Have to keep attacking the basket and get to the FT line. Also need to force the ball out of Melo’s hand.

    And please go inside.

  266. The Dude Abides May 21, 2009 at 8:20 pm

    I fear that Kobe will have to go nova for us to win this game.

  267. Definitly too early to panic, but I have some concerns about our defense. Not enough stops.

  268. A lot of ticky tack fouls being called against the Lakers. That was a turnover by Billups.

  269. Dude – afraid, perhaps…confident? probably as well

  270. Fair enough, still too early to panic. That said, I still want our defense to step up.

    Also, I love Shannon Brown.

  271. There we go, good things happen when you attack the basket and fight for offensive rebounds.

  272. Kobe’s getting into that take over mode again…

    While I would prefer he would just lay off a bit, I don’t think he can do that now. His teammates are not really responding.

  273. Brown with the 3!

  274. and as i press enter, shannon brown drills a three

  275. Outstanding work of Pau int offensive rebound.Good dirty work

  276. what is karl doing taking melo out?

  277. Why is LUke Walton in the game, all he needs to do is guard the three on Kleiza and he still moves off him

  278. The Dude Abides May 21, 2009 at 8:23 pm

    I love Shannon too, but he’s channeling his inner Derek Fisher too often in this game by driving to the hole when it’s one-on-three.

  279. these lakers look soft!

    Gasol and Bynum are big Puss*es!!!!

    they wont win with these dorks

  280. Put in Ariza now!!!!!!!!

  281. Question,

    was shannon brown “the man” for MSU during his college days?

  282. The Dude Abides May 21, 2009 at 8:25 pm

    Ugh…my post #263 is still awaiting moderation. This seems to happen at random, out of nowhere.

  283. Lakers have awakened a bit.

  284. George Karl’s rotations are not making sense. Why take Kleiza out when the smaller line up was killing the Lakers.

  285. audaces fortuna iuvat

  286. Get Luke Out! Put Ariza in!

  287. j. d. hastings May 21, 2009 at 8:29 pm

    hmm. I’d feel a bit more comfortable with Ariza in there than Walton.

  288. Luke is one of the worst Lakers ever!

  289. Mico – Brown was not “the man”, but he was definitely a leader and top player on a good MSU squad. He is more a playmaker overall than a true scorer

  290. I have to agree put Ariza back in.

  291. j. d. hastings May 21, 2009 at 8:30 pm

    What??! Melo has his elbow in Luke’s throat and Luke gets the foul???

  292. is trev injured?

  293. Ariza was grimacing on the bench. Is he hurting from that fall?

  294. I am SO glad I took Pau Misses Free Throw out of the drinking game…

  295. can someone post the updated score?

  296. Bad Call !!!

  297. ESPN, please show us all where the foul was there.