Lakers/Nuggets (Game 7): Temporary Relief

Rey Moralde —  May 12, 2012

Box Score: Lakers 96, Nuggets 87
Offensive Efficiency: Lakers 112.9, Nuggets 102.4
True Shooting %: Lakers 51.0%, Nuggets 47.2%

Say it with me, everybody.

WHEW!

As a basketball fan, it was one hell of a game. As a Laker fan, it was like taking the test for your driver’s license. Yes, there were some rolling stops on the way. Yes, there were times when the game was going too fast or too slow. But in the end, they passed. The Lakers are going on to the second round.

There are a lot of “who would’ve ever thought” moments in this game. And for the Lakers, they were good moments. First off, Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol finally got on Team Bring it and had monster games. Pau had 23 points, 17 boards, 6 assists, and 4 blocks. He was phenomenal. HE WASN’T SOFT TONIGHT. Bynum brought the pain (but don’t do it literally on other players, please) with 16 points, 18 rebounds, and 6 blocks. Pau and Bynum combined for 20 offensive rebounds although they were killing a lot of bunnies out there tonight. Bynum could’ve shot better (4 for 15), sure, but all we asked from him was effort and he brought it. Pau shot a decent 9 for 19 and made some clutch freethrows. Well done, big men.

Steve Blake! He brought his Daniel Bryan self and came up huge with 19 points off the bench (YES! YES! YES!). He was NOT hesitant like he was most of the year and shot 5 for 6 behind the arc. That’s how you handle the pressure cooker, Ramon Sessions. Hopefully, Sessions knows better in the next pressure-packed game.

The return of Metta World Peace was huge. He played fantastic defense everywhere (Danilo Gallinari was 1/9, Andre Miller was 1/10, Corey Brewer was 2/9) and provided timely perimeter jumpers. MWP had 15 points, 5 rebounds, 4 steals, and 2 blocks. Just in time, Ron. Just in time.

Kobe Bryant played like a classic point guard (17 points and 8 assists). He didn’t shoot extremely well (7 for 16) but he did his best to get everybody involved. It was a pleasant surprise since I thought he would come out gunning. But his presence got open shots for his teammates. And in the end, he put in a 3-point fatality to put the Lakers up 8 with 48 seconds left. We just all love it when Kobe drives stick-shift because you know he can handle the clutch.

Denver wasn’t going to go away easily. Ty Lawson is one hell of a player. He finished with a 24-5-6 line and took over the 3rd quarter. As much as we start punching walls (I hope you guys don’t punch glass) when the Lakers lose big leads (Lakers were up as many as 16 points), we gotta give credit to Denver’s resolve. Our favorite Ninja Turtle, Leonardo, er, Al Harrington scored 24 points was big for the Nuggets also. Good thing, he turned to Michaelangelo in the 4th quarter because he started chucking early in the clock in hopes of recapturing the lead.

Denver and Lakers both shot 35 for 89 (39.3 percent). That’s how close the game was. But again, we gotta give credit to Denver. That’s a pretty damn good team… and I admit to have underestimated them. Watch out for them in the next few seasons.

Good thing that the Lakers won or I would’ve been the most upset ever since Zack and Kelly broke up in Saved By The Bell. So I guess Mike Brown won’t be fired tomorrow, right (I never really believed he was going to get axed, anyway)? Anyway, we can enjoy our Saturday nights; there’s still time to go clubbing for us West Coasters.

NOW we can all focus on Oklahoma City. But in the meantime, I’m just going to go have a few more beverages. Cheers, everybody.

By the way, Siri, did the Lakers win?

“Yes, they did.”

Rey Moralde

Posts

34 responses to Lakers/Nuggets (Game 7): Temporary Relief

  1. Pau Gasol came to play. He’s this team’s best big man – and proved his heart tonight.

    He opened up the game for that other #17 guy, and the Lakers fed off him.

    Kobe played a brilliant game – as everyone could tell his shot was just gassed. Nothing was forced and he played the hard double perfectly.

    On to the next 1.

  2. Barnes 3-23 from 3 in 6 games. Ron 4-11 in 1 game

    Does Blake start vs OKC? Take pressure off Sessions.

  3. as i mentioned from the beginning of this series, Denver has the deepest bench. unfortunately, the bench is 15 players long and wide!

    Get a Star. and a Coach. Pretty good, making adjustments, but always choking in the final minutes!

  4. @2

    I hope so.

    The Infatuation Sessions are over.

  5. Maybe if sessions goes with the second unit he can burn Fisher repeatedly and even out Harden´s scoring from the bench.

    I’m confident that Kobe will slow Westbrook down and MWP will make Durant work hard.

    Than it may all come down to our bigs.

  6. Wouldn’t be fair not to mention the coach. Won his first series as coach of the Lakers. His decision to stick with Blake paid off. He has his hands full vs OKC.

    Ron has had 3 weeks off Durant has his hands full.

    from the previous post Ko: that’s insane to have back to back playoff games. Feels like sabatoge but just another obstacle Brown talked about. Lakers in 6.

  7. “…we gotta give credit to Denver. That’s a pretty damn good team…”

    Not sure. The Nugs are indeed a well balaced team but they lack experience, or let’s just say “closiness”. Over and over they let leads go away, couldn’t capitalize on Lakers turnovers, rely on 3-point shots…Karl did everything he could do, with given players…but the truth is that the Lakers are a much, much, much better team. We played like crap for 3 games and still were able to match up.

    This sense of relief should not be the way a Laker fan feels the playoffs…Oh well, we won. Great. Onto OKC. With MB…

  8. wow, that was an intense game!Awesome Win! im glad Gasol proved me wrong!!!

  9. Just in case the OKC fans weren’t fired up enough:

    __________________

    ESPNChrisPalmer chris palmer
    Metta on whether he’ll shake James Harden’s hand: “I don’t shake subs’ hands.” Fair enough.
    ___________________

  10. - A lot of phantom fouls given to Lawson. Some and-1s resulting in Laker guards being overly cautious gave the Nuggets a lot of momentum especially in the 3rd.

    – Let’s just be thankful Blake found his stroke and MWP is back. No need to over react and put Sessions on the bench. Let’s just hope Blake continues to knock them down, with Hill and Barnes giving energy and production this coming OKC series

    – Did anyone notice, MWP looked leaner and fitter after the 7 game suspension. He’s got that chiseled face and thinner arms which is good giving him more quickness on D.

  11. I’d welcome a change at PG with moving Blake back to the starter role and Sessions to the bench. Sessions can run more when he’s out there without the big beef and Kobe clogging the lanes – and maybe he can recapture some of that Sessions/Barnes magic we saw in his first week(s) with the team.

  12. great team win- big props to Pau, Blake and MWP…and M Brown for sticking with the unit that was working.

    I think next series will be a lot easier for our bigs, they will not be dealing with the athletic/offensive threats McGee/Faried/Harrington presented. Hopefully that will allow them to help on Westbrook and Harden’s dribble penetration.

  13. Game 1: Monday
    Game 2: Wednesday
    Game 3: Friday
    Game 4: Saturday

    Ugh.

  14. Too many haters, too much stupidity. You’re with Lakers or not. If you’re a hater, get out of this site. No one is welcoming you here.

    Too much negative on this site, I wonder if these are true and die hard Laker fans.

    I keep telling over and over again that we just got to believe in this team. Now what, I also get nervous when Nuggets started a run on that late 3rd quarter but still didn’t lose hope. While others in here starting to criticize players with their play. Bynum and Pau played with their hearts out. Didn’t even recognize that?.

    Nuggets gave these Lakers a problem in transition. Take a look back on Warrios-Mavs series in 2007.

    Looking forward for adjustment and strategy against OKC.

    Stop hating Man, you’re with the Lakers or against them.

  15. Great win by the Lakers. It was good to see MWP back in action. It was good see them dig in and finally put Denver away. Now its on to OKC.

    I am convinced the Lakers have to win game one to have a chance at winning that series. My guess is the Thunder watched the Lakers toy around with Denver for seven games and are not intimidated in any way by them. Drawing first blood could put them on their heals.

    I hope Pau Gasol can look just as spirited when he facing down Perkins and Ibaka. I hope Bynum can keep his head together. Those two will be the keys to this series if the Lakers are to win.

  16. Westbrook will be a large problem for the Lakers.

    Lakers are undisciplined and bring wildly different efforts from night to night.

    The Thunder are very cohesive and VERY hungry.
    .

  17. 1. We got Black Swan tonight.

    2. World Peace saved our butts. He guarded EVERYBODY, and single handedly broke the Denver offense. Andre Miller’s dreamscape was punctured, and without him, Denver’s second unit was just that.

    3. 79-74. He was stuck at the three point elbow. I knew he was going to take it, I knew he was going to make it, and that’s why he’s Kobe, and I don’t care how many Hollingers and Abbotts come out of the woodwork. He’s ours, and we wouldn’t trade him for anybody, for better or worse.

    Don’t sweat the schedule. This was game 73 for the Lakers. It’s 9 more games until the playoffs start, body clock wise. They play 4 in 7 days. That’s nothing compared to this season, especially the start (3 in 3.)

    OKC is favored, and should be. They better end it quickly, though, because the longer it goes, the more it matters that we’ve got over 525 pounds of 7 foot skill taking the floor, to say nothing of an aspiring 6 time NBA champion. They’ve got one too (hello, D Fish), but they don’t have ours.

  18. Some great points by vhanz…especially with the insight regarding believing in this group.

    It’s something to watch when Gasol plays with a mindset that he has something to prove.

    The game is certainly a game of runs and I think it was a good sign that LA weathered Denver’s surge and swung back with their own spurt to close.

    OKC should be interesting. Hopefully, LA can grab one of the first two. Going down 0-2 would be a tough hole to climb out of.

    The matchups should be a bit better in this series. Assuming the bigs compete and Kobe is Kobe…if MWP and Blake keep stroking it, LA can win this.

    Additionally, Sessions needs to crank it up. Brown shouldn’t change the lineup now, but Blake should get the majority of the minutes if he continues to play the way he did last night.

    Would be nice if LA can grab this one in six games and move on.

  19. What the heck is this? Back to back games in the second round–and on LA’s two home games no less? Look, I’ve told people to shut it about “Stern conspiracies” this year–but this is getting ridiculous–is LA just supposed to lose no matter what?

  20. We have a 35% chance in this series. Lets do it anyways.

  21. This was a great win for the Laker team and Laker fans–and no reason for the Nuggets to be ashamed.

    This was not a very good game for those who had lost their love for this Laker team as a whole–and condemned many individual Laker players and coach.

    It’s hard to know where to start, but maybe the reversal of roles between Pau and Kobe was the most interesting. The white swan showed a darker harder gander inside (Pow Pow Pow), while the black mamba seemed to reprise his championship form from long ago–finding ways to make his team better–holding back on that dagger until the final moment.

    Much maligned Steve Blake reprised the Derek Fisher role so sorely missed on this team, while Ramon Sessions became the backup. MWP was the-not-so-secret enabler, whose “intangibles” couldn’t be missed. Drew came to do his part for the Lakers, getting blocks, drawing fouls, making free throws, and keeping his composure.

    The Nuggets deserve great credit for almost winning. They didn’t lose for lack of effort. Lawson set the standard on offense while McGee never backed away from the challenge of Laker bigs. Coach Karl was crafty right to the end.

    It’s too early for me to dial in the imposters who stole the Seahawks, but I know that they’d like to go all the way to the NBA championship. We’d prefer that they enjoy the remainder of the playoffs watching TV in Oklahoma City.

    Whether the Lakers win the NBA championship or lose the next four games, I will support them 100%.

  22. One of my favorite themes in any story is “redemption”—and Gasol earned a little bit tonight. Good job Pau.

  23. So happy for Gasol, who you know cares a lot even when he doesn’t play with the kind of fire he played with last night.

    He was awesome and put it all out on the court. Even hit his free throws, unlike some of his team mates.

    Then again, the Lakers seemed to make a concerted effort to drop him closer to the basket, which helped. I understand the logic of spacing him high but his game is so much better closer to the basket.

    As to Blake, is there a Laker more consistently the whipping boy? Played with zero hesitation in biggest game of his life, played hard and got the one thing for his team that they’d lacked all series. Reliable outside shooting.

    So happy for Ron-Ron. There is no equal on the team for his tenaciousness on D, and while his shooting was middling, he hit some key shots, and it will be VERY interesting to see the dynamic on Monday in OKC as he gets the un-welcome mat by the Thunder crowd.

    A bit nervous, but mega excited to see what the UNDERDOG Lakers play like on Monday and in this series in general.

  24. @ mindcrime – to be fair. The schedule would have been much different if the Lakers didn’t go seven with Denver.

    Also – the other 2nd Round West series has the same thing.

    Just means we have to win at OKC – which we had to do anyways to win this series.

  25. @14 rr schedule is killer.

    Especially back/back next weekend.

    Understand TNT needed saturday nite game, but NBA should ensure players have at least a day rest between playoff game to provide the best game possible for the fans.

    NBA has lessened its product for TV money.

    It seems they could have scheduled the Grizzlies/Spur series game 3 for sat nite:

    tues: game 1
    thur: game 2
    sat: game 3

  26. Seems unfortunately we have been Sterned.
    4-1 OKC wins..

  27. Well they say each round prepares you for the next. And the fast pace that OKC can play will be much slower than the pace that we saw from Denver. Plus, OKC does not run so much PNR plays unlike Denver. I think we have a good chance of winning this round, I say, a 45-55 chance of winning this round. On the back to back sched, did this ever happened in previous lockout season playoffs?

  28. @Cdog–fair enough. LA could have controlled destiny a little bit by avoiding game 7.

  29. Spratacus–

    Playoff back-to-backs happened regularly in the 80s and 90s. They haven’t had them in awhile, though.

    I think it is highly unlikely that the Lakers win this series. But here’s hoping.

  30. @28 In non-lock out seasons there is always a day between games. These playoff back 2 back games were determined when schedule was made in december.

    TNT must have been guaranteed 2 games for saturday may 19th. ESPN a friday nite game on May 18.

    If Lakers had beaten Nuggets in game 6 last thurs, schedule vs OKC was likely

    Game 1: sat May 12
    game 2: mon May 14
    game 3: fri May 18
    game 4 sat may 19.

    NBA TV money grab scheduling would have been more obvious.

    Doubtful “Truth Teller” Charles Barkley will say playoff back to back games are STUPID and were scheduled SOLELY to satisfy ESPN and TNT.

    It lessens the product.
    Lakers season ticket holders should speak out. It too late now.

    Just win.

  31. If the Lakers can keep the games close they have a chance. To end the regular season the Thunder lost 8 out of 9 games decided by 7 points or less. Of course they then beat Dallas by 1 and 3 points, but they didn’t look good doing it.

  32. Random thought after last night.

    1-On a night when Kobe was not good on offense, he did trust his team and passed to win
    2-Metta was the best guy on the court on defense and the 2nd most important aganist OKC
    3-Blake can handle the pressure.
    4-Pau does care and when put closer to the iron can score and rebound(see MB not a PG)
    5-AB can be dominate on glass and D but is not even close to what people think on offense. He can be stopped by dbl and has become much slower in the post and to the bucket.
    6-Sessions is not the answer. Weaker then Fish on D and seems scared in big games. 2nd team.
    7-Barnes turned into a fumbling, bumbling mess
    8-Brown reads this site. He put Kobe on PGs, Metta on Miller, Pau closer to rim and played his core 4 42 minutes. He hears us!
    9-While I and others may be too critical, it’s because we really care and have invested years of time into our team. There are some on this site who really dislike the Lakers and want them to lose. To each his own. Care not condem.

    That being said I change my mind. I am saying Lakers in 7 in the face of OKC. Epic!