Game 5 Preview and Chat: The Denver Nuggets

Darius Soriano —  May 8, 2012

The playoffs are moving quickly this year. After 4 games in every series, not a single one is tied 2-2 and two of them are already over with the Thunder and Spurs waiting for their 2nd round opponents as I type this. The Lakers have a chance to close out the Nuggets tonight and advance to face those Thunder but doing so will not be easy. The game that sends an opponent fishing is typically the most difficult one to win and while the Lakers have the luxury of trying to do so at home, completing the task will still take a strong performance.

And by “strong”, I really mean one full of effort and focus. At this point in the series, there are no more secrets. X-factors have made their collective appearances, tweaks to rotations and lineups have occurred, and the subtle shifts in game plan to try and counter the X’s and O’s of each side have been put into place. Getting any win – in any game – from here on out will not be about pulling a rabbit from a hat but rather grinding out the game-plan that has been refined in the previous contests.

So, with that said, here are a few things to watch for tonight in this pivotal game 5…

*Will efficient Kobe return? In the first two games of this series Kobe totaled 79 points on nearly 50% shooting. Over the next two games he totaled 44 points on 35% shooting. As I pointed out yesterday, there are factors that contribute to Kobe shooting a low percentage but the fact remains he must find a way to be a bit more efficient with his opportunities. In game 4 he showed more resolve in going to the basket and had much of his success working earlier in the shot clock with power dribbles where he could either pull up for his mid range jumper or get deeper into the paint for lay ins. I’d like to see more of that approach tonight as it’s clear that when he’s assertive with his dribble rather than simply jab-stepping and taking jumpers, he can do damage against Affllalo.

*The Lakers bigs must work through contact and establish the deep post. Game 4 showed that the Nuggets would fight the Lakers’ bigs for every inch of real estate on the low block. Faried pushed and shoved Gasol off the ball all night while McGee and Mozgov did the same to Andrew Bynum. Both Lakers’ big men still fared well on offense but they didn’t get nearly the number of post touches they could have if they’d fought through that contact more and established deeper position. The Lakers’ advantage still lives inside and though McGee has done well to block some shots and the Nuggets wings are digging down more often, the fact remains that Pau and ‘Drew must do damage in the paint for the Lakers to win this game. Gasol especially needs to battle with Faried for position and secure the post so he can go to work. His height advantage is simply too much for the Nuggets to overcome and his superior passing makes double teaming him very difficult. A successful post-centric attack from Gasol can turn a close game into a one sided affair and I hope to see him work to make that happen.

*Can Matt Barnes get on track? He’s only made 6 field goals all series and is shooting 23% over the 4 games. He’s only made 1 of his 14 three point attempts. His activity on the glass and general hustle remain strong but there’s a reason he’s on the bench down the stretch of these games – he can’t be depended on to make the defense pay when the Lakers’ big three draw extra defensive attention. His normal slashing opportunities aren’t as prevalent because of the collapsing D so the areas in which he thrives offensively are more limited. However, that doesn’t change the fact that he needs to find a way to produce some baskets. Maybe he can run out for a lay up or two. Maybe he can get some in-between shots to fall where he slashes but not all the way to the rim. And, of course, maybe he can break through and get a couple of jumpers to fall. But, he needs to make it happen. And soon.

*Controlling the glass is very, very important. In the Lakers’ lone loss they were out-rebounded by 10 and allowed 19 offensive rebounds. That was cleaned up in game 4 but keeping it that way is a major priority. The Lakers must do better at containing dribble penetration and must slow the ball in transition and not allow guys to get all the way to the rim in the open court as both allow the Nuggets bigs to sneak to the front of the rim and clean up misses when the extra help arrives. Make Lawson and Miller shoot jumpers to earn their points and when they do get into the paint the guards that got beat must hustle to the paint and help rebound the ball. Kobe had 8 rebounds in the last game mostly because he was sinking down and clearing the boards when his bigs helped on dribble penetration. Tonight, if the Lakers can’t slow Denver off the dribble, Kobe, Sessions, Ebanks, Barnes, and Blake will need to repeat that effort.

*Commenter RR made a salient point about three point shooting:

In the two close games in the series, Denver went 4/19 and 3/19 from the arc. The Lakers, including the daggers from Blake and Sessions, were 5/17 in Game 4. So, one key reason that the Lakers are up 3-1 is that they are facing one of the few teams in the playoffs that is worse on the 3, overall, than they are. While no one stat tells the whole story of course, this is something to watch, in that if Denver can hit a few 3s, that gives them a much better chance to extend the series.

The Lakers must continue to invite the three point shot (as Denver isn’t particularly good at it) while also contesting them to avoid giving them clean looks. Afflalo is dangerous from the corners while Gallo and Lawson can do damage from the top of the key. Al Harrington can knock that shot down from anywhere and must be rotated too when Denver runs pick and pop actions. Denver isn’t the most disciplined offensive team – part of their strategy is push pace and get up shots quickly, after all – and they will take the shots given to them. That said, the Lakers can’t lose sight of their defensive principles and give up open shots that go uncontested. Denver is a team that can get hot and if the Lakers want to end this series tonight, they’d be wise to not let them do so this evening.

Darius Soriano

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200 responses to Game 5 Preview and Chat: The Denver Nuggets

  1. Two eternal questions to watch every playoff game for this team (in addition to all the smart commentary Darius wrote).

    1. Is Bynum going to be bothered to try tonight?

    2. Is Kobe’s jumpshot going to fall? It was falling in game 2, and not so much in game 1. Hopefully the thicker LA air helps Kobe in that regard.

  2. im very glad Mike Brown has hinted in an interview with K brothers that he is unliekly to throw the Blake/Sessions combo against the Thunder

  3. ps. I predict a big game from kobe tonight and a fairly comfortable win

  4. Good preview, as usual. The hottest Lakers topic right now is the Sessions-Blake backcourt. Andy K interviewed Mike Brown on that very subject:

    I’m not one of those enraged by flopping – I generally choose to ignore it – but this is egregious. Chris Paul flops when a referee touches him. It’s like it’s just ingrained in his DNA now:

    And if anyone ever wanted to see Shawn Kemp perform Shakespeare, your Moment of Zen:

    (Hat tip to Beckley Mason for the last one)

  5. Addendum to 1 – meant Kobe’s shots falling in games 1&2, not so much in 3&4.

    Silly typo

  6. >>>that he is unliekly to throw the Blake/Sessions combo against the Thunder

    if he does, Harden would eat them alive:(

  7. From previous thread:

    The Lakers, almost unnoticed, have added a chemelion like flavor to their aura.

    Other teams can go small–the Lakers can go “young”–fielding a team with Kobe that includes Sessions, Ebanks, Hill, and Bynum–or the Lakers can go “veteran”, fielding a team that includes Blake, MWP/Barnes, Gasol, and Murphy.

    Against the Nuggets, the Youth flavor is very helpful. Against the Thunder, the youth flavor may be critical. Against San Antonio, Miami, and, yes, Boston, the veteran/youth mix and match may shade more toward the veteran overlay.

    The more I see the chemelion flash of colors, the better I like it.

  8. Great article by the K brothers. Appreciate how they got MB to give some detailed thoughts on the decision, along with an on court demonstration.

    I see MB’s logic but agree with K brothers that it would be nice to see Ebanks take some minutes just to see how he does. But I’ve wanted to see more minutes from Ebanks even during the regular season. Tough to start experimenting too much now.

  9. Brown’s comments on Blake/Session make me recall the wisdom of Homer Simpson; “Marge, I agree with you – in theory. In theory, communism works. In theory…”

  10. Darius made a popular point in his preview regarding Pau battling for post position. That can the argued. But what Pau has done this season as opposed to last years joke of a postseason for the all star PF is not try to bang with pkayers in the post. That’s not his game. Last year he tried to Bynum his way to the basket and as a result shot under forty percent through two rounds against shorter (not weaker) PFs. That results in Gasol taking off balance shots from five feet away. Gasol has done a good job this entire season getting to the high post against shorter pkayers and fading away (ala KG). That’s his game. He is a finesse player and it’s served him well so far. Moral of the story… Be who you are. Bynum don’t shoot threes like Pau… and Pau, don’t try and muscle people like Bynum.

  11. Lakers have to handle business tonight. Need all the time they can get game planning for okc.

  12. The question that I was hoping the K Bros asked Coach Mike Brown was, upon the return of MWP, will there still be a spot within the rotation for Ebanks? Basically, giving us a solid 9 man rotation for the remainder of the playoffs.

    Count me as 1 who feels that Ebanks has earned the right to remain a contributor, coming off the bench along with Blake, Hill & Barnes. Just hope that Coach Brown is in agreement.

  13. I’m pretty much in the same camp as chownoir and James. I see MB’s logic, and I see nothing grossly wrong with his reasoning. And I appreciate his answering the questions thoughtfully and candidly. But if the numbers are showing that the lineup is, on the whole, a hindrance, then MB has to admit there’s a disconnect between theory and reality. I think all coaches tend to feel more comfortable with the older vets over the young players.

    I do find the Barea-Terry comparison a bit off though. Terry is a pure 2-guard. He’s a scorer with good ball-handling skills, but he’s best played next to a ball-handling PG. Blake is…to be quite frank, not really great (or even that good) at anything. But he most definitely is not a bucket-getter in the mold of Terry. He can’t be run off curls the way Terry can. And so having Blake on the floor often means taking the ball out of Sessions hands – I’ve noticed numerous plays where it looks like Blake is initiating the offense, and Sessions stands in the corner. That’s decreasing our offensive efficiency. The more Sessions controls the ball, the better.

    The shooting part, I agree with. Ebanks doesn’t have the range and Barnes has been slumping.

  14. Ebanks deserves minutes for defensive purposes and for a change of pace if needed. The Blake/Sessions lineup has it’s defencencies on defense but for it to be successful is for Blake to make 3s. Since Blake hasn’t been able to make open threes consistently it doesn’t have the effect it supposed to. The Mo/West, Barea/Terry, Paul/Foye lineups work so well because one will make you pay for leaving them open. The only hope is Blake makes his open shots when that lineups in the game. 6 – 18 this series 33%.

    Don’t get me wrong I’m not in favor of the lineup nor do I think Blake is a good player but a floor spacer is needed sadly he’s the best lakers have. 3 of the last 5 national televised games he’s made big shots at key moments.

  15. When Steve Blake is ineffective to the point it’s clearly hurting the team, which is often, he shouldn’t be on the floor in the 4th. But when his competition Barnes at the backup 2 are not playing well either it gives reason he should play. Blake is hard on the eyes but he has made as many 3s as anyone in the 4th.

    4th quarter this series

    Blake 1/2 – fg – 2/6 3pt – 0/2 ft – 3 ast

    Sessions 5/11 fg – 1/5 3pt – 6/6 ft – 1 ast

    Barnes 0-3 3pt 1 ast

    Kobe 7/12 fg – 2/8 3pt – 3/4 ft – 5 ast

  16. One of the keys is gang rebounding. Denver is big and active up front and can battle Drew And Paul. But when Hill has 11, Kobe gets 8, Sessions and Barnes get 4 each, Ebanks has 3 – then you can slow down Denver. Offensive boards really help slow them down, and the Lakers had 19 Sunday. If the Lakers can extend their own possessions and limit Denver to one shot, that is a winning formula. But it takes more than two guys rebounding to do it?

  17. My fearless prediction for tonight!

    Lakers by 7.

  18. Kevin, nice breakdown. I do wonder if Denver will start paying a bit more attention to Blake now.

    Between game one and the last game, that’s some big shots he hit that you’d think would resonate with Den.

    Heck even a half step more towards him would give a little more breathing room. But maybe Den will keep gambling he can’t hit those.

  19. Kobe Alert: KB is in the top 10, in 11 of the 15 most significant cumulative stats in all time playoff history. I mention this becuase he is moving up in the other 4. He needs 2 Def RB’s to get by Rasheed for 20th. He needs 1 Reb of any kind to move by great Laker AC Green for 38th in Tot Rebs. He needs 3 Off Rebs to eclipse Laker great M Thompson for 56th. He needs 1 block to catch L Nance for 34th. Everywhere else he his top 10 in these type of stats. So now for some of those: He needs just 1 dime to get 8th place ahead of Dennis Johnson. He needs 8 Ft’s to catch K Malone for 2nd (of course the refs need to actually put him on the line for this to occur). He needs 1 steal to get 300 for his playoff career (5th man to do so). So it should be a busy night for #24.

  20. Agreed this is a close out game, so Kobe and the Lakers will come out making a statement.

    Ebanks shooting percentage should be better at home as young players tend to play well in front of their home crowd.

    Drrayeye, the Lakers have quite a few different combinations they can put on the floor. If Murphy gets some time he’s going to have to come in willing to take and make the shot.

  21. I appreciate the observations regarding the 3. I thought last year was defined by poor 3 point shooting and defending. In the two championship years, the Lakers seemed to me to do a better job on rotations and close outs defensively and in hitting timely shots (from a number of players).

    I still worry that will be a problem moving forward and the comment from RR is telling in that regard.

  22. Kevin@15: So I guess you are saying that MB’s options are a little limited : )
    Kevin/Teamn: Up until fairly recently, we had a guy who was pretty good at hitting 3’s in the 4th quarter of playoff games (sorry – could not resist).

    PS: A good side effect of this. We should see plenty of double-teamed, turn-around, fadeaways in the coming games : )

  23. It makes zero sense to play Sessions/Blke when Kobe is on the floor.

    That’s my grip on Brown.

    Last time I checked we have one of the best SG ever. Why put him at the 3 aganist bigger players.

    Brown can babble all he wants but that is just plain DUMB

  24. what is critical tonight is that the Lakers come out with intensity EARLY!
    look at our loss in game 3, we got blown out in the first quarter, then played even or a few points better in the next 3 quarters.
    Denver is going to come out with maximum intensity, because their backs are up against the wall, (art of war, a cornered rat will fight like a lion), plus they know that’s how they got their only win.

    if the Lakers come out lackadaisical they could get behind early and not be able to make it up..
    and then game 6 is in denver and they have the momentum now. they could win game 6 at home and it’s a 1 game (anybodies) series.

    come out EARLY! get the W right out of the gate!
    take away their spirit in the first 5 minutes.

  25. Kevin – the saddest part of those numbers is that Blake is tied for a triumphant 1st place with a grand total of … two 3’s in the 4th quarters of this series. Our options definitely are limited. When I’m feeling sadistic, I try to imagine our role players in the 3-point shootout.

    It’s too bad Ebanks couldn’t extend his range out to 3-point land the way his doppelganger did. It’s sometimes overlooked that Ariza’s lights-out shooting was a huge key to that 09 title run.

  26. Robert: Pretty much not many options that can stretch the floor at that position. That guy would’ve ideally fit that role but I’ll leave that to you that’s your expertise.

    Ko: It doesn’t make sense but what other options does he have if Barnes is in a slump and Ron is suspended. I’d rather have Ebanks, Barnes playing defense but Blake shooting 3s.

  27. ariza was allowed to shoot a lot of 3 pointers during the reg season, even though he only shot 31.9%. did Phil image that we needed him in the playoff?

  28. I think 3 pointers are overrated. When you have two capable bigs and Kobe do we really need it?

    Lakers were one of the worst in the league and no doubt the worst in the remaining teams.

    Isen’t 50% from 2 better then 25% from three. Usually I am darn good in math.

    Also how many of those missed 3s turn in to run outs by faster teams?

    Like to see that stat.

  29. Teamn:

    I also noted the following in that comment:

    3P% rank on O, 2011-12:

    San Antonio 1
    Oklahoma City 11
    LA Clippers 12
    Denver 24
    Memphis 25
    Lakers 26

    Denver is 30th–last–in 3p% D.

    So, unless the Lakers somehow play Memphis in the WCF, everybody else they see will have a big/huge edge on them in 3s, at least going in.

    Just one stat among many but worth being aware of. Three Lakers’ big stat weaknesses are 3s, opponent OREBs, and, as Robert has noted, turnovers. So those are three numbers I watch.

  30. So like I said if you can’t hit a golf ball 300 yards over water then hit it twice 150 each time.


  31. Ko: Many of those 3s are wide open they go down soon enough. Can’t make them if you don’t take them.

  32. 3 pointer is the 4th most efficient shot, behind FT, dunk and layup.

  33. 3 point shots ALLOW for our bigs to operate in the paint more efficiently.

    Anyway, my gripe with this team (or since 2010) has been with its 3 point shooting.

    To think that there once was a time when Fisher, Luke and Sasha all shot near or above 40% from the 3, and when even Odom and Ariza were darn efficient from the 3…

  34. 30

    The other team knows that as well. They aren’t going to just stand by and let Bynum et al pound them inside. You have to hit some open jumpers to space the floor for the post players.

  35. Just going to chime in and say that the Pau Gasol-era Lakers have won eight consecutive close-out games.

  36. Nuggets playing desperate Lakers forcing shots.

  37. Looks like Andrew is getting out played again by a nobody.


  38. This is some ugly offense.

  39. Who is the home team?

  40. That was a close call on that foul against Bynum. Glad the refs are giving him more leeway!

  41. what did I say about starting soft, ot with intensity?
    no one even bothered to comment on that.

  42. Lakers are lucky to be only down 3. They played very poorly the first quarter.

  43. Don’t know how many 3-10 first quarters Lakers can survive in the future. Better decisions with the ball have to be made to establish a team rhythm early.

  44. kehntangibles May 8, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    Denver’s been successful at pushing the pace, we’re barely over 30% shooting and we’re only down 3 at the 1st quarter’s end.

    We’ll be fine.

  45. As terrible as we’re shooting, fortunate to only be down by 3 pts after 1.

  46. Chris

    It’s hard to start any type of way when Kobe takes 10 of the 26 shots and only makes 3!

    Is that Brown’s offensive plan?

    Not gonna win that way.

  47. Funky Chicken May 8, 2012 at 8:22 pm

    Pretty sure that 10 first quarter shots by Kobe is not the way to close out a team.

  48. Ken/Ko – I agree with you, but that wasn’t in Phil Jackson’s offensive plan either and yet it often happened. I wouldn’t expect MB to rein him in.

    Looks like I missed a good one in the Celtics/Hawks.

  49. I give up on Brown and his Sessions/Blake. He clearly is smarter then I am.

    It is what it is.

  50. Lakers are treating this game like the nuggets are just gone roll over as Bynum commented

  51. This would be a blowout if the Lakers had any offense.

    Boy, so happy this ugly offense isn’t against OKC, the Lakers would be down by 30!

    Good job rebounding Bynum. Now could we get him some touches. He needs to get prepared for the next round.

  52. Close out games are easy!

    Andrew needs to grow up and shut up or learn to back up his dumb words.

  53. No shooters, no defense, no coach….shoot bricks hope for offensive rebounds.

    Fish is in OKC hitting threes, and I get to watch the Blake/Sessions science project….grr

  54. Lakers can erase this mess with a strong end to the half.

  55. Does the crowd have on muzzles. Where’s their energy?

  56. This is just painful to watch. Lakers seem to think it’s a regular season game.

  57. You heard it here first – this series is going 7

  58. This is where Lakers miss Ron’s energy. He would come up big on defense and spark the team.

  59. Funky Chicken May 8, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    One performance at home like this against OKC and there is zero chance of getting past the Thunder.

    When did Sessions turn into Blake? Why is he so passive?

  60. Funky Chicken May 8, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    Our 4th leading scorer is Javale McGee and his three goaltends.

  61. My god Kobe he is just hurting the team,
    4 for 12 with 4 TO the first half. Pau also with 2 points?

    Your vets are not showing up so far. Why is that? Did they practice or start celebrating too early.

    OKC would be up by 25 right now.

  62. Wow. Calm down people. Aside from Kobe’s turnovers the team simply couldn’t buy a basket. Wide open shots. That leads to FB points by Denver. It really is as simples as that.

  63. So like I said if you can’t hit a golf ball 300 yards over water then hit it twice 150 each time.

    Think I said that before the game.

    0 for 6!

  64. Getting absolutely nothing from Drew & Pau. Kobe shooting terribly. Just as in game #3, we’re getting outworked. Not controlling the tempo/pace. Allowing JaVele McGee to intimidate us with his shot blocking abilities … Happy to only be down by 6 pts @ the half.

  65. cant see this confused bunch competing against OKC. Kobe looks like he’s lumbering, its painful to watch now….

  66. This game is painful to watch. Kobe being too agressive, pau playing soft, and bynum apathetic as usual.

  67. Kobe is shooting way to much.

    Loss formula

    Kobe FGA > (Bynum + Gasol) FGA

    Kobe FG% doesn’t matter. When Kobe goes volume Lakers lose.

    Kobe FGA 25 Lakers winning % is much lower

    Lakers need much less shooting from Kobe. More touches for Bynum.

  68. May not be fair but this looks eerly similar to those Brown cleveland no shows by his teams those years.

  69. Kobe has to force it, Blake and sessions won’t take the first open shot and couldn’t make it if they did, Barnes and ebanks are non threats, and Denver is packing the lane….that leaves who?

  70. Pretty poor half from the Lakers but the Nuggets haven’t been much better. The tempo of the game is where the Lakers should want it but their approach within possessions is not precise enough. A lot of game left to play for some of these mistakes to get cleaned up.

  71. If the Nuggets are dead set on doubling Bynum, forcing him to give up the ball, then someone else has to step up for the Lakers. Kobe is shooting, but he is not hitting enough. I don’t even care about attempt numbers. He needs to hit at a better clip. Right now the Nuggets can just force the ball out of Bynum’s hands and the Lakers offense has no counter. The LA boys are doing their best brick city imitation right now. Oddly enough, they still right there. So all is not lost.

  72. Your starters are 10 for 31 and big mouth Andrew is a minus 11.

    The guy just doesn’t bring it every game. Reminds me of LO

  73. It still makes me all warm and fuzzy inside when Sessions penetrates and hits a floater.

    Is it something Denver is doing or our spacing that is making that entry pass into Bynum so damn difficult?
    Never seems to be the right angle to him.

    And just like that the lead is 12 and the warm fuzzy is gone gone gone.

  74. Sessions is taking way too long to get Lakers into their sets. Nuggets are always one step ahead.

    Stops and Scores.

  75. Kobe 16 FGA’s
    Bynum + Gasol 12 FGA’s

    If this doesn’t change … bad outcomes occur.

  76. Dont blame Kobe! Our bigs are really passive so far. Pau is not looking to exploit his mismatch. this is Kobe time!!

  77. Just some guts like the Clipper who play their hearts out!

    Andrew is a zero.

  78. I’ve been following FB&G since 2005, when Kurt was still around. I’ve always left commentary to posters who have always impressed me with their knowledge of this game.

    Now, what do I hear? “Blame Kobe.” “Kobe shoots too much.” You’d think this was a blog of Abbott-ites.

    Yeah, Kobe’s not shooting well. But at least he’s giving it all. I’d rather have his effort than Bynum’s “this team’s going to roll over,” and 2-for-5 with a minus-11 or Pau’s 2-for-8.

  79. Get that worthless Andrew out of the game. Put in Hill. No defense, no rebounds. I am sick to death of that guy. He is just a bonehead!

  80. Lakers get momentum Bynum gets a T. How can you defend this guy?

    Stops and Scores.

  81. Funky Chicken May 8, 2012 at 9:30 pm

    Seriously, Howard for Bynum any day of the week. This kid is an embarrassment.

  82. kobe with 29 outta nowhere

  83. What adjustment has MB made to contain Andre Miller?

  84. Seems like this game will go into overtime and Kobe will win it with a 3!

    40 points for Kobe… & Bynum actually wakes up!

    I can dream can’t I?

  85. That shove by Bynum may not have been the smart play, but Fareid gave him a push and then tried to walk through him. Wasn’t that big of a deal imo even thought it was ill-timed.

    Just need to keep playing defense and slowing the game down.

    Javale is out-playing Bynum once again…

  86. @#74. pmadulid – I’m with you, man.

  87. Kobe is shrugging off a bad shooting performance to will the team back into the game. The most baffling thing I’ve seen this game, other than the continued use of the Sessions/Blake backcourt, is why Sessions continues to set up on the weak side, cutting off half his passing options in every offensive set. It’s bizarre.

  88. Andrew the stiff Bynam.

    Wonder what array of excuses Aaron will make up tonight?

  89. Team was NOT PREPARED for this game. I repeat NOT PREPARED at all. Blame is on Mike Brown.

    Reporter “Mike what do you tell the team for this close out game?”

    Mike ” I don’t have to tell them anything. They know how important this game is”

    They are playing like you didn’t tell them anything. They are LOST. So frustrating.

  90. Man – so sick of bynum and his comments. It’s easy to close out a series?!?! What a fool!! Talk about giving the other team something to get motivated about.

    Yes, Denver is a good team but NOTHING close to OKC, Spurs, Heat, – i do not have high hopes about this laker team going deep into the playoffs.
    just saying…

  91. Need to switch Bynum off of Feried and onto McGee.

    Need to switch Kobe to PG when Blake is on the floor

    Need to replace Barnes with Eyenga

    Then we win

  92. Funky Chicken May 8, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    We are 71 games into the season and the Lakers offensive flow looks like a preseason game. These are the Nuggets. The Lakers aren’t able score or operate efficiently against a terrible defensive team. That’s what distinguishes this team from past championship teams; they have no system to turn to when they need a score.

  93. Looks like a game 7 will be played

  94. Brown must find a hot outside shooter. The defense is packed in. We will only turn the ball over more if we try to go inside or drive against a packed defense. Sometime there is no substitute for a good outside shoot. Taking them is not the problem, missing them is!!

  95. Excerting so much energy tryin’ to get back in the game, just hope that we have enough to close it.

    Javele McGee outplaying both of our Bigs. Pathetic.

    Where is the sense of urgency. Looks as if Kobe will be going the entire 2nd half.

  96. this is annoying, we are losing… in our home floor. 🙁
    we need to climb back now, or this will be decide in gm 7.

  97. Its not blame Kobe.

    It is what it is.

    If Kobe goes volume Lakers have high loss tendency.

    Gasol and Bynum aren’t getting touches tonite. Not that they aren’t working, Lakers are in Kobe stand around mode and nobody is looking inside especially Kobe.

  98. George Karl is coaching circles around Brown. Look at Denver’s defense they have everything figured out. They are stiffling and two steps ahead every play. Complete mismatch on the sidelines.

    One of those Brown Cleveland type playoff games he was known for. A stinker. This time his team doesn’t have a young lebron. He’s getting exposed. Sad

  99. Kobe another 10 for 25 and Andrew a minus 16 and Mike Brown doing a repeat of Cleveland days where his team quits.

    Nice hire.

    This team looks clueless 71 games into the season.

    They might not get out of this round.

    Sad performance!

  100. Nuggets are packing the paint. That’s why we can’t passed it on the post. They are double teaming Andrew or Pau every time they touches the ball.

    Nuggets are also fast in helping the weak side thats why shooters like Blake and Sessions can’t shoot open shots.

  101. Kobe 10-24 shows HE is not looking inside.

    At this pace Kobe will have 30 FGA’s and guarantee Lakers a loss.

    Denver is also running out on Kobe misses.

    MB is going to play dreaded sessions/blake lineup for the 4qtr.

  102. ShotFromTheCorner May 8, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    Bryant is 10 for 25. Barnes is 5 for 14.

    Bynum is 3 for 6. Gasol is 2 for 8.

    That will never lead to a Lakers win.

    The Lakers have two of the most skilled big men in the NBA, and they are shooting less COMBINED than Barnes?

    I hope the Lakers are tanking to get MWP back for the next series… The other alternative is that they are all idiots.

  103. kehntangibles May 8, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but the reason why we’re not getting the bigs touches inside is because we’ve given Denver no reason to respect our perimeter game.

  104. Bynum has his nerves to call himself frustrated because he’s not getting the ball!

    1.He’s doing nothing on defense
    2. walking down the court
    3. never fighting for position!
    4. allowing everyone not in yellow to own the lane.


  105. Blame is NOT on Kobe he’s actually playing hard. Team wasn’t prepared.

    Pau is playing like it’s last year’s playoffs. Bynum refuses to play defense. Whoever gives Bynum a max will regret it the next day.

    Bynum refuses to play hard in the playoffs. That’s a shame.

  106. Bynum getting punked

  107. I’m not certain some people realize how hard it is to get the ball inside when teams are packing the paint. They’re making it near impossible to get a clean pass to our bigs because they don’t respect any of our shooters.

    I love reading Treylake. Every loss is Kobe’s fault.
    Do you see how Lawson sags off of his man trying to get the entry pass down to Bynum Treylake. If he passes, it will be stolen.

    Great effort play by ‘Drew for an easy dunk.

  108. yeah, i guess the good thing that this loss will give us is we will have MWP back. but his return should give us W, otherwise this is another wasted year for Kobe’s career.

  109. Like I said before the sessions trade, he is not a starter, nor is he an upgrade over fisher.

    He was on other teams benches for a reason.

  110. Guess we’re gonna have Ron/Metta back for the next round if and when we get there.

  111. McGee is taking Bynum to school.

  112. Nuggets win.

    Kobe the “leader” did not get Bynum involved.
    Maybe Kobe would prefer Jason Kidd.

    If you are a leader you make your team mates better. That can not be said of Kobe this game.

    Bynum isn’t faultness and McGee is getting lose.

    8 shots? Pathetic.

    Kobe didn’t pass to him.

  113. Funky Chicken May 8, 2012 at 10:03 pm

    Bynum thinks closeout games are easy because e other teams just quit when they get frustrated. Not a surprising view from a guy with a long history of quitting on his team when he gets frustrated.

    Doesn’t get an offensive touch so he drops his shoulders and hands and makes no effort at all to fight for a rebound. Gives up a rebound on the other end and watches is man take it to the rim for a dunk. This is the same guy who doesn’t show up on time to a playoff game, gets thrown out of a closeout game last year.

    Thats three of the last six playoff games where Bynum has been an embarrassment to his team.

  114. marques: all Laker fans are praying he opts out.

  115. Anybody who thinks AB is a great players is a fool. He is the 3rd best center on tbe court and a lazy, self centered, gutless joke. They’re beating him to the ball and he just stands there looking for a bank to deposit.

    Notice how Karl calls time out and Brown watches 19 to 0 runs. Coach vs not.

    Not him. Paint 50 to 36.

  116. defense is killing us

  117. Mcgee is absolutely owning Bynum. This is ridiculous. That was such a great finger roll.

  118. My favorite stat (not really) – we are down 43-19 on the bench. No explanations needed – you just cant make up for that type of gap

  119. OKC is watching this game thinking they have a cakewalk to the WCF. And they do.

  120. Yea Kobes

  121. Have some faith this time, few stops and baskets in our side. This game is winnable.

  122. Yes #24

  123. Genius Brown keeps Blake on Miller.

    Put Kobe on him you fool!

  124. KOBE KOBE KOBE!!!!

  125. Kobe Just refuses to lose.

  126. Um, Kobe is good at basketball.

  127. I wish Kobe could still get his own shot. He just is so old now…

  128. If wish everyone gave 1/2 the effort that Kobe does

  129. What would the Lakers do without number 24? This should be a great example of just why KOBE remains the number 1 man in LA not Bynum!

  130. What a weak play by the coaches. SMH

  131. I’m so confused by Mike Brown. How does he keep Blake on Miller?

  132. You can’t win going 1 on 5.

    You can’t win with Blake on Miller.

    You can’t win with a lazy center like Andrew.

    Poor coaching and Andrew lost this game.

  133. Kobe 30 FGAs — a loss.

    Any team will give him 30 FGA’s.

    Lakers will win a few and lose most when that occurs.

  134. There’s still hope

  135. yes, KB24 is willing his team to W. hopefully we can go to OT and get this.

  136. Bosslady Andrew isn’t in the same universe as Kobe. And he never will.

    He is the biggest reason they lost tonight. His lazy play and big fat mouth.

  137. Nice try Kobe. Lakers were dead out of the water before he willed them back in it.

  138. Great game. Not a downer anymore.

  139. Denver deserves this win! It’s called EFFORT!!

    KARL is a such a great coach…Brown I like but WOW……….his coaching is being exposed…

    McGee says “we out worked them.”

  140. This was a fun game to watch at the end. Man we really need figure out if someone else can guard Miller.

  141. Fisher would have made that. That’s just the truth. Haha. We would have been down by eight. But if he was in that spot he would have made both shots.

  142. ffffuuuuuuuu

  143. kehntangibles May 8, 2012 at 10:26 pm

    Well, here’s hoping this lights a fire under the Laker’s collective asses to show up for Game 6

  144. we should bring that energy we have down the stretch so we can end this in gm 6.

  145. Bynum & Gasol 19 FGA’s & Kobe 32 FGA’s are you kidding?

    Kobe + 13 FGA’s is almost surely — loss.

    Somebody do the math please.

  146. Wow fun ending. Got my heart rate up at least. Kinda wish we’d executed something with Kobe on the move on that last play, instead of him just taking a standstill 3 without a dribble or rhythm. But credit to the Denver ball-denial, they made it hard just to get the ball to Kobe.

  147. Out of 5 games Bynum has been outplayed 4.

    OUt of 5 games Pau has been invisible 4.

    Kobe can’t do it all. I like that run instill the fear factor into okc.

    treylake: quit being such a downer dude. Kobe is older than both and played harder than both. Kobe went into KOBE MODE and Lakers had a chance to win. Get over it.

  148. Kobe isn’t to blame. The Laker bigs did not show up to play. They got outhustled and outplayed. Kobe was the sole reason they were even competitive in the last minutes.

  149. Funky Chicken May 8, 2012 at 10:31 pm

    It is a crying shame that we even had a shot at tying this game. The Lakers deserved to be blown out.

    Almost too many examples of bad coaching to count. Team wasn’t ready (to say the least). No adjustments on Andre Miller. Routinely out coached in timeouts. Inability to even set up an out of bounds play (twice) in the final minute.

    Kobe came out gunning in the first quarter, Pau was a non factor, Bynum’s effort was shameful, Barnes airballs both a three pointer and a layup, Sessions turns passive, and the bench gives them nothing.

    This team probably doesn’t have more than two more wins left in this season (at most).

  150. Well the only positive out of this, is that if this extends to seven games, I won’t see more of Blake/Sessions backcourt. MWP can be Brown’s defensive saviour I guess.

  151. Bynum isn’t shaq, he can’t establish position consistently and if he doesn’t score he doesn’t rebound or defend…

  152. I have been saying all year.

    Brown was a horrible playoff coach in Cleveland.

    And they fired him!

    Jim Buss hired him.

    And he is a horrible playoff coach again.

    Something never changes.

  153. A furious come back that falls short because it came too late.

    I guess Close out games aren’t as easy as some players think they are.

    I’d like to remind Bynum that note to self he did in the end of game one.


  154. We knew we’d get this Pau when he had to play so many games with Bynum out or ineffective. Kobe and Bynum got rest this season. Pau has not. How many years do we play Pau into the ground during the season and get nothing from him during the playoffs? Other teams have figured out how to play their players, but not the Lakers. And don’t say it’s MB because PJ did the same thing.

  155. I think Treylake is Henry Abbot in real life which would explain his hate for Kobe

  156. Pau only had 1 assist, another indication Kobe shot too much. Gasol didn’t get the offense run through him tonite.

    Session/Jordan Hill is better than Fisher / late 1st round pick.
    Good move Mitch.

    MB hasn’t adjusted to Miller yet?

    Unless his adjustment is more sessions/blake.

  157. yeah, something never changes ko. you never stop complaining.

  158. Denver bench 50 – Lakers 19: Our bench 8-24; Sessions 3-12

  159. Dammit – I’m so upset. This team is getting blown up. Who knows what this team could have been with CP3. We don’t need two slow 7 footers. so many say that you can’t teach height but these two are pathetic. Granted that game one was awesome but that was about it the entire season.

    I’m actually happy if we get a first round exit. save kobe’s legs for next season and make some drastic trades this off season. or maybe that is going to make it worse? is buss going to go for cost cutting to make money? i know be careful what you wish for.

    oh well – it’s only a game….if i gave this half baked effort at work i’d be fired!!! Kobe just like last year – the only one who wants to win at all costs! Got to give it to him for his competitive fire!!!

  160. We win this game if any other coach in the NBA was here.

    No one would leave Miller on Blake.

  161. Bynum is awesome. Best center in the league. He hustles. He scores. No one can stop him offensively. Defensively he is a beast – and not to mention how he chases boards like crazy. He is also very cool headed, never under estimates his opponent and never speaks stuff he can’t back up.


  162. Ugly ugly ugly game tonight.

    Lakers weren’t doing a good job of getting the ball inside and Andrew was checked out until the intensity ramped up as the Lakers made that late run.

    Yeah, Kobe had 30+ shots, but Barnes and Sessions had almost as many as him and – as someone pointed out above – Sessions kept setting up on the weak side and…

    Look, the Lakers played low-energy and sloppy. Turning the ball over on fast-breaks, making a small run and then not playing defense for the next 3 minutes, not helping on penetration one play and then not helping the helper when he DOES show.

    On to game 6.

    Damn…I really thought Kobe was going to hit that runner to tie with 28 seconds left.

  163. Should I be pleased losing to a 6 seed on our home court Dra?

    That dosen’t bother you?

  164. All of denver’s points late came vs blake. Maybe a defensive sub and offensive sub could’ve been in play. Wasted a great performance from kobe.

    Bynum and Pau are punching their tickets at this time.

  165. Hill: 0-4 and 5 rebounds in 18 mins; Barnes: 5-14 Meanwhile they come in with Miller and McGee who both dominate us for 45 points combined

  166. Chearn,
    I think you need to hold Gasol accountable here. He had a bad game. He has been playing very well. And if you didn’t notice the Lakers won tonight. They didn’t win the game. But they won the war. Kobe is now Kobe. Maybe he isn’t. But that doesn’t matter. He needs to scare people again. And he now has. I don’t think we will see so many doubles on Bynum (and by so many I mean every freaking time he touches the ball anywhere on a basketball court in the northern hemisphere!). If teams think Kobe can go Kobe still… We won’t see entire teams collapse into the paint. It’s as simple as that. Kobe needs to do this every now and again if teams are gonnna send multiple people at Bynum. If he can do this every now again it will give Andrew a few one on one touches in the post. I won’t even say low post. Any part of the post Bynum has shown he can score easily from. Also… I will make one small mention… Because we have to call a spade a spade. We can’t pretend this doesmt exist. But Steve Blake and Matt Barnes need to do something. Just something. Every once in a while. And Brown needs to put Bynum on McGee before the fourth quarter. He is too long and athletic for Hill and Gasol (both PFs)

  167. This is when MWP is missed most. He is both quick enough and strong enough to guard most players. I’m sure if needed, he could have guarded Miller or at least let Kobe guard him and let MWP guard the other player.

  168. Now now @155 you are wrong.

    I am a Lakers fan and want to win.

    It is what it is Kobe shot too much and because if this imbalance Lakers lost.

    Don’t you know what team you root for, but if you want Kobe to shot 32 times it could not be the Lakers.

    Enough chit chat.

    Darious or some one do the math.

    Lakers winning percentage when Kobe goes volume is terrible.

  169. It’s time put the Doberman on Andre Miller. Kind of surprised that Kobe hasn’t gone out of his way to guard Miller.

  170. Anyone who cherry picks and says the reason we lost is because kobe took too many shots is not paying close enough attention. Available shots were not taken, the offense was stagnant, everyone was indecisive and kobe needed to do something to jump-start the offense. And he damn near stole one by himself.

  171. Lakers are probably going to still win this series but it has proved one thing, they ain’t no championship team. A championship team doesn’t totally get outplayed by a 6th seed on their home floor in a closeout game. Probably will lose to OKC in about 6.

  172. It’s been said before but I’ll say it again Bynum has to be the most overrated player in the league. And people continue to put him in the same class as Howard is a joke.

    I finally got it. Andrew Bynum = Jermaine O’Neal.

  173. Denver deserved and got the win. Kobe was a force. Late game execution was solid but MIA throught the first 43 minutes of the game.

    Playing 2 point guards isn’t a bad idea when they are Lawson/Miller vs Sessions/Blake. 31 points vs 17. Bynum seemed in a daze for much of the game. I would be too considering how many dunks McGee had on his “close out games are easy” self.

    Time to reassess and put this game behind but difficult to do given that a precious opportunity was squandered. The easy trips to the rim that Denver enjoyed and consistently exploited must be addressed. No need to watch the film to determine that Steve Blake can do nothing against Miller. Time for a different approach.

  174. rr: I liked your pre-game 3 point stat. Take a look at this game. We were 9-24, and they were 3-19 ! So if we were playing OKC or SA what would the score have been?

  175. Great comment-

    “Bynum isn’t shaq, he can’t establish position consistently and if he doesn’t score he doesn’t rebound or defend…”

    However, in Bynum’s defense, we cannot spread the floor effectively to cause teams to *not sag back into Bynum’s lap on entry passes. If we can’t pass him the ball, then he doesn’t get his touches and then he starts loafing.

    When MWP gets back for game seven it will go a little differently. Then Kobe will D up Miller and shut him down.

  176. Bynum didn’t show up defensively. Pau didn’t show up at all, and Denver didn’t guard Sessions at all, doubling Bynum the whole time making post entry impossible. If sessions hits a couple midrange jumpers to keep the D honest, this is a different game. Can’t blame Kobe for the loss.

  177. ShotFromTheCorner May 8, 2012 at 10:53 pm

    Bynum has been outplayed?

    That is ridiculous.

    Over five games his combined stats are:

    35 for 58 FG (60% FG%)
    20 for 26 FT (77% FT%)
    90 Points
    52 Rebounds
    18 Blocked Shots

    So, his Per Game Averages are:
    18 PPG (7 for 11.6 FGA + 4 for 5 FTA), 10 Rebounds, and 3.3 Blocks.

    I can totally see how Bynum is the problem this series… Averaging a double double with a usage rate of around 22. Averaging 18 points per 12 touches…

    Yeah, let’s trade that 24 year old, two time champion, freakishly long, strong and agile big man.

    He sucks.

    Oh, and by the way, the solution to the doubling Bynum problem is simple. Have Kobe be the one that feeds Andrew the post pass. Kobe then sets in the corner. If doubled, Bynum has a clear pass for a Bryant corner three.

    Of course, that means Kobe is passing, so, yeah…

  178. Not sure why everyone is taking turns bashing Kobe and AB. KB had 43-6-5 and AB had 16-11. The main issues are Point guard and the bench. Funny – I think those were the issues before the Trade deadline.

  179. key reasons we lost

    1. Kobe to many FGA…….BUT he had to shoot because nobody could make a shot and the Bigs were pretty SMALL tonight.

    2. J. McGee out hustled BYNUM, treated him like a son!

    3. Blake on Miller……just horrible/not like Blake was contributing on offense to have him play so much tonight. But not going to beat that dead horse.

    4. Lack of team effort. Only Kobe showed an urgency to close out.

    5. we have not found a way to get Pau nor Sessions more involved on offense!

    Bottom line is we win when Pau is our number 1 facilitator, sessions is driving aggressively to the basket and Bynum plays like a Beast on defense,,,,,,case closed.. Kobe will score and the rest will fall in place.

    Game 6 will really show where the Lakers are.. It will tell us if they can take OKC for a ride or will be going fishing early. ADJUSTMENTS…let’s see what we got!

  180. ko,
    nobody is pleased the lakers lost. but, they still have 2 more chances to close it out. would you have preferred to have lakers win in 5 and have metta miss game 1 vs okc? i would rather lakers close it out in 6 or 7 and have metta available for the okc series. im sure most here would agree with me.

  181. Kobe missed his last 3 shots – all were ooooh sooo close to going down. SO close to one of the most ridiculous comeback performances in playoff history by Kobe

    And anyone who says the Lakers aren’t missing World Peace is crazy. He was making his open 3’s and likely wouldve locked up Andre Miller this game or atleast allowed Kobe to take him (Since Barnes + Ebanks are playing like junk, Brown feels the need to play Ramon + Blake leading to Miller going off)

  182. 167: Even Pau being one of my favorite players in the league his play is indefensable. He’s not playing well it may be fatigue but Faried is pushing him off his spos awfully easy. One of the best PF has been outplayed by a rookie.

  183. Bynum’s comments about it being easy still makes me facepalm. What was he thinking? I’m sure the Nuggets liked that comment.

  184. The argument that the Lakers lose when Kobe shoots in large volumes like over 27 FGAs is flawed. It could be backed up by math – yes the Lakers have a lower % in those situations. But why? Why is Kobe shooting that much? Kobe is always going to shoot, but he only shoots that much when the rest of the team is being too passive or too ineffective. Or when the defense effectively denies our big men the ball, and our big men succumb to that. He didn’t shoot us OUT of this game, he actually shot us INTO it.

    Bynum only had 8 FGA’s because the Nuggets made it hard for him to get the ball. And instead of manning up and upping his effort, he went with the flow and so Kobe had to pick up the slack. Pau was off so he fizzled out too. None of them even WANTED the ball. Anyone who saw the game could see those two were mentally checked out. Bynum cause he was being lazy, Pau cause he was being soft. Kobe is a bit less efficient these days, but he isn’t the problem. Effort wins games.

  185. Some offense-defense switching w/Blake and Barnes would have been nice to put up a better defense on Miller, those 2 late Miller baskets were killers.

  186. If George Karl coached Lakers this series would be over. Lakers have plenty of responses to Miller — Kobe, Barnes, Ebanks.

    However, so far MB has chosen none of the above.

  187. I agree with EJK3 & don’t expect Kobe to do it all by expecting the consecutive threes to succeed. The bigs should box out and get offensive rebounds or follow ups. What’s the use of having two 7 footers if both of them are mere bystanders whilethe guards are tryingto make those perimeter shots.

    If Kobe will keep in his mind the numbers game asking himself while playing, how many FG ‘s did I do when we won and what’s my percentage when we lost? IHe should change profession from NBA player to a videographer or stastician.

  188. #184

    hilarious……….” videographer or statician.”

  189. Kobe almost single handedly won the game for us and your blaming it all on Kobe. Really? I must have been watching a different game.

  190. If Barnes and Ebanks are out of sync, why not try McBob.

    I think MBrown is superstitious in playing 9 players, he would just stop on 8. He learned that from College coaching or Cleveland coaching and nine is too much.

  191. For once i agree with Aaron in that we may have won the war with Kobe going off like Kobe of old.

    This was an exquisite performance, especially when considering what he did last game – pass, pass, and pass.

    He looked mortal, and BAM! he’s back into people’s heads.

    Now if our other players could step up, and play like Kobe during his 6-24 game getting 15 boards, we’ll be in a good place.

  192. One thing with Barnes Ron was horrible at 3s early this season and worked with Person and he’s been drastically better since. Why didn’t Barnes do the same?

    You just expect more from Drew. He said himself if I play this type of defense after game 1 Lakers have a better chance of winning. And he’s not putting those words onto the floor.

  193. Is it me or is it almost comical people don’t realize Bynum was assigned to Feried until the middle of the fourth quarter?

  194. Someone said Bynum’s performance was shameful, couldn’t agree more. For all his skills, he is slow, and apparently not motivated. Note to self-Javale McGee just schooled you.

    Just coming off a bad wheel, and I don’t fault his effort, but a couple of 3’s from Barnes would have changed the tone of this one…

    Now it’s a tough road. Back to Denver, even if you win, it’s off to okc without coming home first. The Lakers haven’t exactly been road warriors this season.

    I hate it when Kobe shoots too much, but don’t think he had much choice tonight. An embarrassing game all around, shouldn’t come to this, but it does. Quickness, speed, and hustle can sometimes beat a somewhat superior team. Remember, Lakers only finished 3 games ahead of the Nuggets, not exactly a 1 versus 8.

    That sound you hear is the Laker window of opportunity closing.

  195. Kevin,
    Bynum played hard on both ends of the court. Trust me I understand why many could to other wise. But Denver made adjustments to avoid Bynum under the basketball they are moving their it men within 12 feet from the basket so he has to keen an eye on his guy or it’s a lob dunk. That was Karl’s play since game one. Nobody has talked about it though because it’s too important of a strategy for Denver to bring up or answer any question regarding. But it requires tons energy from Denver’s bigs which is helped because the Nuggets have a lot of big men to rotate in and out. But man Karl is smart. He has made Bynum just another good defensive Center instead of the all world guy he was in game one. But you’re correct. He isnt having the same effect on defense. But it’s because of what Denver is doing and not what Bynum isn’t.

  196. @186 that is the problem “almost” single handedly. Lakers lost and will lose most often any time Kobe take 30+ shots.

    Don’t blame the bigs, blame the guard play including Kobe.

    George Karl is thrilled Kobe took 32 shots and Bynum took 8.

  197. Aaron: Bynum did not play hard. McGee has a clear path to dunk as he chose. Drew has to have impact and too many times this series he hasn’t on defense. I agree Denver has some schemes that are making it tough for him to be the rim protector but Kerr said it a few times during the game Bynum has to be more aware and help out on D. He has to be Lakers best defensive player every night.

    Bynum since game 1: 8 blocks

  198. Aaron
    Getting sick of your excuses for Andrew and his lazy play. The guy plays like a stiff and you and brown make excuses for his lazy defense and letting a guy he out weighs by 100 pounds beat him like a drum.

    Excuses are for losers.