Lakers/Nuggets: Turnovers and Rebounds

Phillip Barnett —  April 3, 2011

With 15 seconds left to play, Lamar Odom pulled up and knocked down a huge three to cut a Denver Nuggets lead from five to two. On the ensuing inbounds play, Denver got the ball into Danilo Gallinari, forced him to pass the ball and fouled Nene, who is a career 68 percent free throw shooter. He knocked down the first one to extend the lead to three, but missed the second. The Lakers catch a break, or so we thought. Kenyon Martin was able to force Lamar Odom under the rim and tip in the missed free throw to put the game on ice and end the Lakers nine-game winning streak with a 95-90 win.

This was one of those losses that we had the pleasure of watching toward the end of last year’s regular season: it wasn’t about the numbers, more about the effort and the willingness to execute. Denver worked to force Lakers turnovers and hit the offensive glass hard — and those were the things that ultimately gave the Nuggets the upper hand down the stretch. Take a look back at the events that transpired with just over five minutes left to play.

• 5:18 – Down only one, the Lakers run a high 4-2 P&R with Odom handling the ball and Kobe setting the screen. LO turns the corner and drives baseline a little too out of control as he runs over Nene before making the skip pass to a wide open Fisher in the opposite corner. Charging. Turnover.

• 4:13 – Right after a Raymond Felton three-pointer put the Nuggets back on top by two, the Lakers finally get the ball to Pau at the pinch post after I begged for the Lakers to start running the offense through the bigs. As Derek Fisher tried to run off of Pau to clear things out for the Spaniard, Felton simply slaps the ball out of Gasol’s hand. Turnover. This leads to a Wilson Chandler bank shot. Nuggets up four. On the Lakers VERY next possession, they get into the Triangle, Ron Artest makes an entry pass from the corner to Gasol. Nene pokes the ball away after a couple of pump fakes. Turnover. That leads to a Kenyon Martin layup. Nuggets up six.

• 2:15 – With the Lakers needing every stop they can get, the Nuggets go to a high screen and roll with Felton and Nene. Felton gets it to Nene deep in the paint because Pau didn’t recover after he hedged on the screen. LO makes a nice rotation and contests Nene’s layup, but no one rotates to put a body on Kenyon Martin who tips in the miss. Offensive rebound. Nuggets up eight.

• :15 – The afore mentioned Kenyon Martin tip after Gallinari’s missed free throw.

The worst part about the previous sequence is the fact that it could have been much longer had I decided to include the Nuggets offensive rebounds or Lakers turnovers that didn’t lead to points. There really wasn’t much intensity for the first 45 minutes of the game, they didn’t run too much of the triangle, and they didn’t take care of the ball. The Lakers starters had a combined 13 turnovers — slightly more than what they’ve averaged as a team for the full season.

For the Nuggets, Raymond Felton played a fantastic second half. All 16 of his scored points came after intermission, he chipped in four assists and was a part of some of the key plays down the stretch that led to the Nuggets win. Felton was able to get into the paint at a regular basis and either finish or kick out to shooters. Danilo Gallinari was the beneficiary of a few of those, hitting three of six from behind the arc while leading the Nuggets in scoring with 22. Also, Kenyon Martin finished with 18 points and five offensive rebounds. Denver played to win tonight, played with infinitely more intensity than the Lakers did and they ended up being rewarded with a win.

For the Lakers, Gasol had a great first half. He did have two costly turnovers toward the end of the game, but he did finish seven for 10 with 12 rebounds. And most important, it looks as if nothing bad will come out of that scary fall he took after being fouled by Nene. Andrew Bynum finished with 16 rebounds, and could have potentially reached the 20-rebound mark if he hadn’t tweaked his knee after Lamar Odom ran into it. Trainer Gary Vitti took a look at his knee and said there was nothing wrong with it, but Bynum didn’t see the floor down the stretch of the game, so that’s something that we’ll keep an eye on the next couple of days.

The Lakers have the Jazz next on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. out here on the West Coast. 10:30 start time out east.

Phillip Barnett

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30 responses to Lakers/Nuggets: Turnovers and Rebounds

  1. Should be titled Turnovers, Timely Rebounds, and Fouls. Those were the three areas that we were poor in.

    This was the first time we played this Nugget’s team and we had no idea, other than film, how much better they were. I expect to make the necessary adjustments come playoff time and we should not have as much of a problem with them. I do see them beating us at least once though.

  2. Bynum said he’s good what a relief I saw the whole season flash before my eyes when first Pau then Drew went out so with the big picture In mind the L Is meaningless we need are squad healthy for the playoffs. I will continue to say there is no team constructed, that can beat us 4 out of seven so while the streak was great let’s over this loss where the lakers basically beat themselves with 20 turnovers ,against a hot Nuggets team, and move on to next game against GSW, and continue to fine tune our machine for the stretch run

  3. Nice Twitter plug there Phillip ;-)

    We talk so much about basketball IQ and court awareness. All our players – 1 through 15 – need to be constantly aware of Andrew Bynum’s Knees. The same way the shot clock is always running in Kobe’s mind, each player on the floor needs to keep Drew and his knees in vision. Know where his knees are at all times. Watch his knees out of your peripheral vision. Communicate with each other; let your teammate know where Andrew Bynum’s Knees are. We need to run drills in practice where players are blindfolded and have to keep track of Andrew Bynum’s Knees as he runs around the court.

    Kobe falling on Drew was bad enough two years ago. We can’t afford it to happen again.

  4. The loss is kind of expected considering that the lakers have played 3 games in less than 4 days with two games on the road. We can say that fatigue sets in against our boys as evidence by their sloppiness. But one positive we can take from this loss is the fact that our boys still fought the game until the end. If this was the first half of the season this could have been a blowout. It seems that the lakers are about 80% into playoff mode and once the playoff starts they would shift that gear into higher intensity.

  5. This is LO’s second time running into Drew’s knees. The first time was his initial long-term injury.

  6. Tough loss, but glad that the two scares were just that.

    Imagine serious injury to Bynum AND Gasol in one game. Like JVG said, paraphrasing, “this just shows you how fragile a championship is.” We could have came out of this game with injuries to both our bigs.

    Look on the positive side.

    Also, I feel the Lakers may be tired. Not just physical fatigue, but essentially playing playoff-caliber basketball these past few weeks.

  7. Total trap game, the sky is not falling. Turnovers, early Sunday start, tired bodies and minds. That said, Denver benfits from Carmelo’s absence.

    Did anyone else hear Mark Jackson making a jackass of himself after Kenyon’s tip in? (After he pushed Lamar in the back, by the way…) Mike Breen had the courage to speak up and say that his strutting and spewing profanity were unnecessary, and Jackson pipes in that he thinks it’s ok. What an ass. Why Van Gundy was quiet during all this we’ll never know.

    Don’t worry Kenyon (and Mark Jackson), Lakers will see you again in May and it will be a different story.

  8. ROFL Snoopy.

  9. Can’t win them all. They seemed a bit overconfident that they could flip the switch again at the end but came up a bit short this time. If anything it provides the coaching staff with fodder to tighten up our minor flaws. Who would have thought they’d be winning at a 0.900 clip the last month of the season…

    JLV

  10. +1 Snoop for Knee Awareness Fundamentals

  11. Let me repeat what i said earlier

    Dont hate me but im glad we lost. The ego tells us go go go for it but in reality this team is ready. We have the second seed on lockdown. Shut it down. We have a brutal potentially 3 game stretch at the end of the year. Why waste the energy and effort when the team is peaking, players need to rest and get ready for round one. We saw Pau get his knee tweaked, we saw kobe gettting kneed, we saw Bymun getting his tweaked. The playoff’s matter. chasing down SAS doesnt make sense. The 2nd 7th, 2,3 is a much better scenario for the lakers. we’ve made our point we are ready now lets take a little off the gas, rest kobe, rest pau, rest fish and ronm and lets focus on what really matters

  12. Part of me also wants to shut it down for fear of injury. But I’m also afraid that we could lose the rhythm we’ve developed so nicely since the All-Star Break. It’s a double-edged sword.
    I’d probably lean to giving Pau and Kobe a single game off, or else cut back on the minutes without actually sitting anyone out an entire game.

    (No way Phil gives Pau a game off just to ‘rest’, though. He’s been pushing Pau relentlessly since 2009).

  13. #11 – I have to disagree. It took too long to get in a solid rhythm, can’t cruise now. Y’know what happens when you stop playing to win? The Spurs 6-game skid happens. It looks like they got their heart back today and they won. We lost and the top seed is a step further away. I know it’s a gamble playing all out, but it’s what you have to do if you want to send a message to the rest of the league. Play to win, always.

  14. Again, Dom is the voice of reason. I couldn’t agree with him more. I have a weird feeling that we were being baited by San Antonio. We no longer have to worry about the top seed. It was not THAT important in the first place. Win the necessary three or four games to clinch the 2nd seed and then Shut It Down!!! Rest the starters and LO as much as you can. Let Bynum and Barnes rehab their injuries and come in strong and rested for the playoffs. Starters and everyone healthy play San Antonio though just to send them a message.

    You have to lose sometime, and today was that time. I don’t see any issues with the loss other than they slept-walked through the game and paid for it. I agree that, and have said all year long, the Lakers need a back-up center. There should be a big in the wings with some kind of upside that could be brought in slowly. I don’t care about playing time, because that would be accomplished during the season, but you have to have someone there in case of emergency. The Lakers have no one. Yes today was a culmination of everything you fear (Pau and Bynum getting hurt and Lamar in foul trouble) but you have to be prepared for these things. We are not!!! Sorry, facts are facts.

    Do I still think that we will win the West and the Championship, YES!!! Am I panicking, NO!!! I’m just repeating the same mantra I have been using all year. I believe in insurance where it can be had. There is no insurance for Kobe but there are bigs out there who can spell our bigs that are far better than Caracter, Smith, and Ratliff.

    Our strength (three excellent bigs in Bynum, Gasol, and Odom) is also our weakness due to lack of depth. Denver has four or five exceptional bigs (depending who’s rating them) and that depth gave us all kinds of problems today. They may be a bigger threat than OKC. Only time will tell. Remember two of their Laker killers (Afflalo and Birdman) didn’t play today.

  15. The guys who runs Roundball Mining Co are more than a bit arrogant, defensive, and obnoxious. I was going to post a congrats over there but after reading the game recap decided against it. Excerpts:

    “emotion spilled out of the gritty power forward in the form of expletives aimed at the silicone-infused celebrities strung along the court-side seats at Staples Center. For Nuggets fans, this was a moment when we vicariously said what we’ve wanted to for a really long time, and thanks to Kenyon Martin, we got that opportunity without having to deal with the repercussions.

    …I salute his passion and defiance in the light of everything that the Lakers represent, including their superficial bandwagon “fans.” ”
    ____

    I didn’t post anything there; it is a Nuggets blog after all. But it was tempting.

    Chris Palmer at ESPN was swayed by this game and picked Denver to win the first round.

  16. This was a “schedule” loss, plain and simple. I was very pleasantly surprised that the team came back from that 17-pt deficit in Utah in that SEGABABA, but this was the third game the team played in less than 96 hours and the guys were playing another hot team. I’m cautiously relieved that both Pau and Drew are going to be okay. Also, if we get the #2 seed, I won’t be brokenhearted to see both DEN and OKC in the opposite half of the draw. It does look like we’ll get MEM in the first round, though.

  17. @ Dude

    Yes, I half-expected a loss today. 17-1 is pushing the law of averages.

    According to the Roundball Mining Co guys though, Denver simply out-toughed the Lakers and had more pride.

  18. Bynum tweaked his knee, was kept out for precautionary reasons. Gasol will have an MRI tomorrow on his knee. Nothing major expected.

    –Bresnahan Tweet

  19. Great point Dude #16, I saw this one coming really early on.

    I guess we will be third in Hollinger’s Power Ranking again. Darn. I’m being cynical in case anyone thinks otherwise.

    Get ready for Memphis, Dallas, and OKC.

  20. We definitely need to keep playing to win, but Bynum, Gasol and Kobe’s minutes should be kept down to prepare for the 1st round, since they are banged up. I am glad to hear that there appear to be no serious injuries after this game.

  21. The one thing we need to keep in mind is that other than SA & Chi, we need to stay ahead in the L column over Miami and Boston. I still think both of these teams could emerge and if we are able to win the West even without HCA in the WCF, it would be nice to have HCA in the Finals. I don’t think we can rest too much at this point.

  22. The Lakers had nothing to be ashamed of in losing this game. I thought that the Nuggets played very good team basketball and were remarkably poised in the 4th quarter when the game was on the line.

    If they face the Thunder, the Thunder better be well prepared. Maybe Hollinger is on to something . . .

  23. We cant cruise control at this stage of the season. Our team has finally got their stride and it would be silly for the coaches to lay low and ease on the players that eventually would disrupt the teams momentum. Afterall, these players are professional athletes and they are built for whatever physicality that they would be subjected to. We cannot treat them as babies and pamper them until the playoffs.

  24. I still don’t understand why it’s ok for Kenyon Martin to shove Odom in the back for 4 seconds straight. This was just an effort loss most likely brought on by the schedule.

    I have a real issue with Shannon Brown. He refuses to contest jump shots with his hand up. On offense all he does is dribble around at the top of the key aimlessly and blissfully unaware of other teammates or the shot clock until the clock runs out, he burns 7 seconds doing nothing or takes a long/bad 20+ft fadeaway. I thought we got rid of that shit with Farmar.

    Also, Kobe was clearly getting fouled repeatedly tonight but the refs had one of those weird days where they actually don’t call anything for a superstar, seemingly to buck the trend of him getting preferential treatment. I think it was pretty f’ing blatant, especially when JR Smith grabbed his jersey as he went up for a shot. I can’t imagine how frustrating it is to be the premier player in the entire league and the refs not only won’t call legitimate fouls on you, but they tech you up for barely slapping the floor as you’re getting up or inconsequential touch fouls. But he’s got to keep his cool this close to the playoffs and quit trying to draw the foul when they aren’t going to give it to you. Just adjust your game or be a little tougher. After 5 obvious fouls don’t get called, they aren’t going to change it up.

  25. Just a loss against a very good team, LA can´t win it all. I consider Kobe the best player in the world, but 10/27 is also a good reason to lose a match. Apart from turnovers and rebounding, that is true, all teams would love Kobe taking 30 shots per game with those %s. He will get big points but the team won´t get the championship. No a kobe hater here, I like his game, but from time to time it is good that teammates, coaches, journalists and fans remind him he is not the team and making 28 points out of 30 shots is not a good game. He is smart and will adjust his game to make this team win

  26. @24 and others,

    Have you watched the game?If you have apologies,you are entitled to your summary,if not please don’t be a box score reader only.Most of the KB shots missed were in the traffic layups and 4th quarter heaves.His three looked real flat though.Give Denver credit,they deserved this win,defended KB agressively.What it came down to at the end though were two clumsy Pau turnovers and a LO sleeping in a boxout because of candies:)

  27. The team just didn’t seem to have their legs under them the whole game. Flat shots, getting beat to the ball. That kind of stuff.

    As long as Pau and Bynum are healthy, that’s all I care in the aftermath of the game.

    Shannon is still very inconsistent. I find myself voicing the same frustrations now that I did the same time last year. He seems to have these good stretches in mid season that make you think he’s turned around and gotten it. Then he regresses and starts making bonehead decisions again. I like the guy, he tries hard, seems to take coaching well and doesn’t display an ego. But it’s so frustrating to see him just make up his mind. If he would just keep the ball moving and cut to the rim hard frequently, it would make the offense even more efficient.

    I keep hoping he’ll get it. It took Sasha about four years before he settled down and started making better decisions. With Brown’s personality, I was hoping it would be sooner. I wonder if part of him is still pressing because of the contract situation? He may not be even doing it consciously but perhaps he can’t relax completely. He is still a pretty young journeyman.

  28. LO failing to box out? – now that is news!

  29. Do we ever win games with 12:30 starts?