Preview & Chat: The Denver Nuggets

Kurt —  February 5, 2010

[picappgallerysingle id=”4892165″]
Records: Lakers 38-12 (1st in West) Nuggets 33-16 (2nd in West, 4.5 games back of Lakers)
Offensive points per 100 possessions: Lakers 109.3 (10th in league), Nuggets: 111.6 (3rd in league)
Defensive points per 100 possessions: Lakers 102.2. (2nd in league) Nuggets 106.3 (12th in league)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum
Nuggets: Chancey Billups, Aaron Affalo, Joey Graham, Kenyon Martin, Nene

Are any of the superstars playing tonight? Well, Kobe is for sure, he confirmed it at shoot around this morning. Did you really think he wouldn’t play? (If you played it smart, wouldn’t you play a couple more games then say after Monday night against the Spurs that you can’t keep going, miss the Jazz game on Wednesday but also get to sit out All Star Weekend, giving you a week off? He’s not going to do that, just sayin.)

Carmelo Anthony said it would take a “miracle” for him to play tonight. Still, I would not be surprised to see him in warmups and ready to go. Let me put it this way, if I had ‘Melo on my fantasy team, he’s not back in the starting rotation yet, but you keep your eye out because he will be soon.

What is interesting is the contrast between how these two deal with the injury. Kobe will not be kept off the court. Even if he should be. Carmelo wants to be 100% before he returns (ala Gasol and his hamstring). Really, I don’t think one is better or worse than the other, players should choose what is best for them and their bodies. This is how they make a living. But the approaches are an interesting contrast.

Nuggets coming in: I listened to a pretty honest interview George Karl did on Jim Rome’s radio show earlier this week. Karl was up front that he would love to get one more player via trade, but also realized that his franchise is not going to take on more salary, and that a move is very unlikely.

He also seemed to be sending a message to his team that they can beat the Lakers with what they have come the playoffs. (I’m sure he’s pumping that up a lot right now in practices and meetings.) It’s a confidence thing, Karl has to get this team to believe it can beat the Lakers in a series before it can happen — for all the skills and Xs and Os, the difference between the top teams can be more about confidence than skills. He knows they are close, he knows that Denver is a little better than last year. But getting them to believe they are over the hump will be the challenge.

So what are the Nuggets like without Carmelo Anthony? Well, as you would expect, their offense takes a big hit — they score 5.5 fewer points per game. (Their defense is unaffected.) That’s a problem, as they win games with their offense first, so the Nuggets are 7-4 this season without Melo.

They also have been a bad road team 11-12 away from the Pepsi Center.

Nuggets blogs Roundball Mining Company is filled with smart people.

Keys to game: If there is no Carmelo tonight, then there will be more Billups in the Nuggets offense. That is not necessarily good for the Lakers.

First thing — you have to step out on Billups above the three-point line when he brings it up. Billups and Baron Davis love the pull-up three more than any two guards in the league (in an ESPN Chat, Mr. Clipperblog Kevin Anovitz said the difference is that Billups makes his). Billups is shooting 45.6% from three in the Nuggets last 10 games.

They will also post Billups up or run him off multiple screens to get him open. Defending him does not fall to Fisher (or Farmar or Brown) alone, the team has to defend him.

The other guy the Lakers can’t let get hot is JR Smith — just part of the battle of the benches that will be key tonight. Smith loves the spot up three in transition, but he will put it on the floor and drive if you run at him, so again it is a team defense not just one man. They also run him off a lot of screens (which should look familiar to Afflalo from his UCLA days).

On offense, the last meeting the Nuggets doubled Bynum hard in the post, and that took Bynum out of his game and he did not adjust well. Tonight he needs to react better, the ball needs to come out and swing to the weakside fast.

Where you can watch: 7:30 p.m. start here out west, on ESPN and Fox Sports. Plus, ESPN radio 710am.


291 responses to Preview & Chat: The Denver Nuggets

  1. This one is for Warren!!!

    0

  2. WhiteLightnin’ February 5, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    I’d love to see a lot of Sasha on Smith; they seem to dislike each other and it would be good to try and get Sasha’s fire goin early. Lets get some of that three point shooting we so desperately need. That could open up our bigs who didn’t do too hot the last game against Denver.

    Also, I really hope we see more Walton (WhiteLightnin’=Luke). He makes the offense click.

    0

  3. Heartbreaking.

    0

  4. Morrison paid good money for that scouting report! (I kid…mostly…)

    It simply shows the difference between the NBA and anywhere else. The NBA is first and foremost about athletic ability. Speed, quickness, body control, agility, leaping ability, strength, and stamina.

    Being “a step or two ahead of everyone mentally” simply doesn’t matter if they are all two or three steps ahead of you physically. How often have we heard coaches and trainers talk about the need for rookies and bench players to slow down, or to let the game come to them?

    As they saying goes, you cannot teach height. The same is true of speed. NBA players, in general, are unbelievably fast.

    I would love it if Morrison could get it together, but it seems unlikely.

    0

  5. This is game is between drew and jr smith. Whoever makes the bigger impact wins the game. If smith runs wild making his stoned face (is there anyone in the nba that smokes more? Beasly maybe), the lakers can lose. But if bynum is emphasized and stays on the court, the lakers should handle the nugs. Kobe/gasol v. Billups/nene should be even. We need to win the 3rd guy.

    0

  6. Also, Dave’s article on his time with the Lakers during the last road trip is worth a read. If you don’t have time to read through the entire thing, make sure you scroll down to the last entry:

    http://sports.espn.go.com/los-angeles/nba/columns/story?id=4881630

    0

  7. I think K-Mart will be a bigger factor. If he continues to score at the pace he’s been doing, it will provide Denver with the 3rd scorer they need (without Melo).

    Interesting matchup will be Kobe vs. Afflalo. Aaron did a real good job against Kobe in the last game, and Kobe’s ankle injury may limit him somewhat. Kobe needs to be efficient tonight. Denver can hurt the Lakers with transition game if Kobe takes too many long jumpers.

    Finally, if Bynum can dominate his matchup against Nene, we’ll have much easier time tonight. If not, it will be a dogfight which I’m expecting.

    Lakers by 3…with Chauncey missing the 3 in the end.

    0

  8. RE: 4

    GOOD LORD, what happened to him?

    0

  9. I agree with WhiteLightnin, it would be good to see Vujacic play tonight. He has a knack for pissing off nuggets players, particularly JR and Melo. Maybe he’ll get some PT for mind game purposes.

    Not entirely pertinent to this upcoming game, but some good laughs in this article
    http://espn.go.com/blog/los-angeles/lakers/post/_/id/2634/a-deep-look-inside-the-lakers-milestones-and-record-book
    “Odom is just nine FGs away from 2,092 in all, a tally Brian arbitrarily declared ‘milestone-worthy.’ Deal with it. “

    0

  10. what happened to AM, choose one
    1) they don’t play tough man defense in the WCC
    b) he’s preternaturally slow
    iii) tore ACL in ’07(?) preseason; atrophy
    x) all of the above

    0

  11. Matt Moore has a strong opinion on Kobe’s injuries.

    Check it out:

    http://www.hardwoodparoxysm.com/2010/02/05/now-a-warning/

    I agree with all the points that Matt raises. It is time that Kobe eases up and gets healthy. Phil has to step in and realize that if Kobe doesn’t get healthy, this could irrevocably harm our chances in June. It is clear that Kobe is the second-toughest player in the NBA behind Carl Landry so I think its time to sit him.

    With regards to this game, no Melo pretty much renders this game moot in terms of gauging how well we play against the Nuggets. Kenyon Martin has been on fire as of late and we need to definitely pay attention to him. If Kobe doesn’t go, I am interested to see how the young’ns play with extended minutes. Hopefully Sasha can get it going tonight if Kobe doesn’t go.

    Apparently the Nuggets are confident in thinking that they can beat us.

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news;_ylt=AnLQaOtedzftIuqqEwPhq0a8vLYF?slug=mc-afterthebuzzer020510&prov=yhoo&type=lgns

    0

  12. Morrison was pretty decent his rookie year – 11.8 points on a shitty baby-big league Bobcats team. I can’t really judge him to harshly or praise him though as I haven’t really seen him play. I do remember him being an excellent college player, and we remember he was hyped was like a top 3 pick in ’06 I believe. But he should probably be traded to a rebuilding/mediocre team where he can get some actual burn instead of 2 or 3 min every other game like he does on our championship-contending platoon. I just know him very well. Hell, maybe if it’s still not working for him in a year or two, he should go to Europe or Russia or even take the Wacky Starbury route and go to China! (but seriously…I would do that in the nearfuture if I were him and I was still sort of just hanging around at the bottom of the NBA bucket, though it is the finest bucket of it’s stratum.)

    0

  13. * I meant: “I just DO NOT know him very well.”

    0

  14. WhiteLightnin’ February 5, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    3ThreeIII, so theres no hope for Ammo? If Luke Walton can find a place on a champion, why can’t Morrison? I’m not really an Ammo fan, just sayin that there may be hope if he can find a shred of confidence.

    0

  15. Kurt: Hopefully you know by now that I love your stuff, which enables me to say this without coming off as an a-hole. How do you know that Melo and Pau wants to be 100 % before returning? How do we assess the severity of their respective injuries? I’m not saying that you’re wrong, but I find it strange that people in general feel that they’re able to make statements about other people’s injuries. The only one who truly knows how severe the situation is would be the person himself, right?:)

    0

  16. WhiteLightnin’, I am not sure. I will say that Luke is a much better overall player than Ammo appears to be. Luke does most of the little things right most of the time. No question he is the best passer on the Lakers. He is serviceable from the three point line, rebounds, boxes out, plays good team defense and is not horrible on one on one defense in the half court. He also gets a lot of play from having NBA genes, and a really solid basketball mind.

    Luke is EXACTLY the kind of player that becomes a coach in 10 years… Phil Jackson, Pat Riley, Jerry Sloan, Kurt Rambis, and a ton of others leap to mind as solid, but not spectacular, pros who know the game, have a ring, and have a good reputation for being well liked in the locker room, with the fans, and with the media.

    I just don’t see Ammo managing any of that. Too stand-offish, too snake-bit with the bad luck…

    Like I said, I hope he finds his stroke, becomes a killer shooter off the bench for late quarter situations, makes a nice living for a while. I just don’t think it will happen.

    0

  17. can someone tell me why Fish would help off of Chauncey leaving him wide open for three?

    0

  18. i am so excited for the literally hundreds of critical comments that will pour in if the lakers don’t beat denver by 30+ pts.

    0

  19. Why does Derek double on Nene and Afflalo leaving Chauncey open for two threes? That’s just not smart defense.

    0

  20. 19

    You beat me to it. Let Nene go one-on-one, please. (Don’t give him the baseline like Bynum just did though.)

    0

  21. And Kobe is on a mission.

    0

  22. Kobe’s just mocking us now. Mocking Phil, too.

    0

  23. Kobe is injuried? Is my scouting report inaccurate?

    0

  24. Kobe’s on fire right now! But I guarantee that even if he stays this hot the entire game, people will still come on here and say he took too many shots and should’ve gotten the bigs involved.

    0

  25. Kobe is hot right now and showing no signs from his sprained ankle

    0

  26. I swear, I have more vertical leap than two-fifths of our starting lineup combined.

    I’ll leave you to guess which two.

    0

  27. Did Fisher really hit the bottom of the rim on an uncontested layup?

    0

  28. Way to double Andersen 20 feet from the basket and leave Chauncey open from three, Fish.

    0

  29. Joel, I’m amazed Fish even got rim! And there’s another brick for a layup…

    0

  30. Fisher is rapidly approaching David Wesley territory when it comes to making layups.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cvOm7dPS0Uw

    0

  31. Derek Fisher is taking some horrible shots right now.

    0

  32. The only shot Fisher should take is the 3 pointer

    0

  33. So Melo’s not playing, right? You would think that we (Fish) would then understand that the one guy we need to guard for sure is Chauncey…

    0

  34. The atdhe.net link is dead. Anyone?

    Never mind. It just rose up from the dead.

    0

  35. Man, I didn’t realise there were so many negative Fisher comments already!

    In other news, Pau is having a really hard time establishing good position against much smaller defenders. This is why it’s not always as simple as ‘giving the bigs more touches’.

    0

  36. 35 – That should be modified to read “only a three pointer in the flow of the offense.” Not that PUJIT he just took.

    I’m a bit surprised we haven’t had a Sasha sighting – Phil likes to match him up with Smith.

    0

  37. Is there any team that can go from 0 to 60 and back to 0 faster than the Lakers?

    0

  38. Since when has Bynum wore braces on both knees? I just noticed it tonight.

    0

  39. It’s amazing how often Denver gets away with no-calls on two-handed shoves in the back and full swing blocked shot attempts that instead hit the opponent in the head.

    0

  40. Cuban is going to explode with the Mavs losing at home to Minny. Go Rambis. Although the more Dallas loses, the more likely Cuban makes a crazy trade. I’d be nervous if they got Iggy.

    0

  41. I will be very happy when the Lakers start defending the baseline again. They must have given up 8-10 points on baseline moves already…

    0

  42. Joel, the reason we’re picking on Fish right now is because he’s left Chauncey wide open three times from three-point range in order to double another player (Afflalo, Graham, and Andersen) 15-20 feet from the basket. Then of course there are his wildly unsuccessful drives to the basket in traffic.

    0

  43. 45

    I know Dude, as you can see I made a couple of comments myself. It just reinforces how unremittingly awful he’s been in the early going.

    0

  44. 18. Andreas – Why do you always get defensive when things are said about Gasol. Its no personal.

    Is there anyway to find out who gives up the most and1’s in the league. Just curious. Our big men dont only give up the layup they foul right after that giving up a bunch of and1s

    0

  45. Bad PUJIT by Shannon, but we’ll take the result.

    0

  46. ShanWOW puts the PUJIT into perfection!

    0

  47. I am loving the work Farmar and Bynum are doing together on Lawson.

    The problem with Shannon making that awful PUJIT is that he’ll be encouraged to shoot more.

    0

  48. Mark Jackson at it again. Shannon Brown a starting PG? He doesn’t even play PG any more!

    By the way, Brown seems to make a lot of those midrange PUJITs. I prefer seeing him take that shot that try to pass on the run.

    0

  49. When Kobe elevates like that on his jumper and gets proper arc, it’s just a thing of beauty.

    0

  50. 38. Thank you Joel for finally saying it, Pau can demand the ball but he needs to make himself a better option by putting himself in better positions to score, and he needs to be more consistent with finishing because he hasn’t been lately. And I hope everyone realizes that if Kobe is this hott you feed the guy the ball just like in the memphis game, going away from him on offense would be a mistake. I understand everyone needs to get involved but when Kobe is finishing his shots better than the bigs that should be a sign of where to give the ball.

    0

  51. I am glad that Kobe is playing tonight, where would we be without him, of course the ‘others’ would step up, right?

    0

  52. 50

    As long he’s not trying to set someone up in transition. Now that’s a scary sight.

    0

  53. Denver when healthy is a better team than last year because of 2 reasons, Aaron Afflalo and Ty Lawson.

    0

  54. You called it Snoops, here comes Sasha.

    0

  55. Why is anyone other than Kobe trying to shoot right now? He’s making them! Give. Him. The Ball.

    0

  56. The future starting lineup of the Los Angeles Lakers.

    Bynum + Powell + Sasha + Shannon + Farmar

    0

  57. Geez, Ty Lawson is a blur.

    0

  58. Just like last year in the playoffs against Denver Bynum cannot stay on the floor because of his inability to guard their big men.

    0

  59. Bynum is 4-4, 4 rebounds.

    He just fought hard to get into the post, had good position and called for the ball from Brown. Brown swings it around to Farmar, who gives it back to Brown, who throws up a wild hook that doesn’t draw iron from 18 feet away.

    Does Andrew actually have to beat someone up in practice to get the ball?

    Keep your head up Bynum, at some point it will dawn on your teammates that you are an offensive weapon.

    0

  60. Lakers not showing much intensity on the defensive end tonight

    Its always great to see the lakers turn average offensive players into all stars like the birdman

    0

  61. The Lakers are losing track of their guy on defense far too often. As a result, Denver is getting an amazing amount of open looks. That will happen from time-to-time when someone is driving on the baseline, but it’s unacceptable when the ball is outside of the 3 point line.

    0

  62. Sasha is playing 1) great defense and 2) under control. He does deserve a shot at some PT over Brown right now.

    0

  63. Mark Jackson needs to stop telling us that Phil is a better coach than him.

    0

  64. Wow Amazing of all Players Sasha ran the best fast break I have seen in some time on this team, instead of forcing up a bad layup like Fisher or a bad PUJIT like Farmar or Shannon, he sees he does not have a shot pulls the ball back out, sets up the offense and gets a good inside out look.

    0

  65. Losing AT HOME to a Denver team WITHOUT Melo. Wow! Way to show up.

    0

  66. Laker8884 – Exactly. I think finally losing PT to Brown (Phil gave Sasha so much license over the last couple years) has made Sasha realize he must play under control. That or he’s now too tentative to take bad shots.

    0

  67. This is why Kobe shoots so many times, because when everyone else on the team loses their cool or cant get their own shot they look for Kobe to bail them out.

    0

  68. Phil Jackson needs to retire. How many times is he going to stick with a terrible group on the floor so long that he lets the other team get in rhythm and completely cools off our starters. It is becoming a pattern that needs to stop.

    We have a @#$ bench Phil, we get it, now stop playing them so much.

    0

  69. how do comments like that get out of moderation?

    0

  70. Heh. The mood in this comment thread reminds me of the Celtics game.

    Did anyone here genuinely believe that the Nuggets would be an easy win? Seriously?

    Reality check time! 🙂

    0

  71. Zirk, agreed It’s a pretty embarassing first half.

    And Snoopy agreed, I think he deserves some significant PT to see what he can do. The problem is for some players when you are condemned to the bench and they actually get a chance to play they are so afraid of making mistakes that they play tenative or play badly to where they arent effective. I think if the guy got more playing time we may see some type of MACHINE not the old one but maybe a new one that could still help us. Unlike Sasha though being on the bench makes Farmar and Brown want to shoot more and be more aggressive like they have something to prove, it shows the contrast in personality.

    0

  72. Denver nearing 60% shooting mark.

    We’re a step slow on defense. Being a champion doesn’t mean people will be intimidated by the thought of it!

    0

  73. BH,

    Phil Jackson’s 10 championship rings would like to have a word with you.

    0

  74. Let’s just ignore bad comments rather than fight. I don’t feel like deleting stuff tonight.

    0

  75. Mimsy,

    It’s supposed to be an easy win. On the paper.

    Then again….

    0

  76. Please, someone justify PJ’s thinking of only having one starter out there against this nuggets team. I know its only a mid season game but I thought a sasha, josh, jordan, shannon lineup was reserved for preseason games. I’m pretty pissed off because I think we could have kept this game spaced if we kept at least three starter (including lamar a 1) on the floor at all time this quarter. there is no reason why at least 2 of the three bigs could be on the floor at all time. Also, Kobe and Ron should only be sitting next to each other 5 min. max a game. they sat next to each other about 5 min. together just this quarter! Please someone try to Justify PJ’s rotation scheme… anyone!

    0

  77. Lakers score 60 points (so far). Denver playing just as tough. Lakers aren’t getting blown out. And it seems like the Lakers are still playing horrible.

    I am just curious what the expectation is every game? Blowouts or nothing?

    0

  78. If we are truly the BEST team in the league and have the heart of a champion, then yes! I think we should be fired up enough AT HOME to beat a Denver team WITHOUT Melo pretty handily! Especially with what they did to us in Denver earlier this season. But it’s only the first half, so it can still happen. We’ll see…

    0

  79. BH, the bench may not be spectacular (I personally have said all season I think it’s a weak bench) HOWEVER, I dont want our starters playing 95% of the game as old as some of our starters are. Plus how will we ever know who is even worth their salary on the bench unless we play them, Phil experiments to see who will be ready to play come playoff time, the guy has a pretty nice resume I think he knows what he’s doing.

    And Ray I dont expect a blowout but a nice 8 point lead at halftime is what I expected and would have liked to see, without Melo the Nuggets should be struggling to score but unfortunately the Lakers defense has been giving them help.

    0

  80. I know many on this forum have called for Kobe to sit out some games.

    This here game goes quite a way towards explaining why Kobe is a player, PJ is a coach, and we are mere fans, typing away madly.

    0

  81. I dunno where would have been if Kobe didnt play but i know from watching this game that we lost leads when he didnt touch the ball and we also lost the lead when he was on the bench. I understand the triangle calls for the ball to go into the post but our post players need to recieve that ball with conviction. If they are going to run their mouths in the media they need to be assertive.

    And how about the little things, like defend the baseline and not give up and 1s. Its a choice, foul hard without giving up a flagrant or just give up the layup. Stop making people like Nazr Mohammed and Hasheem Thabeet look like all stars. We need people who are willing to do what it takes to get us the win. Stop worrying about touches and get some boards, some blocks and lets blow our games wide open

    0

  82. I think those types of expectations aren’t realistic. Just because Melo is sitting down doesn’t mean the Nuggets will just sit down and walk away. They know this is a playoff preview.

    R, i am one to ask for kobe to sit, just so he can be 100% healthy. But I also know we’d lose a few games if he sat, but so long as he were healthy for the playoffs, i’d be ok with it.

    Here’s what I expect most games. Ball movement, execution, and people working their butt off. if those things happen, then we get wins.

    0

  83. Nice finish to the half for the Lakers. Gasol is doing a good on the boards and Kobe is hitting his shots tonight.

    Defense needs improvement and do not leave Billups wide open

    0

  84. 84. That’s what I have said about our bigs since the first Cleveland game. Look against average teams with average to good big men Pau and Bynum look stellar but against great to allstar big men they may or may not show up. Bynum played well against Boston but then threw in a stinker against Memphis and Pau really hasn’t played like himself for a while now. If you want to demand the ball do something with it CONSISTENTLY to prove you deserve to have it in your hands. Because if Pau doesnt look certain with the ball then the guards wont feed him and they will expect Kobe to constantly bail the team out, people should never just blame Kobe for shooting because Kobe only shoots like that when he is either A. On fire or B. Feeling like it’s necessary in order for the team to win. When the Lakers have trouble scoring they always run one set, and that’s give the ball to Kobe and get the heck out of the way.

    Also I would say give the ball more to Bynum because he is money in the bank usually, but in this game and Memphis he hasnt been able to stay on the floor because of foul trouble, so he needs to play D and rebound before worrying about scoring because thats where we need him most.

    0

  85. Bench:

    LAL – 16 (5 players)

    DEN – 16 (2 players, Birdman and JR Smith) + an extra 4 (Lawson)

    0

  86. #78,
    Whatever is on that paper is not taking the gigantic chip on the Nuggets’ collective shoulder into account then. 🙂 This is their chance to prove that last year’s play-off run was not a fluke, that they really are that good and that they really deserved to be there.

    The nuggets have Nene and the Birdman, two big guys who are fearless in the paint and have no qualms or hesitation about playing a very physical in-your-face kind of basketball, and we all know that makes Bynum timid on defense and Gasol timid on offense, because one of them is scared of getting injured and the other is too light-weight to be able to push back. Add a lack of reliable outside shooting and a recent tendency not to execute either offense or defense under pressure to the above, and this is not an easy or obvious win by any stretch.

    This is the team that gave us a serious run for it in the conference finals. What have the Lakers done since then that made us expect a blow-out?

    0

  87. Honestly, I don’t think Fish is our worst finisher around the rim, surprisingly enough (due to his Chinesse snickers as PJ thinks) I give the “award” to Ron, he looks akward around the rim, with those strange shots that he does above his shoulder.

    0

  88. There is no surprise that this game is close. its gonna be fairly close til the end, but the lakers should take it.

    0

  89. 82 Lakers8884, The day I see a full roster laker team playing the “Pau or Andrew” along with Powell, Brown, Sasha, Farmar crew IN THE PLAYOFFS* is the day I am convinced this team’s championship window was abruptly slammed shut.

    Ray 80, What if you saw Tiger Woods being incisted to use a wooden driver by his caddy, Stevie Williams? Wouldn’t you feel, as a fan that you are watching a tournament being thrown away by bad decisions apposed to lack of talent. Well, I for one feel that way when I watch games like this. What if we could have blown it out with at least 2-3 three starter in at all time but instead we let them hang around with our expirament.

    0

  90. I feel the same way Jeremy, all I was saying right now Phil is figuring out which 2 or 3 players will play off the bench come playoff time because in the playoffs we all know rotations become tighter and starters play the majority of the minutes. I get the feeling Phil only trusts Lamar, Luke, Farmar and Brown so that’s who I expect to see and that’s it.

    0

  91. Go LAKERS! One strong push…

    Kobe just likes pain…admirable, definition of professional

    0

  92. If Chauncey plays this well in the playoffs Denver will be hard to beat, because he was rather average last year, Melo and JR did most of the scoring.

    0

  93. well somebody better guard chauncey. can kobe take this task?

    0

  94. Much agreed Lakers8884, I just wish we only kept two of the bench guys in at a time. This game would’ve been over.

    0

  95. Seriously, some of the expectations on here are very strange indeed. This Lakers team is not exactly miles ahead of the rest of the league in terms of talent. We have 1 superstar, 1 All-Star, 3 pretty good players, and the rest are all question marks. Yet some people are shocked that we can’t blow out a Denver team that is 7-4 without Carmelo.

    I’m not saying this team isn’t championship calibre, but I think the talent level is a bit overrated by some.

    0

  96. Lisa, it’s the black and yellow makes that shoe the Bruce Lee edition. Do your homework.

    0

  97. Fish can not guard chauncey they have to get him out of there. He is getting torched

    0

  98. I hate listening to Mark Jackson.

    0

  99. How is that not a technical or flagrant on Graham?

    0

  100. Is that Ron’s 1st T of the season?

    0

  101. Kobe with 8 rebounds to this point is nice to see.

    0

  102. Agreed Joel, the rest of the league is catching up in terms of talent, the Lakers may be superior to some right now but not all, that is why they cannot expect to come out and turn it on whenever they feel like it, unless they are playing the Nets.

    0

  103. Can you believe that basket that Kobe just made, unbelievable…

    0

  104. Kobe is getting mauled tonight. I usually get annoyed with the yapping at the refs, but he has every right tonight.

    0

  105. Joel,

    When you win a championship, we all know that the expectations the following year are pretty much high, especially when you consider an upgrade/downgrade of Artest/Ariza.

    But, you’re right. Two 7-footers, a very versatile power-forward, a former DPOY, and two veteran-savvy players with 8 rings combined is a bit overrated.

    —–
    Here we are knowing Billups has the hottest hand… and apparently the Lakers don’t think so.

    0

  106. Kobe getting a long rest due to foul trouble, should be ready to play all of the 4thQ

    0

  107. Lakers8884, I agree, but conversely I also think we should be careful (not you in particular) not to always presume that the Lakers are ‘bored’ or ‘flipping the switch’ when they have a bad game.

    In other news, Kobe is getting mauled out there.

    0

  108. Man, Billups is just in a zone.

    0

  109. It sure would be nice if one our guys makes the decision to face guard Chauncey when he doesn’t have the ball.

    0

  110. 8 of 10 from 3. yeah someone needs to get on him.

    0

  111. why does phil insist on putting sasha in there? hes hurting us on offense and defense.

    0

  112. 108

    It is overrated when you consider people were talking 70 wins before the season. Not to mention, one of those ‘veteran-savvy players’ should be playing 15 minutes a night at most.

    0

  113. Billups is in a zone, but would it be so hard to try and stay close to his hip? We’re in a recovery position on most of his 3s, as opposed to forcing him to shoot over outstretched arms.

    0

  114. Billups is playing out of his mind tonight. Say all you want about Melo being out, but Billups is more than making up for it. We played a 6 game series with them and kept him relatively in check when it counted. I’m not going to get worked up over a hot night.

    0

  115. UM WOW, will someone force Chauncey Billups off the 3 point line, TERRIBLE defense by the guards. After he hit 2, he should have been forced to drive or pass or at least force a tough jump shot, not shoot whatever and whenever he feels like it. That’s something you learn when your first learning basketball, fundamental common sense defense.

    0

  116. Might I suggest that forcing Billups to put the ball on the floor might be a good idea? How can the Laker guards not get this concept?

    0

  117. Billups and Lawson in a playoff series is not something I’d look forward to.

    0

  118. kobe gets mauled 3 consecutive times and the moment he makes contact, they call a foul on him…. every right to be upset.

    0

  119. Also, I apologize for the jinx. I said earlier that Sasha finally started playing under control.

    I will now go hang my head in shame.

    0

  120. We are at the mercy of opponents guards. Seems as if only Kobe can cover them, which is enough to drive all of the Laker fans insane.

    Getting worked from outside by Chauncey? Hey, I have an idea, run out on him and knock him on his butt… Just a thought.

    0

  121. Wow – and to think the other day we were deriding the “hot hand theory” in here…

    0

  122. FINALLY someone gets it on the defensive end, Artest did a bad job going underneath the screen but the next 2 times he did a PERFECT job on Chauncey.

    0

  123. Phil – We were actually deriding the academics who don’t believe in the hot hand theory.

    Personally I think you have to believe in the hot hand if you watch a lot of ball.

    0

  124. Patented Sasha foul 60 miles from the basket.

    0

  125. I mean other than Kobe, is anyone going to step up?

    0

  126. Sometimes the other team just plays really well. This feels like one of those nights. It also feels like a night where Kobe will try to go off in the 4th.

    0

  127. Reed, this feels like one of those games where if KOBE doesn’t go off in the 4th the Lakers have no chance of winning.

    0

  128. Seriously, out of all the years he’s played in the league Chauncey has NEVER had a game like this. Maybe it’s just our night.

    0

  129. Sometimes I literally cannot watch Sasha play…

    That was a great rugby tackle. Sadly, this is basketball.

    And watching Shannon Brown go 1 on 5 with 18 seconds left on the shot clock hurts my feelings. I put up with Kobe doing that because, well, he is Kobe. Shannon Brown is not Kobe. Stop playing like him, please.

    0

  130. I smell a buzzer-beater. Ha!

    Fun fact: Kobe has made 5 game-winning shots already this season. He had one in every month.

    0

  131. Chauncey has to sit at some point this quarter right?

    0

  132. Snoopy – I’m with you. Anyone who watches the game knows that it happens. I just appreciated the timing of the conversation with Billups’ performance tonight.

    And man, what a signiture foul from Sasha there. Way late in the quarter, where the ONLY way the other team can score is via a foul.

    0

  133. i know this was 2 hours ago but i think ill blame this on fish. leave billups wide open for 3 three times to start the game… and you get him going.

    and for what.. to double down on graham, andersen and nene.

    0

  134. Shannon Brown doesnt look to run the offense when he is out there. He runs the AI play – dribble dribble dribble and shoot

    0

  135. Can someone please explain to me the Tiger woods analogy that someone posted to me earlier? Cuz it sounded like the analogy was Phil is making bad decisions with the substitutions and that the starters should stay in the whole game?

    Say what you will about the Lakers not playing well or what not, but give the Nuggets credit, they are playing tough, Billups is hitting everything. And now the Lakers can’t seem to make more than one pass in any possession.

    As Chick Hearn used to say (a lot), that anyone can beat anyone in the NBA. That’s why he liked the league so much.

    0

  136. You know Lakergirl that may be true but at least the guy is trying out there, guys like Lamar and Pau look like they dont even care right now, Lamar may have hit that three but we dont need him there we need him down low he should have his fingerprints all over this game.

    0

  137. Most likely we are going down, because the shots that they’re neting shouldn’t be falling at all, and when the other team makes absurd baskets in that fashion, it’s not only hard to pair up with, it’s also quiet impossible to put up with, so at the end you lose because you got demoralized…

    Explain me Eric what should Pau do from the bench…I thought that while on the bench you weren’t allowed to do anything, maybe I was wrong and he’s not trying hard enough while being seated…

    0

  138. Agree with Reed and goat. This just isn’t a typical Billups night, and on some of those Fish couldn’t have gotten any closer.

    Kobe’s getting mauled, but some of the Nuggets are too.They’re letting them play.

    0

  139. Kobe’s right. “Even Pau wouldn’t have made a difference.”

    0

  140. Kobe aside, the difference in guard play between these 2 teams is very worrying.

    0

  141. Does shannon ever pass?

    0

  142. Imagine a world in which the Lakers would be able to stop point guards and the pick and roll. It’d be like bizzaro world.

    0

  143. So when we going to get a PG who can run the triangle, play defense against quick guards, and shoot better than 2-9?

    0

  144. man, bynum had GREAT post position against Nene, but Brown declines the easy entry pass in favor for a bricked J.

    0

  145. Must be nice when your team’s star can go to the bench and you can extend the lead

    0

  146. Brown is playing terribly tonight. And you can take that to the bank (the bank is apparently open) because Mark Jackson has talked about what a great game he is playing…

    Really Shannon? You would rather have Bynum clear out of the post so you can go 1 on 2 and take a pull up jumper from 21 feet behind the backboard? Really?

    0

  147. i’d hate to see another espn article about us having to worry about our lakers after the cavs and nuggets do this to us.

    0

  148. I know PJ is not worried but man – Denver (and Portland) got our number. They better get their butts in gear after the all star break. I want to see some games where the Lakers actually show up.

    0

  149. Since I can’t seem to find my easy button, I’m opting to press the panic one instead.

    0

  150. I’m sorry, but Mark Jackson is making a bad night worse.

    Every time someone scores, his ‘advice’ to the guy guarding him is basically to stop the other guy from scoring.

    Lawson gets into the lane? “You can’t allow Lawson to get into the lane like that.”

    Nene goes left? “You gotta understand he likes to go to his left hand.”

    My head hurts.

    0

  151. Why does this team insist on shooting outside jumpers?

    0

  152. What was the song they were playing as they went to commercial? Solid beat.

    That Wade commercial is sick, by the way. Weird, but sick.

    0

  153. Ugh…it’s like Jordy and Shannon believe they have to match the long jumpers that Smith and Billups are making for the team to win. Umm, no. Your job is to throw it into our bigs.

    0

  154. This is just one of those games.

    The Nuggets are absolutely ON FIRE right now and hitting everything they throw up. They’re getting all the whistles. And our bigs are playing extremely soft. (I swear the next time I see Pau DUNK THE BALL will be the first.)

    And our point guards continue to absolutely kill us defensively and in their decision making on offense. That pull up three off the dribble going to his left early in the shot clock by Farmar was an atrociously bad shot.

    0

  155. JR Smith is taking some terrible shots – and they’re all going in.

    0

  156. The Nuggets are just a better team than we are right now. Give them their props and hope that we can get it together by playoff time.

    0

  157. Why oh why doesn’t Mitch get a quick PG who can play D, drive the lane and make baskets from the outside? Or at least 2 of the 3!!!! It’s been a glaring defect for years and they still don’t do anything about it!!!!

    0

  158. Karl, because have you seen any Lakers do anything inside that would give them the confidence to feed the ball down low????? Same trends keep coming up against good teams

    0

  159. looking at how hot denver is shooting, we should make kenyon martin take the jumper from hereon…

    not one of our par nights to say the least…

    hate to say this, kobe might decide to dominate the ball…

    0

  160. Well, it looks like we’re going with the Sasha option to help close the gap…

    Thoughts?

    0

  161. Yea, Denver is on fire – but when the heck have the Lakers ever been on fire this season? Maybe one game against Dallas? Other than that – every game has been a freaking struggle!!!

    0

  162. Phil Jackson and D Fisher will single handly be the reason we will have to lay game 7 of the Finals in Cleveland!! Bad decisions! Why in the world would u take Kobe out the game when we were up by 8 and Kobe was on fire?

    0

  163. @ Jim C. There u go. It was his first.

    0

  164. TIME TO HIT THE FREAKING PANIC BUTTON.

    The Lakers haven’t had a quality win all season. The Boston one doesn’t really count because that team was in a free fall.

    As currently constructed, this team AIN’T WINNING A TITLE THIS YEAR.

    There, I said it.

    0

  165. NOW they start calling fouls?

    0

  166. I mean seriously Mark Jackson has been annoying all night but he is right, why doesnt Pau trying to finish inside that way everytime?

    0

  167. AND they don’t even have Carmello in!!! WTF – we ain’t beating this team in the playoffs.

    0

  168. The guards should have one job: get the ball inside. I cant believe Brown has the gall to wave Bynum away. Other than Kobe, the guard play has been shocking tonight.

    0

  169. its impossible to come back from a deficit when the opposing team cant miss from the perimeter and you’re team misses point blank shots…..

    they shoulda put kobe / artest on billups after he hit his 5th three…. those last 3 or so took the air out of our team….

    need a miracle to come back from this…

    sasha is like what 0-5? why isnt artest in???

    0

  170. I am purely upset in the lakers’ decisions this game. If we pull this game out it would be nothing short of a mamba miracle.

    0

  171. love or hate him, 24 will have to carry us and hope pau asserts himself by inserting himself down low.

    0

  172. Burgundy – I think a lot of us have been saying that ALL season. This team even with a good record is honestly pathetic. Can’t beat the great teams on our own hc. Forget winning in Clev or Denver or even Portland in the playoffs.

    0

  173. Did we give up the offensive board of Billups’ missed triple because everyone just expected it to go in?

    0

  174. lack of outside shooting exposed in this shootout…lights out indeed…

    0

  175. @ Karl: It has been a pretty big defect the last couple of years. I’m amazed we made the finals and won a championship and have a great record this year.

    @KOBmoney: seriously?

    Half this blog wants kobe to pass the ball to get others involved and not make kobe shoot as much, and the other half complains when we take him out.

    Lakers are playing some good defense. from what i’m seeing. Denver is hitting everything. everything!!!

    And sasha is getting a lot of time tonight, but not getting the results his advocates want.

    0

  176. Reed is being very benevolent with the comments tonight. Or busy banging his head against the wall.

    0

  177. Time for PJ to do his 4 bench player and 1 starter substitution. Don’t we all love it when he does that.

    0

  178. By the way, how sad is it to watch Sasha, after a bunch of you guys were pimping him getting more playing time, completely choking with his big opportunity.

    I remember in a previous thread Zephid shot me a sarcastic post saying, essentially, I didn’t know what I was talking about, when I said if Sasha got meaningful playing time, he would shoot 20% from three.

    Looks like you were right, Zephid.

    Sasha is shooting 0% from three with meaningful minutes. I gave him too much credit.

    0

  179. Say what you want, but I believe that Fisher hits that three pointer that Sasha just bricked.

    0

  180. Snoopy – i get the feeling this is the way it’s going to be from now on

    0

  181. 160 – I believe Mitch inquired about Deron Williams, and was promptly told to stfu.

    0

  182. Snoopy – I think if Reed is like the rest of us, it’s probably option B.

    0

  183. nice bite to us fans not to be too preemptive about “taking revenge” on the next team (looking north to portland).

    and the way they took it to a road weary spurs team reminds me of what they can do to us tomorrow.

    can’t be too concerned a fan.

    needless to say, our offense isn’t elite right now. this used to keep us closer than this last year. then again, sometimes it’s just about who wants it more.

    0

  184. Sasha gets bood lol. He should, that guy has done nothing for the team the last two seasons. Cant make open shots and makes stupid fouls on defense.

    0

  185. Denver shooting 67% from three. You don’t beat teams when they do that.

    Let’s not overreact. Kobe is banged up and Denver is as hot as any team we’ve seen all year. We’ve got some flaws, but plenty of time to work it out.

    I almost felt bad for Sasha for being so frustrated mentally and then I realized that he has Sharapova and is not frustrated in other ways.

    0

  186. Man- I am praying that PJ is letting us lose so that Mitch will get a new PJ for the Lakers – or a shooter who can consistently hit the outside shot. We need some fix!!!! This team aint even getting to the finals as is.

    0

  187. Other than Kobe honestly nobody has played well tonight, Pau may have 16 boards which I love but he has not been efficient on the offensive end for how close he is to the rim when scoring.

    0

  188. I’m a lawyer, so censoring comes hard for me…

    And I’m trying to keep a log of some stuff for a post.

    Maybe we’ll clean things up after the game.

    0

  189. How are we going to trade junk like Sasha when he gets his chances and blows it. No team wants him.

    0

  190. is it that hard to realize that JR Smith is going to dribble right?

    0

  191. Nice reverse ShanWOW, and a nice 3 pointer also.

    0

  192. Karl, do u not want to give denver any credit at all?

    They are playing insane…

    0

  193. Geezy freaking petes. I have never seen a 38-12 team that has made me want to punch my monitor as much as this team.

    0

  194. Reed – I preferred the image of you thinking about removing a post, then realising you at least 50% agreed with it, then banging your head against the wall in frustration…

    But your explanation’s fine too.

    0

  195. well, denver ain’t shooting better than this.

    how are the la fans in staples taking this?

    0

  196. Defensively this game was a joke, make excuses for how hot Denver was shooting but poor defense is the reason for this loss, you could eliminate half their 3’s by better team defense. Embarassing loss no matter what excuses you may want to throw around AND now we go to Portland. GREAT

    0

  197. oh man jr smith…

    0