After two solid wins at Staples, the Lakers appear tonight in the mile high city for Game 3 of the first round series. It’ll be a different atmosphere – Denver crowds are notoriously loud and energetic, and the team itself desperately needs a boost. Whether it’s Ty Lawson getting hot, Aaron Affalo finding a way to stop Kobe, or something else altogether, the Nuggets need this win. The Lakers will have something to say about that – Kobe, Pau and Bynum are all playing at a very high level. And then there’s the matter of Metta World Peace, on enforced leave for four more games. The shorter this series is, the longer his absence will be in the next round. Is this a dilemma, or something that shouldn’t be part of the conversation?
Brian Kamenetzky at the LOL, looks at Andrew Bynum’s continued growth and ability to multitask.
C.A. Clark at Silver Screen and Roll, writes that Devin Ebanks is hidden in plain sight.
Janis Carr at the OC Register writes about Matt Barnes and his quest for a ring.
Daniel Buerge at Lakers Nation offers up some thoughts on the Metta World Peace dilemma.
Dan Devine at Ball Don’t Lie, has a take on Lamar Odom’s season along with a twitter narrative.
Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports, writes about Phil Jackson’s zen and the Knick’s trail of cash.
AP writer Greg Beacham previews tonight’s game, noting that Denver somehow has to recapture that elusive spark.
He’s the son of a biker mama who played in China before getting a shot with the Denver Nuggets. Known for crash and burn blocking and high fly dunks, he signed with the Hornets in his fourth year and eventually had his wings clipped for violating the league’s drug policy. He went into exile, working on his game and his life, listening incessantly to Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Gimme Back My Bullets”. Chris ‘the Birdman’ Andersen was reinstated after two years, returned to the Hornets for a grand total of five games, and found his way back to Denver where he became a staple member of the league’s most inked-up band of renegades. Those days and those guys are now gone. He sits on the bench and watches, his minutes and role taken by Javale McGee. If George Karl wants to get the crowd fired up at home, or wants to get his young team fired up, he could do worse than throwing the most humongous, psychedelic neck tattoo ever, back on the court, one last time.
– Dave Murphy