Records: Lakers 7-1 Nuggets 6-3
Offensive points per 100 possessions: Lakers 109.2, Nuggets 111.5
Defensive points per 100 possessions: Lakers 101.9 Nuggets 108
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest, Lamar Odom, Andrew Bynum
Nuggets: Chauncey Billups, Arron Afflalo, Carmelo Anthony, Kenyon Martin, Nene
The Lakers Coming in: The Lakers rose to the occasion for a big test — something they did last season consistently and seem to have carried over to this year. Granted, the Suns were on game 7 in 10 days and a back-to-back, they can play better, but the Lakers stuck with their game plan and pounded the Suns weakness inside. This year’s Lakers remain very disciplined at going right after the mismatches. That matters.
Oh, and I feel obligated to say no Gasol tonight. Phil Jackson hopes to have him back by Valentine’s Day now.
The Nuggets Coming in: For Denver, tonight is the little bit of revenge they can get for the playoffs last year, the whole closing you out on your home court thing. They see this as the win that can give them some confidence about games down the line that matter (as much as you can take away anything from November). The fans will be out of control. Reports out of Denver’s shooter around is the players have a chip on their shoulder for this game.
What the Nuggets are doing right this season is playing great offense. Melo has been the man here, playing at the MVP level people have expected of him. He is averaging 30 points a game, shooting an impressive 55.2% true shooting percentage. What is most impressive is he is creating a lot more of his own shots — last year 48% of his shots came on off an assist, this year that is down to 38%.
Denver likes to get Melo and his teammates open looks in transition — they have played at the fifth fastest pace in the league so far this season. But unlike the Suns, Denver does it with size and some people who want to bang you around in the paint — Nene, the Birdman and K-Mart. Denver is a physical team that can run, and that leads to a lot of points.
Denver, however, has not been a good defensive team this season (they were eighth in the NBA in defensive efficiency last year, they are 19th right now). Jeremy from Roundball Mining Company minced no words after a loss to the Nuggets a couple nights back.
Defensively Denver is not playing with any cohesion. On many possessions one player makes a mistake or gets beat and the help is not there. Honestly, the Nuggets are floundering in nearly every facet of defense. They are not consistently working together on pick and rolls, they are missing rotations, and generally playing lazy.
Denver’s biggest defensive flaw: Rebounding. They are allowing opponents to grab 29.3% of missed shots (27th in the league).
Blogs and Links: Roundball Mining Company rocks, it’s that simple.
Keys to game: I’ll say it again — the back-to-back having to fly to Denver is brutal. Remember last year, Greg Popovich sat Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Michael Finley in Denver as his mini-protest. Not saying the Lakers can’t win, just don’t underestimate the challenge.
Of course, what we all want to see tonight is Ron Artest defending the hot Melo. This is one of the reasons we were all excited to see Artest here — to slow down the big threes in the league. Last playoffs the Lakers had to move Kobe over on Melo because Ariza was not strong enough to hold him off. Tonight is going to be fun to watch.
To win, the Lakers need to limit the easy baskets, particularly in transition, that Denver thrives on. Melo can finish, JR Earl Smith can finish, Nene can finish, everybody not named Anthony Carter on that team can finish, and Billups makes the right pass to set them up This will not be as easy as slowing the Suns by just feeding Bynum and Kobe in the post all night, but the Lakers do need to slow them down. And the Lakers need to feed the post on offense, but we can say “feed the post” every night.
The Lakers do have mismatches to go after. Bill Bridges illuminates:
Artest will stay on Melo throughout. Will Melo try to check Kobe as Affalo and Smith have no chance against Kobe in the post. Nada. If Melo takes Kobe, will the Lakers rotate and post up Artest against Affalo/Smith?
How will PJ counter the Nuggets’ small line up of Lawson at the point and Billups at the 2. I hope he goes large, posts up Kobe against Billups and punishes them.
The other thing the Lakers should do, both to get points and slow Denver down, is pound the offensive glass. Denver has not rebounded well this season, the Lakers need to make them pay for that.
Where you can watch: This game tips off at 7:30 pm Pacific, on ESPN and KCAL 9 here in LA. Also, 710 ESPN Radio has the game.
First comment for Warren! GO LAKERS! 🙂
Artest v.s. Anthony… we’re hyping it up the way the media hyped Kobe v.s. LeBron last year.
We do it better.
j.d. Hastings says
If I’m the Nuggets I would much rather see Artest or Odom try to post up than Kobe. He’s better at it.
Just a reminder to everybody that NBA TV’s fantasy “experts” Dennis Scott and Rick Kamla declared Bynum a “stiff” and Nene a “stud” coming into the season. I hope someone gave this footage to drew.
What’s the over/under on flagrant fouls and ejections tonight?
Here’s a repost of my comments from the previous thread:
1) On offense, you still have to go inside (that should be the game plan with this Laker team against EVERYONE), but the Nuggets have excellent shot blockers, so you have to be smarter about when you shoot (going straight up the way you can against the Suns will result in some blocked shots against Nene and the Birdman).
2) Assuming Melo is guarding Artest, it would be wise to stick him in the post as much as possible. Melo’s offense will suffer the more he has to work on defense, and working out of the post is much more draining than guarding around the perimeter (especially against a beast like Artest). It also limits the amount of easy offense afforded to Melo.
3) Obviously, Kobe should do the same when guarded by JR Smith (who doesn’t stand a chance against Kobe in the post).
4) Chase Billups away from the arc. Billups does some of his best passwork up top, because he’s excellent at surveying the floor and finding the open guy. He’s not as effective on the move (remember in the playoffs, once LA figured this out, and Billups was forced to drive and pass on the move, he wasn’t as successful).
5) Don’t take quick shots against Denver’s second unit (JR Smith and Lawson), because they can fast break you to death. In regards to Lawson, he’s exactly the type of guard that gives the Lakers fits (quick, shoot-first types). Shannon Brown should probably have defensive duties in this instance. The key with guys like Brooks, Parker, and Lawson (not necessarily saying Lawson is at that level) is to force them to pass by having your bigs show when they’re driving (which is death against a pass-first point like Chris Paul or Steve Nash because they’ll instantly find the open guy).
6) Contest on Nene’s jump shots. It seems simple, but there are quite a few bigs who you WANT to shoot that 15 foot jumper. Nene is deadly when he’s shooting that 10-15 footer, so you have to step out on him.
I’d also follow up by saying limit the amount of three pointers you take. Missed three pointers feed fast breaking teams. If you continue to go into the post, even if you’re not always successful, you take most teams out of their comfort zone.
If you’re patient on offense with the Nuggets, someone on their defense will miss an assignment and you’ll get an easy shot.
SD Anthony says
I see no reason why the Lakers can’t smash on these nuggets; short rest aside. Kobe can help the team keep that mental edge they’ll need for 48 minutes of basketball and the rest should fall into place. Either way, as long as they play with heart I will be happy. And PJ needs to set Jordan aside and tell him to use that brain of his.
Kurt, you nailed it when you said the drain of this back-to-back in Denver cannot be underestimated. A blowout win last night doesn’t hurt, but the bench is going to have to hold their own tonight, otherwise the exertion needed by the starters for a win might not even be worth it, it being November (Popovich’s benching move showed that).
That being said, the players on the court will not look at it that way. The Nuggets are looking at this game the way we Laker fans looked at last year’s Christmas Day game, a game where we felt afterwards that ’08-’09 was going to be different, that we weren’t just succeeding in the regular season only to come up short. It will definitely be a playoff atmosphere in Denver, which will serve nicely as a chance for Artest to show his ability to handle a high-intensity scenario, in a game where his defensive assignment is spotlighted as one we all have envisioned as one of the major upgrades for our D by his acquisition. So, in that respect, I think it’s a bigger game for Artest than it is for the rest of the Lakers, again similarly to how it was a huge statement game for Pau last Christmas to show he wasn’t “soft”, that statement exemplifying the confidence the entire team gleaned from beating the Celtics that day.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we are now last year’s Celtics (hopefully we stay healthier), but we ARE in the driver’s seat. Teams have to test themselves against us, not us them. We just have to incorporate new wrinkles into what is already successful, of course while adjusting to any new looks thrown at us.
The most important thing out of this game is to stay healthy, as the chance of injury is raised when playing a physical and vengeful Nuggets team. The Lakers have to stay alert, go for the win, but not sell out (their bodies or gameplan) just to re-solidify a point we all already know from last year’s WCF. Built-in excuse for a loss, yes, but we all know Kobe and Co. will do their best so we don’t have to use it.
Sure, it’s all a part of basketball, and, “they say” every team has to go through it, but, what is acutally the “purpose” of having all of the ‘back-to-backs’, or five games in six nights, etc? There also seems to be an absence of parity in the scheduling. More scheduling is “tougher” than “logically” spaced games. Its as if the schedule maker (whomever that is) sits back in his little room, wearing a bowtie, drinking Fresca on his computer rubbing his little hands together in disdain for the players.
j.d. Hastings says
Speaking of Lebron v. Kobe, why’d they stop with the puppet commercials?
6, schedule making is a lot, lot harder than you’re making it out to be. Check out this post (admittedly on a Celtic site), which details just how hard it is to make an NBA schedule.
Chris J says
leroylaker — Making a schedule has to be a very complex task.
You can’t just say, “Oh, the Lakers played on Tuesday so they need Wednesday off.” It’s not like the Staples Center has no other tenants, or special events.
Muliply the Lakers’ needs vs. those of 29 other NBA teams, hockey schedules, concerts, WWE show and who knows what else and suddenly the schedule makers’ limitations make a lot more sense.
Also, remember that Staples is unavailable for a couple of weeks each February due to the Grammy Awards; the Spurs lose their place to a rodeo; and Bulls get pushed out for a lengthy trip when the circus hits Chicago.
And keep in mind things are much easier than they once were, since so many teams (if not all pro teams) fly charters. It wasn’t so long ago NBA teams flew commercial – imagine the Lakers having to sit around LAX last night waiting for a United red-eye to Denver.
Chris J says
j.d. Hastings –
Answering your question: Because they sucked?
If I ever find the guy who made the one with the nerdy kid puppet who just kept yelling “Kobe, Kobe, LeBron, LeBron” I would seriously have to drop him. And the one where that kid puppet rapped was even worse.
Artest vs Carmelo, CAN’T WAIT. Games like these are why Mitch brought him to LA.
Even though our studs got to rest in the 2nd half yesterday, the Suns were able to do the same the day before they played us last night. And still got blown away. Pretty much, back-to-backs are tough no matter how many minutes your starters play the night before. The travel is the harshest part, and if in Denver, it’s the altitude and time zone difference that blows the most.
The way Shannon Brown continually amazes me with each HIGH flying dunk, WOW. How about another on the Birdman tonite, or shall I say, Pigeon.
The commercials w/out the little kid were awesome… But they stopped making them because Lebron couldn’t make it to the finals last year.
Hopefully LA brings the same intensity it had last night. The starters didnt play extended minutes, and before last nights game had three days rest in between the NO. Denver gaves us their best shot last year and it wasnt good enough to win some close games. I dont think this years team has changed much to cure what ailed them last year(KB). LA went out and got a stopper at the SF position by the name of Ron to equalize C. Anthony. That alone should be the deciding factor in tonights game. Carmelo will have to work real hard to push around Ron, and he is ready to show why he was brought to LA.
j.d. Hastings says
That’s why I loved them (after the fact)- was the awkwardness of Lebron not making it.
BTW- I hate to break it to everyone, but ESPN’s computers have decreed that LA loses tonight, 110.5 to 105.3.
May as well hit the clubs tonight.
Kurt – You have GOT to be kidding me. I was way and beyond the first commenter and you deleted it so that Mimsy could pop up and say the exact same thing. Come on now – I’ve been following this blog daily for 3 year min…. gimmie a break.
Samy, Mimsy was first, just you were both in moderation. I can’t change the order of comments. (Well, maybe I can, I never looked to see if I could, but that’s not what happened here.)
Didn’t they said that about the Magic in the ECF last season too….?
Anybody watching the Celtics game? They don’t look that impressive. Is this just a bad game for them?
20, Celtics’ Kryptonite.
The Hawks are making them look old and slow tonight.
Nice block out by Bynum.
Artest with a Battier-style hand in the eyes on Carmelo.
I’m curious, can Artest actually dunk?
Wow. Afflalo’s on Kobe’s head!
Is that a flagrant if someone’s on your head?
Kobe needs to settle down and find his point of attack
j. d. hastings says
Denver is playing good d tonight. Like I said earlier today, I don’t think the lakers are used to it.
That was bad Artest… hope we don’t see anymore of that this game
need a link >o<
j. d. hastings says
Artest is really looking to call his own number tonight. We don’t need that. At all. Let it come to you, Ron.
31 – shot clock was running down and no one was cutting for him…might as well try to create something
is this one of those “shooting with Ron” game?
Bynum looking aggressive out there.
He had a good 10-12 seconds when he received the ball… That’s low but still time to get it into the post
Does anyone else think that Kobe’s been losing his handle and the ball a lot more this season than ever before?
Too many turnovers!
Is there anyone else who does not like the Denver logo on center court? For some reason, it’s irritating me to no end.
guys defo look a bit tired
Magic, it does seem as if he is getting it stripped more this season than in the past.
love bynum’s rebounding
Emh, yeah i thought so too especially in the first 2 games. Kobe is usually so good about protecting the ball, but lately it seems like he exposes it carelessly and gets stripped.
I do love Phil and his interviews.
j. d. hastings says
Lakers played like poo yet are up 2. Hey that rhymed!
Kobe is a TO machine, shooters aren’t being decisive. both teams are 11-23. Only difference is 1 extra 3, and 1 more FT for the Lakers. Hopefully the get it together.
that definitely hit the rim
Good excuse for Farmar to get more shooting practice. That shot was still way off.
j. d. hastings says
Those ORebs by Martin were entirely due to flat footedness by the Lakers. He was the only one jumping and moving. That won’t do
powell really is becoming an offensive only player
Brown has got to have at least one dunk every game. Let’s see how many games he can keep that going for.
kobe is dominating JR on both ends right now – I’m real happy that Karl decided to take Afflalo off him.
Didnt realize that Afflalo was that good of a defender. He is making Bryant work really hard for his shots.
j. d. hastings says
Why is the ref on the other side of the court calling an offensive foul there???
j. d. hastings says
Ty Lawson terrifies me
j. d. hastings says
Denver has 4 more shots than the lakers AND more FTs despite having fewer rebounds and more TOs. The only way they can have those extra possessions is because they have extra team rebounds- that is balls have literally bounced their way.
fouls fouls fouls
one of these teams is going to tighten up on D or will get hot on offense enough to win this one. so far quite loose. kobe looks a bit sleepy. hope our legs don’t creep in at this condition and altitude.
fun so far.
kobe likes to burn martin
great 3 ron and then a foul
Wow a Kobe three hehe not a common sighting recently
j. d. hastings says
Kobe, WTF kind of weak reach-in BS is that??
what sense does it make to have fish out there with lawson
I want more Bynum in the post. Birdman couldn’t contain him earlier.
why is our offense iso-Kobe already in the 2nd qtr? There is no way anyone on the nuggets guard Bynum 1v1
kobe looked like he almost twisted/sprained his ankle on that last play. that was real close.
Did Kobe aggravate the groin injury?
My goodness that was a fun first half. I’m having a blast watching this one.
kwame a. says
Weird dilema for George Karl. Denver played way better with Lawson in and Billups out.
Interested to see how we react to Denver packing the paint to prevent Kobe from getting a touch. We haven’t ran too much (if any) high screen and roll with Kobe. Might be a good time to run some.
Defensivley, the Lakers have to start rotating with more urgency than what was exhibited in the first half
THIS is ugly
The nuggets have to draw blood for us to get a foul tonight.
j. d. hastings says
Lakers are simply refusing to execute a decent offensive possession. Leading to layups on the other end. Settle down, men.
Anyone has a link, care to share?
We are not doing a good job passing out of their double teams. They send the double over, and our guys don’t react until they’re swamped, and the results are lost time on the shot clock, forced passes/shots, and turnovers.
time out please!!!!!!!!!
wow… all i can say is the officiating is out of control… not an excuse, the lakers aren’t playing well but come on.
i guess this is what Phil meant when he said we have yet to put together a good game on offense this year.
at the rate the refs are blowing the whistle on us, we’ll be in the penalty in the next 30 seconds
fish killing the offense
Once again, a team’s defensive “reputation” (ie. Jazz/Nuggets – physical) overrides any sense of reasoning by the referees.
Personally, I can’t think of another more unlikeable team than the Nuggets (Celtics hate is given).
j. d. hastings says
Kobe guard your ^%$#ing man
Afflalo is of course a great defender when the refs let him get away with hacks. We cant even be assertive because we will get the fouls called on us.
Kobe’s ability to ignore wide open shooters continues to boggle the mind.
I am constantly confused by the way the Moving Screen is called…
How is what Nene is doing at the top of the key not a moving screen? He is not set. He edges out to pick off the defender while the defender is moving past.
I just don’t get it.
kobe has to have that look on the article cover. this can’t be a nice back-to-back this early in the season. kobe looks tired. someone has to tick this guy off
JESUS get fisher off the floor
j. d. hastings says
The team has forgotten how to pass
our bench sans odom doesn’t look like a top 5 bench. shanwow, prove me wrong.
thank god, where have u been shannon
j. d. hastings says
STOP WITH THE DRIBBLING INTO PULLUPS!
Lakers playing uninspired. And Mark Jackson REALLY annoys me.
We knew this was going to be a tough game.
Second of a back to back, at altitude, against a rested physical team, that plays dirty, that intimidates referees, and that is holding a grudge from last season.
I mean, it is a lot easier to play defense when the referees consider the forearm to be part of the ball.
It would be nice to see it turn around, but that seems to be a tall order at the moment.
+respect for luke
want to know why Luke dislocated his pinky? because melo was hacking at him on the perimeter. Obviously no call
j. d. hastings says
Win or lose, this game is awesome for how Luke handled his pinkie
am not making excuses for a loss here. but if we do lose here, i’d take it again and again. denver is doing what we did to phoenix. but i want to see some fire here. they are dominating us on a quarter we own.
What I try to remember when I watch Kobe playing such lazy defense in November games is that he has been a professional for a long time.
He saves the nasty hard defense for the playoffs…
Still, damn dude, run back to your man so he doesn’t hit back to back dagger threes in transition.
JR Smith is NOT that good…
Back from picking up husband at airport after long business trip… what happened???
Kobe score-less in the third quarter, the whole team combines to single digits in said third quarter and I see references to Kobe being injured in the comments?!?
This is not a pleasant sight.
o well stick a fork in this and move on
someone stop the commentator! at last the nightmare quarter is over.
Let’s see if we can trim down 23 point lead in the fourth quarter.
Mimsy, kobe is fine. he’s just forcing it a bit and turning it over. live by kobe, die by kobe.
8 pts in the 3rd. awesome..
Has Phil given up on the game? Ammo is in. This is not garbage time.
Adam Morrison? I guess Phil is throwing in the towel for this game.
j. d. hastings says
I don’t know if kobe is hurt or just tired, but the whole team looks out of it. Flat footed and no offense whatsoever. They can’t make entry passes or make clean looks. Guys look indecisive- more willing to take long shots than work for a good shot.
Trust me. This is 3-pt shooting time for LA.
Live by the 3, die by the 3.
On the other hand, Bynum has looked great, yet again.
And… I normally don’t indulge in player hating, but I must let this go or burst…
Kenyon Martin is an ugly man, with an ugly smile, an ugly soul, and an ugly, ugly game.
103 – yes, bynum has looked great – so why didn’t we go to him early and often?!
Thanks magic! Phew… I’ll take a loss rather than a win with an injured Kobe.
I think I’ll just forget all about this game and help my husband unpack instead.
We knew this would be a tough game, but it’s still disappointing to see a 30-point blow out, with or without Pau, and back-to-back or not.
Kenyon Martin – I can’t believe I actually liked that guy back in the New Jersey days.
103 – This all may be true, but he did get in Mark Cuban’s face last year, and for that I thank him!
At least K Mart has a soul …
j. d. hastings says
HUGE numbers of bad PUJODs tonight. By everybody. Disappointing, even if I understand. Glad I rented movies tonight to get it out of my mind.
This is 2 wins for Denver in a row, going back to preseason. Next game about this team is important to take.
107- No one denies he has a soul… I simply said it was ugly.
“help him get unpacked”? is that what you kids call it these days?
someone take melo out please
seeing kobe roll his cheeks on the bench tells me that yet again his teammates are getting some lashing (well-earned) and that the next opponent should feel sorry. well pau, this is one of those games i’d gladly welcome you back earlier.
i agree with phil we are not yet in season form so i wouldn’t think much of this loss. the same time i think our roster doesn’t look final. what i envy in boston is their competitiveness to not lose a game by 20 or so and their aura of being hard to beat. if we have that thinking game in and out, we’d be unstoppable. and i hope that unless we get some consistency off that bench, it doesn’t stay final (entering two years now with the same results).
last year the lakers would run up a 6-7 winning streak and then drop 1 (or 2 a few times) and then start streaking again. it’s still early, but it’s looking like it could potentially be a repeating trend.
Not too worried about this, but we compound mistakes so much. This was not a blowout win, we simply exacerbated our mistakes by fouling and not keeping our head up on the next play. Was a problem in the last loss
You know- the Lakers shot atrociously that quarter, but the fact remains that was an embarrassing display of officiating.
It’s possible once the Lakers saw that the refs were simply going to allow the Nuggets to manhandle them, they threw in the towel.
Denver is getting to be like how Utah has been (and was especially in Malone/Stockton days) in that the team gets home cooking as a rule. Then those same teams go on the road and stink because they can’t cheat.
Next Nuggets game in LA will be a blowout the other way.
Notice how seldom we went to the post tonight? Bynum looked solid but didn’t get enough touches. And Denver doubled early and often, and our guys reacted far too slowly when the double came.
The Lakers suffered from fatigue in this game. After winning last night’s game in Phoenix, the Lakers immediately got on the plane for Denver. The effects of altitude and the back to back games tonight were obvious. Defensive rotations were late, and often never even there. Andrew especially struggled, often having difficulty getting back on defense in time to even provide help. (Maybe he has extra fatigue because of his recent return from injury and is not completely in shape.) When Denver has players such as Ty Lawson, Melo, and Chris Andersen, all extremely active players who can either get around their man or are available to benefit from the extra pass after a double team. On offense, the Lakers looked incredibly sloppy. Before Artest went out with foul trouble, he often committed the sin we were all most afraid of: controlling the ball too much, causing teammates to stall offensively. He ended up taking contested shots (and made one impressive three pointer). Other than that, our offense was filled with sloppy plays: Kobe repeatedly losing the ball or lazy passing out of the double teams when he is in the post, Jordan throwing a pass at Morrison’s feet, Fish taking three pointers which it is so painfully obvious are so far from our best offensive option.
Our poor shooting and high amount of turnovers tonight point to our fatigue.
The Lakers suffered from the lack of Pau Gasol tonight. With foul trouble to Ron and a little to Josh Powell, it is obvious that Pau was missed. Throughout the game (and to an extent throughout the season), we have relied on Kobe too much, something that will not happen once Pau comes back. (This is a fact Phil acknowledged recently saying that the load Kobe is currently bearing, while it is working, is not something we will consistently exhibit throughout the season.) This was most evident in the third quarter, when Kobe could not buy a shot (credit Afflalo) and the Lakers scored a grand total of eight points.
Why is Mbenga always the one getting dunked on?
Some stats for tonight
79 points (against Phoenix we have 78 points in the paint)
Fishers line: 0-5, 0-3 3-pt, 2 reb, 4 ast, 2 TO, 2 fouls
.352 team FG percentage
It’s November, so it is not early enough to freak out, but come on Lakers, you could have showed a little more effort this game.
I’ll trade a November loss for the satisfaction of bouncing a team out of the playoffs on their own court any time.
Back2back + no gasol vs rested n highly motivated team… We can all live with this one. Enjoy your win Denver
Just got done watching the game, oh well, it is OK for this loss, and we kind of expected it anyway, huh. Denver just looked fresher and not one Laker was a positive in the +/- stat, ugh. At least I saw the LA Galaxy win the Western Conference title MLS, in overtime no less, so not all is lost for us tonight.
I’m not buying the whole back to back excuse. We came out to play but just got outworked and we couldn’t hit a shot in the second half. I think Phil Jackson has to get some blame. I understand he doesn’t like calling timeouts but it was obvious that the Lakers came out flat in the 3rd quarter and I really feel that maybe an early timeout could have stopped the bleeding and not let the game get out of hand. Also, Andrew Bynum was dominating in the first half and they didn’t go to him at all in the 3rd quarter.
Also, I feel Kobe is way too aggressive to start out games this season. The past 2 seasons he was passive to start out letting other guys get in a rhythm. I really feel that Artest has suffered because Kobe is too aggressive to start out games. There really isn’t much room for him to operate. When Gasol comes back I really hope Kobe doesn’t try to dominate the post area as much because then it’s really gonna get crowded.
Either way I really don’t feel like we’ll get an idea of how good this team really is until we go on a long road trip. Way too many home games to start which will get us a good record but may give us a false sense of where we are as a team.
If you don’t buy the back-to-back excuse, you must not do a lot of traveling or tried to do something simple in Denver like go for a bikeride. Travel and high altitude can wear you down.
Win Sunday night and the Lakers will be on pace for 64 wins this season. Despite not having Gasol yet.
So nobody has won a back to back playing in Denver before? These are professional athletes in the best shape of their lives. They started off the game 8-0 and looked great. If they won the game what would you have said?
chris h says
I wish PJ would have taken a dig at the NBA (schedulers), by giving props to Popovitch, saying something like “I guess Pops was right, and I should have followed suit, my hat is off to him, he had a great strategy last year when the Spurs came in on a second night of back to back, (same results anyway)”
but hey, save face, no excuses, take this one on the chin, and move on.
by the way, all that gloating from the Nuggs will be great motivational footage for PJ and the team, but PJ doesn’t play to win “games” he plays the whole season to win the “ring”, so I bet he saves that for when it’s really going to be effective, not in the next game we play the Nuggs, but in the Western playoffs. then revenge will be sweet, a dish served cold, hahahah.
“I’m not buying the whole back to back excuse. We came out to play but just got outworked and we couldn’t hit a shot in the second half. ”
You are very clearly listing symptoms of being tired – the effects of a “back-to-back”.
Ouch. Now that was ugly. Turned off the game at half. Flipped it back on later only to see the score was 100 to 71 or something like that.
SInce I didn’t see the beat down, I don’t have a lot to say other than I am glad that is out of the way and hopefully out of the system as well.
Terrible performance. There is absolutely NEVER any excuse for being humiliated by 26 points. I just don’t know WHY Fisher is getting the minutes he’s getting – he’s just awful now.
Sorry Nuggets fans, can’t get revenge in the regular season (except last year on Christmas Day, of course. That’s the only time it’s allowed.)
I could barely stay awake last night after halftime and this was from me watching the game the night before. I can only imagine how tired they were, flying, loosing an hour, getting in late and playing in the alititude. They kept it close in the first half and it caught up with them later. Should we have put up a better fight, yes we should have. But Denver was out to get revenge. LOL. I dont know who takes revenge for WCF elimination in November on a team that is playing a travelling back-to-back. But to each his own. If they are going to feel high on this victory so be it. They whupped us. But we are still the champs. The west goes through us. Next time we meet at our house with our 2nd best player back we’ll figure out who is better
Rudy/Jake, Denver is also filled with top athletes in the peak of condition, they are used to the altitude and they are good. The difference between top NBA teams is not that great, so things like back-to-backs and altitude make a big difference.
It’s a loss in November. Relax.
129, what if I punched the entire team in the nuts like, 15-16 times before each quarter. I think that’s a pretty justified excuse to get blown out by 26 points.
A lot of people circled this game as the first probable loss for the Lakers before the season started, and it’s easy to see why. I don’t mind it, just motivation for the playoffs. Our bench definitely needs to wake up though, showing up in Phoenix one night and then falling back asleep in Denver the next night is far from professional (don’t blame lack of rest, the bench didn’t play enough to use that excuse) Time to reel off another 7 straight wins – NEXT!
I would have liked to have seen a better showing, of course, but I am with Yusuf here. Back-to-back on the road, no Gasol, and against a team that is a quality team in its own right and was fired up. As good as the Lakers are, they are not going to go 73-9. There will be some big bumps. The second-half meltdown was both unpleasant and unsurprising.
I saw the Celtics game. They couldn’t knock down a 3 and were a step slow on D at times. Garnett is not quite what he was pre-injury, based on what I saw. Also, Rondo is currently shooting 38% on FTs and bricked 2 late in the 4th. That will be something to watch.
Did not Phil do a Popovitch in the 4th quarter, I remember (although in the wee hours of the morning) seeing like only Bynum on the floor with the bench players, and ‘ammo’ played like the whole 4th quarter. His trade value did not go up last night due to his on-the-court performance though.
I already said soemthing about the effects of a back-to-back in Denver (#7), but another thing that stood out to me was how the last two games have reminded me of the playoff series vs. the Rockets: Blow out and then get blown out. We can point to the physical energy level of the Lakers in both games, or the difference in desire and need to win that second game, but I think (while the team made little comment of it) it was as much the home and away factor that made for the lopsided loss. It’s not as obvious in the regular season but all I know is there wouldn’t have been as large a foul call margin (in Denver’s favor) had the game been played in LA. Yes, the Lakers played poorly, going away from their game plan when they had stuck so truly to it the night before, but after getting hassled and mugged repeatedly with no calls, Phil was right to let it go and sit the starters since they were going to have to kill themselves to get a call. Sure, it builds the collective confidence of the Nuggets, but I think it also allowed Phil to highlight the disparity by not letting the refs suddenly give us a bunch of FTs in garbage time when still playing the starters who penetrate. Our bench pretty much jacked jumpers that whole 4th quarter (maybe looking for that 20-pointer).
Bottom line, no way the calls (or non-calls) go that way in LA.
On a bigger note, I feel like Artest is going to have to do something to shake the on-court rep of being overly physical, because while he is a beast, he gets called for an offensive foul pretty much every game now, and it’s usually before he’s even taken a step to make a move.
133 – You wouldn’t be able to. Our new Enforcer would stop you dead in your tracks before you got within a foot of Kobe’s balls:
On a side note, it was nice to get an Ammo sighting, and witness firsthand the false hope of preseason play. He hasn’t changed at all.
Theory: Is having Fish on the floor against a quick PG like Lawson equivalent to having our starters punched in the cajones before each quarter? Is the physiological net effect the same? This needs to quantified. Get on it, Hollinger.
We lost. So what. Let the Nuggets enjoy their 11/13/09 championship. It obviously seemed like it was to them. Let them keep their starters in halfway through the 4th, chucking 3’s. We’ll remember and move on.
We lost focus in a tough environment, and played the worst quarter I have ever seen them play. That won’t happen again. I’m certain. We were fatigued. I won’t use that as an excuse either. We lost focus and got frustrated.
We are the defending champs still waiting for Pau. We were/are the best road team in the NBA, and you think there is a false sense of where we are as a team? Because of that loss? Hardly.
The Nuggets had just lost 3 of 4. The Celtics lost to the Hawks. Atlanta is 7-2, and one of those losses was to us. Cleveland and Orlando are finding their way. If we have a “false sense” of who we are, then who doesn’t?
Luis G says
Yup. If we lose in November on a back-to-back it’s not a big deal and we should “relax.”
If we win, it’s a monumental win and a huge stepping stone for the future.
I just love the nuances of the NBA and professional sports in general.
Luis G., if you come to this site regularly, you know that pretty consistently the mantra here is that no game in November, win or loss, is a big deal. Our win over Phoenix will mean nothing come April — they were playing a back-to-back, they were without their best post defender (Lopez) and Amare had an off night. Are there things against the Suns we exploited well, sure, but it means nothing later in the season.
This site is pretty even keeled. What you are looking for right now are patterns — is the bench consistently weak, where are we getting beat on defense night in and night out, etc. From there, can we can see how the team adjusts. But one game right now, win or lose, is hard to extrapolate from.
Denver and Utah feast off teams playing a west coast game the first night with a second in their gym, don’t forget the time loss of one hour sleep.
I haven’t run stats, but a west coast team going east on a road trip will have a lot of back-to-backs losing an hour of time, east coast teams heading west will have a lot where they get an extra hour sleep.
Just part of the Western Conference, not all those New Jeresy, Philly back to backs, etc.
Things I can count on after a Laker loss. People citing the following reasons for the loss.
*Kobe shot too much and dominated the ball
*(Big man of choice) did not get the ball enough
*Phil didn’t call enough timeouts
Taking a look at last night, Lakers won the 1st Quarter, lost the 2nd by 4. The third, Denver came out with a ton of energy and Lakers missed shots. Some good looks, others not so good. The last quarter, I throw out due to blowout nature at that point. So is it really surprising that the team didn’t have the energy in the second half? Same thing happened last year to this team and others. Teams stay close for a half and get blown out in the second. I don’t think a single game of this nature was close for any Denver opponent last year. I even told a friend this yesterday when he thought Lakers +4 was a good bet.
My only complaint about last night was I thought the team didn’t run crisper sets when the shots stopped falling. Hopefully they used that as a learning session and figure out how to fight through the fatigue and stay focused in running their offense even when shots aren’t dropping.
Listen, I am not worried or putting a big emphasis on this game. I have no doubt we’ll be one of the top teams heading into the playoffs and contend for the title. I just think giving the back to back excuse for the reason why we lost is not giving Denver any credit and basically saying we had no shot at winning this game. Denver just beat us. Bottom line.
Afflalo played good defense on Kobe. We didn’t get the ball into Bynum in the second half. We couldn’t stop dribble penetration from Ty Lawson. They just outplayed us.
You never heard the great Chicago Bulls teams using the back to back nights excuse during their runs. It’s not like we’ve already gone through a grueling season. We’re only 9 games into the season and we’re already using the “our legs were tired cause we played last night” excuse.
Personally, I thought the game hinged on Denver’s post defense. They did an excellent job making it hard for Kobe to catch the ball, making him work, pushing him off his spots, and when Kobe-in-the-post broke down, the team stopped running sets and dissolved into isos, broken plays, and contested jumpers. I thought it was as simple as that. They played some phenomenal defense, and I thought Afflalo played Kobe as well as anyone has for a long time. Definitely an upgrade from Dahntey-can’t-spell-his-name Jones.
Far from not being disappointed, I believe these loses are important early in a season. They allow the coaching staff and team to address weaknesses and keep a sense of complacency from setting in.
More than the fact that we lost, I was disappointed with the way we lost: One reason we acquired Artest was his ability to single-cover and defend forwards of Carmelo’s size. But Carmelo dominated.
Ty Lawson already is scary and like most speedy point guards with even a modicum of talent, he is going to torture us for years to come.
Also, no one man shuts down Melo if he plays well, not Artest, not anybody. It’s like when we laugh at teams that think one player alone can shut down Kobe. Melo is playing better right ow than he ever has, and he will be a force all season.
We need to bring back Ruben Patterson. If he can stop Kobe, I’m sure he can slow Melo down.
You have a point about the offense breaking down when they prevented Kobe-in-the-post from being effective. They sagged off of shooters and practically dared us to knock down perimeter shots. They were intent on stopping post entry and we did not make them pay. It was one of those games where the effort of Kobe to get the ball and the effort to get it to him threw the offense off. The passing wasn’t crisp.
I think we just lacked concentration and execution. I have a feeling that Fish also missed his seat on the plane when he sat down, and landed in the aisle.
With the Lakers doing a lot of post clear outs for Kobe and Bynum, there is a lot less movement and cutting in the offense then there was. That needs to change, it’s one of the things I think we’ll see with Gasol back.
Watching the game, I thought Artest did a great job on Carmelo. Carmelo couldn’t do anything on post ups or one on one. He barely scored and became agitated in the first half, picking up fouls that benched him. In the second half, he scored off steals which got him going, Artest got in foul trouble and got benched, and Carmelo went off after he got in rhythm. We can critique some things last night, but not Artest’s D on Carmelo, it was solid as expected.
alex v. says
@138/Snoopy – I meant to comment on this after the Suns game, but I kind of like what Sasha did. He wasn’t protecting Kobe from any real physical threat, but he was protecting Kobe from picking up a T. It’s also a good way to prevent some bench player from the other team from taking a swing at Kobe to get them both thrown out. This may be giving Sasha too much credit, but it didn’t seem to me like he was running in because he was emotionally involved.
On the Artest offensive fouls, it looks to me like he sometimes relies _just_ on his physical strength, which a good defender can play up for dramatic effects (plant your feet, get your balance high, ready girlish scream). And sometimes I think he gets a (2002) Shaq effect, where he’s just so much stronger than his opponent that he sends smaller players flying without really trying.
150 – Agreed. I don’t think Pau’s importance can be overstated in terms of offensive movement and flow.
I know Phil loves the big guards, but this is a new NBA age. I would love for us to get our hands on a speedster along the lines of Lawson, Brooks. One of the reasons we had all those contested jumpers last night is that (with Kobe in the post) we didn’t have any players who could blow by a set D and create a shot off dribble penetration. Odom’s good in transition, Farmar occasionally, Brown is the closest we have to explosive but he doesn’t finish well (if he can’t dunk). I’d love for Mitch to snag a young gun like that.
Luis G says
Kurt, you’re right that one game in November doesn’t carry that big of a significance.
But I wonder how long we can rely on the twin post offense of Kobe and Bynum until Pau comes back. Like others have repeatedly said, our offense is stagnant when we try to force feed Kobe and Bynum. Granted, they are having great success, but down-the-road we’re gonna need to run our triangle offense to its maximum capability.
Since we rely on our offense to fuel our defense, I hope this can start to happen even before Pau comes back.
The Nuggets were favored in this game by 4 points for a reason…
1. The Lakers were playing without Pau Gasol
2. The Lakers had an emotional win the night before
3. The Lakers got into Denver at 4 am and then drove 60 minutes to the hotel.
4. The Nuggets have been waiting for this game for four months.
5. As always the Lakers start the worst PG in the NBA
The Lakers should have lost this game and did. But the real winner tonight was LA. The fresh Nuggets couldn’t guard Andrew Bynum in the post and soon they will have to guard both Drew and Pau. If I were a Nugget fan I would be unsettled by last nights win.
Of course Phil Jackson isn’t much into X’s and 0’s especially in the regular season but… if he really wanted to win last night he would have made sure the team went to Bynum a lot more in the post and he would have made the team go in to Artest in the post to start the 3rd quarter when Melo had 3 fouls.
All in all we should be feeling pretty good about the team. To be honest nobody is a bigger Andrew Bynum fan then me… if you remember I said in the summer he would be the Lakers 2nd best player this season and he is playing better than I could imagine. He is getting better and better with every game both offensively and defensively. His rebounding is also improving. Imagine him in mid season.
You know I’m as big a Laker fan as the next guy, but all things considered, the nuggs still completely dismantled the Lakers tonight. It looked like game 6 of the 2008 finals.
This is completely irrelevant to the Lakers, but… Brandon Jennings is going Kobe on the Warriors. 39 points, 29 in the 3rd quarter alone. Insane. And his shots are barely even touching the net.
yea, is this Jennings guy really this good? i know it is against Warrior, but 16-26,5-6 3s, 4 rebounds, 4 assists are quite impressive as a rookie guard.
chris h says
the celts lost to the pacers tonight I think
50 for Jennings. This kid is sicker than swine flu victims.
160…. 55 on 7-8 3’s
P. Ami says
Guys, I’m headed to Italy to drink whatever the heck that Jennings kid sipped. My guess, it’ll have a strong scent of sulfur.
P. Ami i’m coming with you…
Either that or I’m getting whatever it is that Manny Pacquiao’s drinking (He says it’s vitwater you know?)
Holy s***….just got home and saw the headline. 55 from a rookie? That’s incredible, considering how much he struggled early on in Europe.
I thought Lopez was a steal last year, but this guy is crazy. He could resurrect the franchise. Man, we have a lot of great young talent in the league. The Golden Age is just beginning.
Brandon Jennings was unreal – caught the fourth quarter.
I will say that the W’s D was about as strong ever – invisible. I mean they didn’t swarm him ala Toronto @ Kobe’s mercy (real location btw).
Give the guy some credit, he took the less popular path – and now he has arrived.
Jennings is totally legit. Every GM that didn’t draft Griffin is kicking themselves really hard right now. Walsh must be crying inside every game he sees Hill languishing on the bench. The thing though, is that as soon as Redd comes back, that’s an entire dimension of their offense returned, and you know that this team will defend like hell, from the starters to the benchwarmers, so long as Skiles is coaching this team. They seriously could contend for a playoff spot and scare the bejeezus out of a top seed. They simply try so damn hard.
That said, the big thing I’m seeing is that this is somehow a sign that there’s going to be an en-mass effort to get around the NCAA by going abroad. It doesn’t work. It worked for Jennings because he had a support network in Italy (his family), he didn’t pout about it, and he actively worked to get better. The absolute converse is Jeremy Tyler, who skipped his senior year in high school to go to Haifa in Israel. See his struggles (or self-inflicted pains) in this superbly written NYT article:
A blog posting by the same writer comparing Jennings and Tyler is pretty good also:
I do not buy anything about an “emotional win” last night. We beat our closest competitor convincingly. The Nugs spanked our a@#. No other way to put it. We sucked, they were better. But we learn a lot from a loss like that. I think we know we need more ShanWOW in that series. And we may need Kobe to be hitting more daggers because Aaron Afllalo rollin out means a better first step, jumpshot for Kobe.
I just can’t wait for Pau to return. Things will be spaced and sensible. Can’t wait for the Spaniard to return. I’m pretty sure we’re already a top five team.
Kobe for MVP – just think if he was on your team
RE: Jennings – The kid played 17-19 min a game for Roma, I don’t know why everyone chose to look at his stats on an aggregate basis and decide he wasn’t impressive in the Italian league. He outmatched Rubio in their matchup, even if it didn’t show up in the box score. http://www.slamonline.com/online/columnists/the-links/2008/12/links-jennings-vs-rubio-round-one/
time for new preview kurt…the lakers dismantling houston like pacquiao.
As you wish… Rockets preview up
where is the link