Game 2 Preview and Chat: Lakers vs. Nuggets

Emile Avanessian —  May 1, 2012

Well, that was fun.

A year after a playoff home opener in which they were brutally craved up by Chris Paul and after a(nother) regular season in which a double-digit leads made frequent cameos but were often unable to carry a show, on Sunday the Lakers physically dominated an overmatched foe in a manner that was expected, but conspicuously absent for much of the campaign. In what can only be called an ideal playoff opener, the Lakers, powered by an aggressive defense and some timely outside shooting, opened up an early double digit lead and – with the exception of a couple of barely perceptible blips – cruised to a 103-88 Game 1 victory over the Nuggets.

The Lakers were sparked by an glorious (or terrifying, depending our your perspective) defensive performance from Andrew Bynum (an NBA playoff record 10 blocked shots and the Lakers’ first postseason triple-double since Magic in 1991), sustained by a trio of outstanding postseason debuts and some timely long-range strike form Steve Blake, and capped by a blinding barrage from Kobe Bryant (9-of-14 after halftime, including 14 straight Laker points in 4:31 of the fourth quarter). Lest you forget, Pau Gasol was in attendance as well, looking every bit the part of “world’s most skilled big,” with 13 points (including a 3-pointer), 8 rebounds, 8 assists and a pair of blocked shots of his own. It was an all-around solid playoff opener, setting the tone for what should be a fairly businesslike – if more competitive – series.

This is not to say that ‘Drew will swat 11% (!!) of Denver’s shot attempts from the sky, Jordan hill double-doubles (10 and 10, with 4 offensive boards) are the new norm, nor that Devin Ebanks ought to be blindly penciled in for an ultra-efficient 12 (5-of-6 FG, 2-of-2 FT) each night (incidentally, the Lakers’ third playoff debutante, Ramon Sessions, turned in a completely replicable 14, on 6-of-11, and 5 assists). It would also be foolish to ignore the fact that, while Bynum impromptu block party dramatically dented the Nuggets’ composure in the paint (per Hoopdata, just 48.8% on shots at the rim and 13.4% from 3-9 feet out), the Lakers’ perimeter defenders did an atrocious job of keeping Denver out of the paint. The Nuggets attempted a whopping 54 shots from within nine feet, 39 of those from point blank range, more than half those by non-bigs Danilo Gallinari (5-of-8 at the rim), Andre Miller (4-of-8) and Al Harrington (0-of-4). If the Lakers are unable to prevent penetration into the lane – and remember, strong, speedy Ty Lawson was a non-factor on Sunday – in addition to probably making more than half of their shots at the rim, it’s possible that the Nuggets will be aided by a bit of gamesmanship from coach George Karl, whose postgame comments included a barb about Bynum’s “illegal” defense. Don’t be surprised if ‘Drew is clipped early with a Defensive 3 Seconds call, and forced to slightly alter his approach.

Additionally, as Karl himself suggested in the huddle – and as anyone that watched Sunday’s game will attest – the Nuggets entered Game 1 neither properly engaged mentally nor committed to pushing the breakneck pace that has been their calling card all season. A stronger showing from the starting backcourt (Lawson and Arron Afflalo shot a combined 6-of-22 and missed all five of their 3-point attempts), Al Harrington and Andre Miller (who actually had a great all-around game off the bench, with 12 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists) combined to hit more than a third of their shots and continued efficiency and activity from the starting frontcourt of Gallinari (7-of-14, 19 points) and the Manimal, Kenneth Faried (4-of-8, 10 points, 8 rebounds and so. much. energy.) ought to make Game 2 a more competitive affair.

With all of that said, however, the blueprint with which the Lakers can look to exploit their advantages over an undersized opponent remain very much in place. With a commitment to pounding the ball inside to Bynum, Gasol and Kobe, controlling the tempo and turning the Nuggets into a halfcourt team on offense and limiting turnovers (a season-long bugaboo; they had just 11 in Game 1), Game 2, while more competitive, should mirror Game 1 in its result. Prior to the playoffs I’d predicted a six-game Lakers victory in this series. I now have a tough time seeing the Nuggets pushing this matchup past five games.

Emile Avanessian


137 responses to Game 2 Preview and Chat: Lakers vs. Nuggets

  1. This one’s for Warren!!!!

  2. Nuggs should play a bit better. Can the lakers be patient though?

  3. -Wondering how much of Coach Karl’s crying about Bynum playing an illegal defense will influence the refs tonight?

    -Wondering if Jordan Hill will be available to play tonight?

    -Lakers & us, their fans, have been very fortunate so far pertaining to MWP’s suspension. He has not been missed one minute in the 1st two games. True, Gallinari had his best game vs the Lakers in some time, but big picture, no problem. 2 games down, 5 more to go before we can once again experience World Peace.

  4. Actually just read a report in the L. A. Times, J Hill will be available for game 2 vs the Nuggets. Now let’s hope he’s mentally & emotionally tough enough to do what he gets paid to do…play ball, effectively

    Don’t know if anyone noticed with all the good stuff that took place in game one, but Kobe did take more shots than Gasol & Bynum combined. 🙁

  5. Bigcitysid,
    I guess you didnt read me during the game… But I noticed. I was sort of heart broken actually. When Andre Miller was switched onto him I love Kobe attacking and kicking it out I shooters. But most of the game he is going against Afflalo one on one and losing the battle badly. He shot I beleieve 28 percent against Aflalo. Just awful basketball when Bynum is getting doubled on the catch and Gasol is gettig SINGLE COVERED BY A GUY FIVE INCHES SHORTER.

  6. so is the guy who posted the Hill would likely be out for the season a mere minutes after the first reports now going to admit that it would probably be a good idea to not act knowledgeable about things you don’t know anything about? Because that would be nice

  7. #4 & #5. Kobe shot 5-13 (38.4%) when Afflalo was the primary defender on him. When they shared the floor, he was 8-20 (40%) and scored 21 points (with a +12 in those 31 minutes).

  8. #4 & #5. Also, raw FGA’s don’t tell the story of the last game. Bynum was doubled on the catch and Pau was doubled in the post and then was asked to initiate a lot of the offense from the elbow when he was in the game. Their low-ish shot totals were reflective of Denver’s defensive game-plan and the team moving the ball.

  9. BigCitySid,

    I noticed. And I have been critical of Kobe in this regard during the season. However, there is a big picture here to be seen. If teams are swarming Bynum and forcing him to get rid of the ball then the number of shots he actually takes will go down. It’s either that, or he forces up bad shots.

    The key is Bynum making the right plays when it happens. Bynum may take only 9 shots, but he will create a number of shots for other players as a result. Swarming him gets Blake open threes. It also opens up lanes for players like Sessions, Barnes, and Ebanks to dive to the rim. As long as he is continually getting touches and making the right plays it is a net positive for the Lakers even if he doesn’t actually take a lot of shots.

    With all that said, I still don’t like seeing Kobe take close to 30 shots. But I’ll beat that horse another day.

  10. Nice writeup. I wish that I shared your optimism Emile. I still see the series going at least 6.

  11. Darius,
    I counted sixth passes into Bynum the entire game where he got doubled and passed out. Six! That’s not enough. Let’s be real. And yes I never are about FGA’s as you know because I say it ten times a month. All I care about is scoring touches for Bynum in the post. To set up shots off double teams for teammates. I counted SIX. That’s not close to enough and the Lakers won’t get away with that total against good teams.

    Also re Phil Jackson… I can’t see him going to the Knicks. He wants to win. I predict the Lakers beat the Heat because Riley is a bad GM and didn’t predict the Lakers getting to the Finals by not having a Center on the entire active roster. That will enable Riley to bring in Phil. That’s where Jackson wants to be.

  12. I see the series going at least 5 and possibly 6. It depends on how tonight’s game goes. If it’s similar to Sunday, the series goes 5. A tougher victory or a loss tonight stretches the series to 6. Either way let’s not get too excited. We’ve had a tendency to treat each individual game as indicative of the whole season on this blog lately.

  13. Oh. And just like I was guessing Kibe shot around 30 percent against Afflalo I am guessing bynum got around six post touches. Cause I sort of have a photographic memory when I go through the game in my head I sort of rememeber every possession in snap shot. But if someone knows how many times Bynum got the ball in the low post with a man behind him where he needed to create his own shot please let us know. I rememeber it being around six.

  14. Incredible. Lakers blow out the the Nuggets, Bynum stops focusing on his offensive stats and rededicates himself to defense (FINALLY), Kobe leads the team with a plus 26 coming off a shin injury…….. and fans are complaining about Kobe’s shot attempts again. You guys are hilariously out of control.

    The Lakers have found the perfect formula to contend for a title – run the offense through the best playmakers, Kobe, Gasol and Sessions….have Bynum captan the defense. If Bynum is single teamed, give him all the shots he can handle, but everyone knows, Bynum will continue to get doubled throughout the playoffs because the scouting report is out…..when Bynm is doubled, the offense struggles, it has all season.

    The Lakers played a near perfect game, and the haters are nit picking at Kobe’s shot attempts again. Enjoy the ride fellas, the last game was almost as good as it gets.

  15. Who’s nit picking his shots?

    Kobe has to score or the Lakers aren’t going anywhere. Everybody knows in order to do that he has to shoot the ball.

    My concern is that the Lakers don’t have a really good ranged shooting option on their roster. That means scoring droughts will be common.

    Opponents will continue to stack their defenses inside and force them into jump shots.

    As soon as they face a team with solid front line players (like OKC) who make it hard to score in the paint the Lakers will struggle to score points.

    Unless Kobe goes on a tear with his mid range shooting, we’re going to be in trouble here shortly because we won’t get enough from the others.

    Just because Denver may not be good enough to expose this doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

    I hope I’m wrong.

  16. “He shot I beleieve 28 percent against Aflalo.”

    “I counted sixth passes into Bynum the entire game where he got doubled and passed out. Six!”

    “Oh. And just like I was guessing Kibe shot around 30 percent against Afflalo I am guessing bynum got around six post touches.”



    So, you make up numbers and then build an argument around it….yeah….okay.

  17. #12 — great post. Need to keep home court or game 1 is a lot less meaningful. We’ve seen this before. I hope the Lakers keep the foot on the Nuggets’ collective throat.

  18. It makes sense for Kobe to shoot the ball. The two 7-footers are in perfect position for offensive rebounds and potential and-1’s. After a shot Kobe needs to get his but back on defense until the 7-footers can join him.

  19. Darius,
    Estimates guessing. I was only a little bit off on Kobe’s shooting percentages on Afflalo. He was under forty percent. That doesn’t get it done on one on one possessions. It just doesn’t. Does it? Maybe you like your SG shooting under forty percent in ISOS when you have a Center who gets doubled on every catch? Maybe you like your SG chucking up 25 shots when you have an All Star PF with a half of foot height advantage? I don’t know. What kind of basketball philosophies do you subscribe to Darius? How many post ups did Bynum get. Off the top of my head it was six. How many Darius? I bet it wasn’t more than seven. I’m not counting dunks off of Gasol lobs or Ramon hand offs as he drove the paint obviously. How many times did Andrew Bynum get the ball with his back to the basket? If it was more than seven ill stop correcting you the few times you make a mistake with your basketball critiques 😉

  20. Chearn,
    That comment takes the cake for most interesting comments on this site of all time. Missing shots around the basket when help defenders come over opens up offensive rebounds. Shooting over double teams opens up offensive rebounds. Taking awkward fall a way 20 footers trying to draw fouls on Afflalo just doesn’t cut it. I thought Kobe would play winning team basketball when the playoffs started. I was dead wrong at least for the first game. We will see. It’s a game by game quarter by quarter problem for Kobe. Maybe he just knows the Nuggets aren’t a problem so he trying to put up stats this round before the real playoffs begin. We will see. Keep your fingers crossed. Kobe just isn’t getting to the basket or drawing double teams making his teammates better. Except of course when LA runs their 1/2 PnR and Andre Miller switches onto him. Cause against Miller Kobe looks like the old Kobe. Basically because he is going against someone as old as the new Kobe.

  21. Darius @16: You forgot the best part. First the numbers are made up to support an argument. Then someone (you in this case) responds with real #’s. The final part is a response about how the real numbers do not matter or a change of subject all together : )

  22. Hollinger’s Odds: There was quite a bit of talk about why Hollinger had us as such long shots to win the title. I decided to complete some research I had started earlier in the year. We finished with the “6th” best (where have I heard that before) record in the league this year. In the 65 years of NBA history, the team with a record of “6th” overall best (or worse) has won the title 4 times. By contrast the team with the best record has won the title 30 times.

    PS: I just noticed that 2 of the 4 teams who accomplished this feat – beat us in the finals.

  23. Robert,
    Hollinger’s odds are also based a lot off of point differential for the regular season. The Lakers had one of the worst differentials for any team in the playoffs. It’s one of the reasons why a team like Philly (who’s differential was better) had a better chance of winning the title than the Lakers even though they’re the 8th seed in the East.

    Sorry, I’m not looking up any stats to try and disprove a guy that’s just going to make stuff up. The burden of proof is not on *me* as I’m not making up stuff up based off a “sort of” “photographic memory”.

  24. Hard to claim you have a photographic memory the same time you are spelling Kobe as Kibe.

    Just saying.

  25. Darius: I honestly did not know how Hollinger calculated his odds, so thanks. Interesting that his odds of one of the top 4 teams winning it this year are 75%, + people on this site said that it was overstated + teams like the Lakers should be much higher. As per my stats, in NBA history one of the top 4 has won it 94% of the time, so if anything he is underestimating the top teams using that differential method. Simple W/L record might be better.

  26. too bad jordan hill is going to jail…

  27. I am not sure of any ‘odds’ of us winning the chip (I am sure they are low), but the Spurs and Thunder and Heat all worry me a lot. Very much in fact.

    Go Lakers!!!

  28. Ben

    Clearly you are not an attorney. Clearly you don’t understand tbe concept of presumed innocent. Clearly you have zero basis other then what you saw on TMC.

    Here in America you get your day in court and judges and or juries make those decisions.

    Good thing there isen’t a prison for ignorance. The jails would run out of room.

  29. #7, #14, & #18, as I stated “Don’t know if anyone noticed with all the good stuff that took place in game one, but Kobe did take more shots than Gasol & Bynum combined. :-(“.

    Let’s remember, this is the post-season, not the regular season. It will be interesting to see what adjustments Denver makes tonight.

    Of course I’m pleased with the win, but I’m looking at the big picture. Kobe took 28% (24 of 86) of the Lakers shots in game one. That’s almost exactly the same % as ‘Melo is taking for the Knicks…and we all know the Lakers have better scoring options than the Knicks…don’t we?

  30. Lakers turned it up a notch game 1. Would love to see them play at that same level of energy and not regress to nonchalant play as they’ve done in the past.

    Lawson will have the ball in his hands in PnR with spot up shooters. Guys have to stay home and not get sucked into the paint leaving open guys for 3.

    Pau at the FT line initiating offense is effective he can duplicate the game he had with those same opportunities.

  31. ignore Ben, probably trolling from Denver…

  32. Robert,
    More goes into his rankings than that, but point differential is one of the key factors. I should also note, however, that there are a lot of variables that aren’t taken into account (injuries, for example) that do matter a great deal and Hollinger acknowledges as much.

    I should add, I respect Hollinger’s work a great deal. But his numbers are only a tool to help analyze the game. So, I don’t think they should be played up as the ultimate answer nor should they be disregarded as not meaningful to the conversation.

  33. Kobe took only 10 shots in the first half–I say “only” because we’ve seen him take far more than that in a half when locked up against Afflalo–lost in the “Kobe is a chucker” are the four assists he had in the first half–at least two of which were set-ups for wide-open first quarter threes that helped give LA some “airspace” early.

    Also lost in the narrative is how locked in Kobe was on D against Afflalo. We have all (myself included) bemoaned Kobe’s proclivity for playing “centerfield” and, as a result, making the other team’s “2” an “all-star for a night” due to wide-open bombs from the perimeter. Not on Sunday. Kobe played hard on the defensive end, and Afflalo’s offensive performance (which Denver relies on more now that Melo and Nene are gone) suffered as a result (maybe from working hard on “D” against Kobe too?)

    In light of all of the above, I fail to see how Kobe didn’t try to play “winning basketball” on Sunday.

    P.S.–if DEN is going to “sell out” to stop Gasol and Bynum, like they did on Sunday, and live or die based on whether Kobe and the rest of the cast can score—then Kobe and the rest of the cast have to shoot and score. Insisting on forcing the ball into Bynum or having Bynum force up shots against double and triple teams doesn’t strike me as “high percentage” basketball IQ.

  34. Confirmed from Hawks: Sprained left knee for Josh Smith.

  35. How does Vegas have us-odds wise for winning it all? Aaron and Darius-I enjoy reading both your comments and wish it wouldn’t get so heated twixt y’all. Notice the blog’s been getting a little tense at times. We’re all on the same side.

  36. Wow, the East Playoffs are becoming a trainwreck that nobody wants to watch.

    Re: Kobe’s shot selection: Yes, he shot a lot, but he was also drawing a lot of fouls (9-11 from the line) and drawing double teams himself, which lead to 4 assists including a couple of those Steve Blake 3’s in the first quarter.

    Compare that to Gasol, who the offense went through for the majority of the time Kobe was on the bench (he shot 14 times), and he didn’t shoot any more efficiently than Kobe and didn’t get to the line once.

    The proof is in the pudding, Kobe is an offensive genius. He has moments where he’s too selfish, but he’s still our # 1 option because of his aggressive nature and ability to pass out of the double.

  37. @Glove–is the title going to go to the last team with its full complement of players? They are dropping like flies.

  38. Kobe Alert: KB pulled into a tie with M Cheeks for 6th on the all time playoff steals list. With his next steal he ties Byrd for 5th. He needs 14 dimes to catch DJ for 8th on that list. He needs 19 FT’s to catch Malone for 2nd there. When it comes to all time playoff lists, KB should own the entire category before he is done.

  39. clover: Vegas has us at between 8/1 and 12/1 to win it all, which is about right. After Denver, we need to beat OKC, SA, and Miami in succession. If you feel that we are even money in all of those (generous), that would make us exactly 1 out of 8 (7/1). Throw in a small chance of upset against Denver and maybe we are 8/1.

  40. @mindcrime, possibly the team with their full complement of players wins it all. I just hop no more injuries in these playoffs.

  41. God I hope they continue to play Bynum like they did on that first possession. If they don’t double until he is in the lane/turning to shoot….He will score 30.

    Great ball movement so far!

  42. Terrible cheap early foul call on Ebanks—what did he get called for? Now he picked up a second and has to sit.

    On the plus side–holy defensive intensity batman.

  43. Great start Great energy!

  44. Love the Gasol to Bynum lob smash connection.

  45. I don’t think that Denver will try that full-court press like that again. Gasol shows off his pg skills. lmao and then Bynum cherry picks for the next one 🙂

    Pretty funny stuff!

    I didn’t get a chance to chime in on the Kobe is a “chucker” discussion…. I will just add that this is what Kobe has to deal with. He is the most polarizing basketball player I have ever seen. Some of his ‘fans’ won’t be satisfied unless he shoots less than 15 shots a game at greater than 60% all while averaging 10 assists a game.

  46. This is fun basketball if you are a Lakers fan.

  47. Must. Slow. Down. Too. Many. Jumpshots.

  48. Gonna run us to death. This is where short bench hurts.

  49. Gotta limit the O boards!

  50. Five ORB’s for DEN already….

  51. Started off with Bynum ended with Kobe sound familiar. More movement needed for Kobe’s wing catches guys standing around.

    Karl seems to be sending doubles to everyone but Kobe. he wants him to shoot.

  52. Kobe’s got that look

  53. Harrington only one keeping Denver in game. He’s a career 35% shooter from 3. Not going to keep making contested 3s…just need to limit TOs and quick shots

  54. Lakers taking care of the ball only have 1 turnover, need to grab some ORBs, zero in the first quarter. Kobe off to a good start with 14 points and 1 steal. Bynum 10 points and 5 rebounds.

  55. This genius Brown went with Blake/Sessions again.


  56. Get this group off the court.

    Mike Brown is just a clueless non-coach.

    He costs us 8 to 1o points a game with his rotations!

  57. Too many mental errors.

  58. If there playing Kobe one on one all game he may get 50. That’s the gameplan double the bigs and bait Kobe to shoot.

  59. Go ahead Nuggets- single cover Bynum and Kobe. This Nuggets team is scary good in transition. Please slow this pace down.

  60. I love 7 footer to 7 footer alley-oops!

  61. Somebody needs to put a body on Faried.

  62. Wow! Now that was the most impressive play I have seen from Drew. Soft hands and great concentration.

  63. 13(!!!!) offensive rebounds for DEN—the simple answer for how LA can outshoot DEN 53-38 for the first half commit only 4 turnovers and yet only be ahead by seven…

    Pretty move by Bynum at the end of the half—but he and Gasol need to start cleaning up the boards…

  64. den 13 off rebounds at half. had 16 all last game

  65. This is not going to be as easy as some people think. Running in mile high will hurt Lakers bigs big time.

    Like I have said a 6 game series.

  66. I can’t comprehend how this Blake/Sessions backcourt is still being used. Its ridiculous to see it in every game.

  67. “Running in mile high will hurt Lakers bigs big time.”

    It’s indoors, not out, and so the atmosphere is controlled (much the same way that Vegas pumps extra oxygen into your room, so have more time and energy to lose your money gambling).

  68. Nervous about this second half …

  69. Denver with 18 second chance points at the half. 13 Offensive rebounds and Nuggets transition hurting the Lakers.

  70. LosFelizLaker May 1, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    Did Birdman finally die of tattoo poisoning?

  71. ive never seen a player more clueless than Bynum when a double comes. He loses his composure and just wants to protect the ball.

    He needs his eyes up and to not turn his back on the defense. He can’t see which rotations Denver made.
    He needs to keep his eyes up and the ball high ala Shaq.

    The Lakers mediocre spacing contributes to this as teams can just zone up weakside and overload strong side. Lakers need to quick hit a cutter or something, because any entry to Bynum outside the paint gets the offense staganant.

  72. Remember when we used to cringe every time LA would try to run a fast break? Sessions with a nice decision and pass to Gasol for the lay-in

  73. This Lakers team flipped the defensive switch at halftime and Kobe! Man this guy is unbelievable.

  74. Tonight, Kobe is BALLIN’!

  75. pau is razor sharp.

  76. It’s been a trend Lakers get a big lead then lose it. Let’s see if they hold on double digit lead.

  77. Man is Sessions a poor defender. He is often 2 steps behind Lawson.

  78. What a block by Kobe on Harrington at the rim.

  79. Here we go again

  80. Blake is just garbage. Can’t pass or shoot.

  81. How does this team do it!? How can they get so far up and then completely relax?

  82. I’m getting so f-ing tired of blowing big leads. Figure it the f*ck out already!

  83. that is 83 thirty point playoff games for KB (only MJ has more at 109)

  84. The Nuggets simply are no match for the Lakers and the Lakers know it. Whenever they want to, they make Denver look hapless. It’ll be over in 5.

  85. Nuggets hanging, it is still a ballgame. That pick in roll of Miller/Lawson to Mozgov is killing them right now

  86. Brown may feel Hill is a better matchup vs denver or is saving Pau’s legs for the 2nd round. I’ll let you choose.

    Sessions is waiting too long to start the offense. Lakers need to play instead of running clock.

  87. People are right.
    Mike Brown is a lame coach.

    After all, who else we can blame for this atrocious 1-12 3-pt performance?

    The players?


  88. Ok now Mike. Do not put that Blake/Sessions mess out there. You have 2 games rest. You can play Kobe the entire 4th quarter.

    Other wise this will be a tied game once you get him back in.

    This is the PLAYOFFS Mike!

  89. Got to love the hustle of Hill. He is everywhere.

  90. Hill with the block leads to the Sessions smash on the fast break.

  91. Typical Bagel night, 0 points in 17 min. Really disgusting to see it in the playoffs.

  92. HOw does Hill out-rebound bynum 10-8 when he only played less then 2/3 of the time Bynum plays?
    Bynum is doing great on offense, but he still is not displaying the energy he could on rebounds.

  93. Mike Brown how can you continue to play Blake?

    Blake has 4 TO and zero points.

    Can you read stats?

  94. Pau is so so good at passing

  95. Why is Blake playing so many minutes!!!

  96. Why the eff is blake playing extended minutes? The nuggets didnt evwn have 2 pg’s in!!

  97. 1-13….sigh….

  98. Well, I was going to pop in and ask why Blake was still in the game, but I see that everyone else beat me to it…smh

  99. There is nothing you can do about Blake in there right now. You gotta trust him or go to staples center right now and complain to Brown.

    Thats all.

  100. Anon

    Because Mike Brown is the coach.

    He like guys with 3 times more turnovers then points.

  101. Man we have been horrible from 3-point land. We are 1-13 tonight. The Nuggets are slightly better at 3-16. This is normal for us, but it’s a good thing that the Nugs are off tonight or this game might be much closer.

  102. @95 the day will never come where i trust steve blake in a pickup game, let alone a playoff game.

  103. lakers offense is too conservative.

  104. More off ball action too many statues

    Some bad habits Lakers can’t seem to shake. Knowing your going to win this series now is the time to get those straightened out.

  105. Funky Chicken May 1, 2012 at 9:57 pm

    If effort decides this game, Nuggets win.

  106. I feel like jaws music should play every time blake checks back in.

  107. this series feels like Phoenix WCF 2010… where they’ll tie it up 2-2 at home when shots start falling.

    atleast what i fear… hope not.

  108. Kobe with the pass to Bynum for the dunk and 1. Lakers get some breathing room.

  109. Great Kobe!

    Need it because every second 0 for 5 Blake is on the court we are playing a man short.

    Kobe is saving your job Mike!

  110. Why doesn’t Brown play Barnes instead of Blake?

  111. We post Bynum/Gasol up and the Nuggets swarm them. Then they pass out to someone who is just not confident in their shot right now and you end up with a turnover or long missed shot with a fast break the other way. We miss MWP more than we thought…

    This team could give us some serious issues in Denver. (Not that they aren’t right now!)

  112. If judgment decides, your judgment wins and Nuggets will win.

    Man, for all of Mike Brown’s rotations, stagnant offense, we’re still gonna trust this team.

    We’re watching Lakers basketball for how many year, we’ve got to trust them.

    Have some faith.

  113. Sessions has been horrible getting Lakers in the offense this half. Kobe needs to be the primary ball handler these situations not Sessions.

    No ebanks no barnes??

    Brown used the mo, west, lebron lineup in late game situations in cle. That’s why he uses the Sessions, blake, kobe. He won’t when Ron gets back.

  114. Stupid crowd yelling for tacos in a close playoff game!

  115. i hope we see the lakers continue to put andre miller in screen-roll vs. sessions.

  116. Barnes was having a very off night tonight. Blake has done a good job getting hustle rebounds.

    Ebanks isn’t playing right now cuz he’s not ready for primetime yet. Played well today, but made some careless decisions in the 4th.

    Nugs are a dangerous team. They are going to be super tough to beat in Denver.

  117. Clutch FTs, but since it’s Kobe, oh-so-routine…

  118. 14

  119. this is gonna be a dogfight in Denver

  120. Lakers gave this denver team confidence it shouldn’t have. They have to tighten things up.

  121. ha. the crowd groaned. no tacos!

  122. Lakers Win, 2 down, 2 to go.

    Second straight wire to wire win over the Nuggets.

  123. It should be tough at Denver, but if the Laker take one of the 2, they’re golden.

  124. 15-29 for Kobe, and that’s with a few meaningless prayers here and there…

    As for his 38, I guess it proves that he could have had the scoring title this year 😉

    Anyway, 14 to go.

  125. lady interviewer really “smitten” with Kobe eh? I suppose she’s impressed by the 50% shooting for 38 points.

    Not impressed with Andrew. He got some good points but wasn’t the BEAST we need him to be. Perhaps he perceives himself as so great that he can turn it on when he gets ready—and tonight wasn’t the night. Come on Drew did Hill get the same amount of rebounds as you??

    Boy Pau is so GREAT…I Mean he’s no Tough guy but he’s still a great player who KNOWS how to play the game.

    & I like how cool Sessions is on the court. He’s going to be special if he can stick with the Lakers.

    great game guys. I know they just got bored but DENVER will have plenty of excitement awaiting us come Friday.

    Now FRIDAY will really let us know what sort of TEAM we have set for the playoffs.

  126. Bynum is getting lazy again. Seriously, 39 min of play time with only 9 rebounds? Jordan Hill played 20 min and got 10 rebounds.

    There was one play where Kobe was on a fast break and passed to Bynum for a dunk –it was the perfect example of Bynum not running back in transition D (Denver had a fast break prior to that). If only Bynum can bring that energy every game, but it’s probably too much to ask for an entitled immature athlete. Oh wait, he gets paid 14 million a year to bring energy to his game. I forgot.

  127. I’m thinking the reason why Bynum didn’t have as many rebounds is because Jordan Hill and Ebanks got rebounds that Bynum or Pau normally get.

    I mean, the team got out rebounded, and from memory that was mostly done in the fourth quarter.

    Completely content with this win. Kobe played great, Pau played great, and Bynum played great. If those three play great, Lakers chances are great. Simple? Yes. True? Yes.

    Lakers had a big lead early, and while people would love to win games by 20, those are rare in the playoffs. I figured Denver was going to come back into it, but Lakers did well to win the game.

    Props to Ebanks Defense on Gallinari. Terrible shooting for Gallinari. And Ebanks team high +8.


  128. Pau has completely stepped into Lamars point forward role.

  129. @127

    Did you watch the game?

    Raydiuz was right, even Gasol had only 10 rebs to Bynums’ 9.

    Watch the game again. So that you’ll see.

  130. I’ll give Bynum his props tonight. He played pretty well.

    Nuggs were doubling off ball – and he’s so bad at dealing with double teams that it made sense for the Lakers not to go to him.

    Lakers gotta make sure not to be so careless with the Ball. Every missed shot/turnover felt like a score against us.

    But hey – the Lakers can’t shoot any worse from 3, can they?

  131. All the offensive rebounds the Nuggets had hurt the Lakers. It eventually evened out, but the Lakers can’t give them extra opportunities, especially with the length the Lakers have.

  132. 37 off rebounds in 2 games for Denver.

    Barnes and Blake = 2 points. Sessions 6-16 he had a problem starting the offense. His first road playoff game should be off ball more.

  133. 127

    Watch the game again with an eye on Bynum. He is the anchor on D. He was doing a great job of showing and challenging shots. He didnt block as many but he altered a lot of shots. When he does that it’s tough to get back to rebound. Nothing wrong with 9 boards. By the way Hills role is different. He is playing the power forward. Completely different role.

  134. Watching Pau operate in the high post makes me EXTREMELY HAPPY we didn’t trade him for CP3 or at the trade deadline.

    Pau is so talented with skills that I don’t think are matched by any other 7 footer. He operated in the post with his back to the basket. he operated in the high post facilitating the offense. He shot and made 20 footers. He ran a 2 on 1 fast break and perfectly alley – ooped to Bynum. Is unselfish enough to NOT CARE about getting the ball when he should (Bynum did that a few times tonight, though I’m not mad at him because he probably should have gotten the ball more tonight). 5-10, 10 rebounds (led the team along with Hill), 5 assists (led the team), 2 steals, 2 blocks.

    Very happy that we did not trade the most versatile big man in the league.

  135. What’s maddening is Lakers always go away from what works. Bynum was picking the defense apart and lakers went away. From then on it was Iso’s and sloppy possessions at denver’s frantic pace. Offense will have to be run through the bigs in denver. Didn’t help blake was off and barnes doesn’t look healthy.

  136. Most important stat of the evening, Lakers won the game.

    My observation for Game 2, George Karl made some adjustments in solving his handicap in height, he won that battle against MBrown on R but not the game itself because of Lakers Superstars Kobe, Sessions & Bynum. I think Mbrown did not prepare well for Karl’s counter moves, I don’t see any creativity at all on Mbrown plays. He continue to play Sessions and Blake despite latter’s off night while McRob and Murphy are the latest casualties in losing their rotation assignment.

    The other B & B Blake and Barnes are totally out of sync, outplayed by their guards and bricked their perimeter shots.

    The good news Lakers built a 2-0 lead but naysayers are not fully convinced that Lakers can sweep the Nuggets in Denver.