Lakers Preseason Game #7: The Denver Nuggets

Kurt —  October 22, 2009

Los Angeles Lakers vs Denver Nuggets Game 5 NBA Western Conference finals in Los Angeles
Tonight is the first game in a while when the Laker rotations could look normal, at least for the first 12 minutes or so. That’s because Pau Gasol and Luke Walton are back, along with Lamar Odom. And in case you were wondering, Andrew Bynum is expected to play despite the minor shoulder injury.

And this is a good team for that to happen against, one of the top teams in the West. Denver has athletes that will run with Bynum down the floor. They have a great point guard. They have the tools to challenge the Lakers in a way other teams this preseason have not. It’s time for a game with a little more intensity.

The thing that is going to bug me tonight (and tomorrow): Every time an analyst says something about Denver seeking revenge for the playoffs. I can assure you the Nuggets don’t see a preseason game that way. Nobody does.

What I want to see this game is how the Lakers do on interior defense with all the big guys back — Denver was fifth in the NBA last year in points scored per game in the paint. The Lakers were second. Even though this is preseason, it will be interesting who can control the paint, who can force the other team to shoot jumpers.

Other things I’m looking forward to seeing tonight are a few minutes of Melo/Artest; and Ty Lawson of Denver and which Lakers backup PG is matched with him (and how that defense goes). That is the kind of match up that, come the games that matter, determines who is the first PG off the bench.

Tonight’s game is on TNT (7:30 start), live from the Honda Center in Anaheim (where much of the crowd could be focused on the Angels plight). For Nugs info, check out Roundball Mining Company. This is the first night of a back-to-back against the Nugs (tomorrow the game is on ESPN, already the national broadcasts start).